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The State Of Classic TV on DVD (and thoughts on the future)


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#1 of 51 Carabimero

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Posted October 01 2008 - 10:57 PM

Given THE FUGITIVE debacle and now the reports of MY THREE SONS (and the even more sinister rumors of CBS/Paramount gearing up for future underscore replacements), I'm left wondering what to make of the state of my favorite hobby.

For CBS Home Video to be entrenching like this, if true, makes me believe that enough folks are buying these altered versions to make them viable, either because they don't know they've been altered or they don't care.

Was I correct in my assessment that it took more than 40 Amazon reviews before someone bothered to mention the music alterations on MY THREE SONS S1V1? (granted many were pre-street-date reviews but still).

My point is that while letter writing and boycotting all CBS/Paramount DVDs (or even just the altered ones) is the only power left to me, I'm not sure it will make a difference.

Before THE FUGITIVE fiasco I was thinking how I was bound to slow down my TV shows on DVD buying (4000+ in about seven years) because I was reaching the point of having almost everything I wanted. I never dreamed this music replacement issue would stop my freewheeling pre-ordering dead in its tracks.

I keep fighting this urge to take my unaltered Star Trek and Twilight Zone sets (thank God they got released before the paranoia) and go into a cave grateful I have them and forget about all the new stuff I thought I wanted.

It's not so fun anymore, particularly when I think what may happen to the Twilight Zone, for example, when it is remastered for future formats. Heyes, Jr. anyone?

Okay, I'm probably panicking more than I should, but I'm really down after this latest news about MY THREE SONS. Is this the shape of things to come?

#2 of 51 Bob Hug

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Posted October 01 2008 - 11:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carabimero
Okay, I'm probably panicking more than I should, but I'm really down after this latest news about MY THREE SONS. Is this the shape of things to come?


Just my two cents, but I think it really comes down to a case-by-case basis. CBS/Paramount has done some fine work with its vintage/classic TV-on-DVD releases (Mannix, Rawhide, Hawaii Five-0, Mission: Impossible, Perry Mason, etc.), so despite the wholesale music replacements of "The Fugitive," season 2, vol. 1 and "My Three Sons" season 1., vol. 1, they've released plenty of quality, vintage shows that most of the other major studios wouldn't even consider releasing (you can probably count the number of black & white shows issued collectively by Fox and Sony on the fingers of one hand). But certainly CBS/Paramount should be taken to task when they issue shows with significant alterations without explanation.

Personally, I think the future for vintage/classic TV releases rests with the independent studios rather than the majors. Look at Universal; for all practical purposes, they're out of the vintage TV-on-DVD business, preferring to license vintage shows to companies like Arts Alliance America (Banacek), Shout! Factory (McHale's Navy, Ironside, Adam-12) and Timeless Media (M-Squad, Wagon Train, Laredo, etc.). But we've seen some good work from VCI (Burke's Law, Honey West), S'more Entertainment (Make Room for Daddy, Mister Peepers), BCI Eclipse (Wanted: Dead or Alive) and others. I'd really like to see more licensing arrangements with the independents, especially from studios like Fox, Warner, and Sony.

#3 of 51 Gary OS

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Posted October 01 2008 - 11:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hug
Just my two cents, but I think it really comes down to a case-by-case basis. CBS/Paramount has done some fine work with its vintage/classic TV-on-DVD releases (Mannix, Rawhide, Hawaii Five-0, Mission: Impossible, Perry Mason, etc.), so despite the wholesale music replacements of "The Fugitive," season 2, vol. 1 and "My Three Sons" season 1., vol. 1, they've released plenty of quality, vintage shows that most of the other major studios wouldn't even consider releasing (you can probably count the number of black & white shows issued collectively by Fox and Sony on the fingers of one hand). But certainly CBS/Paramount should be taken to task when they issue shows with significant alterations without explanation.

Personally, I think the future for vintage/classic TV releases rests with the independent studios rather than the majors. Look at Universal; for all practical purposes, they're out of the vintage TV-on-DVD business, preferring to license vintage shows to companies like Arts Alliance America (Banacek), Shout! Factory (McHale's Navy, Ironside, Adam-12) and Timeless Media (M-Squad, Wagon Train, Laredo, etc.). But we've seen some good work from VCI (Burke's Law, Honey West), S'more Entertainment (Make Room for Daddy, Mister Peepers), BCI Eclipse (Wanted: Dead or Alive) and others. I'd really like to see more licensing arrangements with the independents, especially from studios like Fox, Warner, and Sony.


