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"Way Out" from CBS/Paramount

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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 Rex Bachmann

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Posted November 29 2001 - 05:30 AM

This post is intended for officials at CBS Home Video, whose product is now supposedly to be distributed by Paramount Home Video. (Anyone else with information, please chime
in!) I'll try to keep it succinct, but it requires a bit of background.

I and others have been trying for several years to find out about the home video prospects of a short-lived horror program entitled "Way Out", which was broadcast on the CBS
network in the spring of 1961 in the time slot right before (or right after?) "The Twilight Zone".

This is a legendary program, justly called the "Holy Grail of weird tv". It was produced by David Susskind's production company, Talent Associates Ltd., was hosted by
British-Scandinavian children's literature author Roald Dahl, and consisted of 14 half-hour episodes that had nasty and horrific twist endings. Unfortunately, it proved to be a little too bizarre for both mainstream critics and the viewing public of the time, and, so, was cancelled after just over about three months on air.

It represents a true classic (as opposed to some of the junk Karloff tv stuff from the 50's that has shown up recently on DVD) whose legend has been enhanced not in the least
because it has (apparently) never again been broadcast in syndication rerun. If you missed it the first time around, you're out of luck. Consequently, it has developed a cult following. (See Ken Kaffke's "Terror tv" site at AOL.) In short, it's a perfect DVD collectible!

So, would it be possible to find out from officials there whether CBS still owns the homevideo rights, and, if not, who does? Who, if anyone, has the physical masters? And
what shape are they in after 40 years? If CBS HV retains the rights to this programming,is there any willingness on the part of CBS/Paramount HV to consider an in-house digital
restoration and DVD release? If not, is there a willingess to (sub)licence to interested specialty independent parties, such as Anchor Bay, Something Weird, or Rhino Home Video?

For those who may be interested, more informartion can be had at links hosted at Kristine
Howard's Roald Dahlfans.com Website

http://www.roalddahl...wayoarticle.php (Filmfax article "Inside the Dahl House of Horror",
by Gary Joseph and Martin H. Friedenthal)
http://www.roalddahl...wayoepisode.php (episode guide to above named article)
(scan of the pages of the above named article)
http://www.imagesjou...eatures/wayout/ (shorter version of same article by
Joseph & K. Kaffke)

I've been trying to get a response from CBS HV for several years now on this, without any luck. I'm hoping this forum will provide a more effective means to that end.

Thanks for any useful feedback.

Rex Bachmann
"Delenda est . . . . "


#2 of 5 Peter M Fitzgerald

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Posted November 29 2001 - 04:00 PM


Let me be the first to welcome you here to Home Theater Forum, and to let you know that I too have dreamt of owning a DVD collection of WAY OUT for awhile now, even though I've never actually seen more than a few brief clips from the show on occasional television retrospectives over the years (I'm too young to have seen the show in first-run), and know the show basically by reputation, from articles such as those you link to in your post.

I'm not sure this is of any help to you, you might already be well aware of this, but I remember reading a news article several years ago, concerning the estate of the late David Susskind. Apparently, all of his surviving TV materials (I assume this would be all the Talent Associates stuff) were donated to The Museum of Television & Radio (most probably the New York branch, since he lived in the metro NY area). So, if all 14 episodes of WAY OUT still exist, they're likely archived there. You might want to contact them to see if this is still true, and if they have all the episodes. A few WAY OUT shows have been circulating in the grey-market/bootleg VHS world, but I don't know where they originated from.

As to whether CBS/Paramount still controls the video rights to WAY OUT after all these years, your guess is as good as mine, although the program's circumstances (short-lived, shot on tape, 40 years old, never syndicated) lead me to believe that the rights may belong to the Susskind and/or Dahl estates. Susskind's long-running talk show was recently repackaged as a series of excerpted highlights, and run weekly on Fox News Channel (certainly not an arm of CBS/Paramount), which may add some credence to my theory that Susskind's estate may hold the rights, either totally or jointly.

I wonder if the numerous fans of WILLY WONKA, who frequent these boards, are at all aware of this fascinating Roald Dahl-hosted show, or the horror enthusiasts, who thought Dick Smith's special makeup effects in THE EXORCIST and ALTERED STATES were cool, have seen photos of Smith's impressive early horror makeup work on WAY OUT.

Anyway, you have my moral support, and I hope your quest bears silvery, 5-inch, amaray-encased fruit, with interesting bonus features.


Peter M. Fitzgerald

My Current Damage at DVD Aficionado


Wanted TV-on-DVD: T.H.E. CAT (1966-67) / SUSPICION (1957-58) / WAY OUT (1961) / ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR (1962-65) / PANIC! (1957-58) / CORONET BLUE (1965) / DRAGNET ('50s) / NEW ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN (1968) / BUS STOP (1961-62) / THE WESTERNER (1960) / THE IMMORTAL (1970) / BLUE LIGHT (1966) / TERRIERS (2010) / THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS (1966)

#3 of 5 Bill Huelbig

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Posted November 29 2001 - 11:40 PM

The Museum of Television and Radio in New York does indeed have several episodes of WAY OUT in their collection. It was about ten years ago when I saw them, and they only had three or four - they may have all 14 by now. I was a 6-year-old TWILIGHT ZONE fanatic when WAY OUT premiered, and I can still remember how truly creepy those shows were.


#4 of 5 David Lambert

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Posted November 29 2001 - 11:58 PM

I wonder if the numerous fans of WILLY WONKA, who frequent these boards, are at all aware of this fascinating Roald Dahl-hosted show

No, I've never heard of these before...at all! I'm truly amazing that this has gone beneath my radar.

I'll try to read the articles you link to, but for right now I'll say that I would - on the basis I've what I've read so far right here - definately buy a set of DVD's with these shows, just for the novelty factor, if nothing else.

Sounds cool...
DAVE/Memphis, TN

...Want to see your favorite show on DVD?

#5 of 5 Rex Bachmann

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Posted December 31 2001 - 08:06 PM


I originally posted this appeal in another area of the HTF and was unaware until this morning of the responses here.
I was indeed aware of the New York museum's stewardship of tapes of some of the episodes, as well as of the reported bootleg copies floating around. (As I don't have anything to do with tape of any kind, I have no interest in them.) I had a brief exchange with some of the "tv-terrorists" at AOL a couple of years ago when I started this "crusade". Some NY-area members of their network were supposed to be going to pursue ownership information from the Museum officials. I don't know what, if anything, they ever found out.

I myself recently importuned Mr. Blythe to please have someone on his staff investigate the matter. Maybe he will. Maybe he won't. Realistically, a restoration (expensive!!!) and re-issue of "Way Out" won't earn the rightsholder any money, so the motivation isn't there for them, but it's still worth our pursuing for esthetic reasons. If handled right, a limited boxed set MIGHT break even for the distributor.
"Delenda est . . . . "