After all the anger subsides and cooler heads can think this over, I believe you have the right idea Bob. It really is a case by case hobby at this point. Some shows have horrible releases, some have fabulous releases. There's very little rhyme and reason to it all. Heck, in the midst of this terrible news about M3S, we've recently received the great news that Shout! will be giving us uncut prints for the 2nd Season of FKB. So it's going both ways. I think the problem is that this wholesale music replacement is such an egregious crime, along with being done under "cover of night", so to speak. As Steve said in the other thread, if the studio would just be forthcoming about these things it would make a big difference. When they try to slip this stuff in under the radar it makes a really bad situation intolerable.

I also agree with you that the Indies might very well be the future of the business. Shout! is trying it's best to make that a reality. We will have to see what the first half of 2009 brings.

Gary "thanks for that excellent post, Bob" O.
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#4 of 51 Bob Hug

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Posted October 02 2008 - 12:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary OS
As Steve said in the other thread, if the studio would just be forthcoming about these things it would make a big difference. When they try to slip this stuff in under the radar it makes a really bad situation intolerable.

Agreed, Gary, and that's where CBS/Paramount is falling down, big time! I'm guessing that they'll go into their "clam up" mode as the M3S issue becomes known on a wider basis, beyond the HTF. And that's a shame because a thoughtful explanation from them as to why this music replacement issue necessitates such drastic changes on their part would go a long way, at least for me. But I seriously doubt that they'll do such a thing . . . . the die was cast with their anemic response to "The Fugitive" fiasco.

#5 of 51 Charles H

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Posted October 02 2008 - 03:25 AM

I'll be honest and say that my biggest nightmare is not the music issue but Ihe fear that there will be no more "Fugitive" releases. Apparently, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" is toast, and I do believe that we have to get this stuff out there or it will be lost forever. Licensing tv series to other companies is wonderful, but in the case of many series, it's just wishful thinking depending on the marketing potential. One gets the uneasy feeling that the US congress is running these video companies in their spare time and we should be grateful for anything short of colorization.
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#6 of 51 RichieMagoo

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Posted October 02 2008 - 04:19 AM

They release shows that are edited; they give us no guarantee that we'll ever see future seasons, and then when the shows don't sell well because of these things, they just assume that it's because no one wants these shows!!

I still can not fathom how All In the Family could sell well enough to warrant releasing 6 seasons...and then end up abandonned. Or how Taxi could sell well enough to warrant the release of 3 seasons...and then end up abandonned!

I just bought myself a pair of leather rocker-recliners. I probably would have spent that money instead on DVDs over the last 6 months....but I'm so disgusted by what these studios are doing, I haven't bought so much as one DVD in months.

I was really getting into collecting DVDs of my favorite old shows....but these studios have taken all the fun out of it- and are just screaming "We don't want your money!".

I'm truly disgusted- and wash my hands of this hobby. These new generation corporate execs seem to have knack for alienating their customers. These DVD producers are doing the same thing that Ebay is doing under it's new management....alienating millions of customers and sending them running to the hills.

#7 of 51 Robert13

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Posted October 02 2008 - 07:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles H
...and I do believe that we have to get this stuff out there or it will be lost forever. Licensing tv series to other companies is wonderful, but in the case of many series, it's just wishful thinking depending on the marketing potential. One gets the uneasy feeling that the US congress is running these video companies in their spare time and we should be grateful for anything short of colorization.
Well put. It totally feels like that. I wish they would make use of their resources. At the very least, I would say make this stuff available as the new "burn on demand" feature of amazon.com where you order the dvds and they are burned by a third party. I like the idea of making available all of the rare short-lived series that otherwise might not see a commercial release. This stuff needs to get out there so it is preserved in some respect.

#8 of 51 Craig Beam

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Posted October 02 2008 - 07:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carabimero
It's not so fun anymore, particularly when I think what may happen to the Twilight Zone, for example, when it is remastered for future formats. Heyes anyone?

Huh?

#9 of 51 Carabimero

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Posted October 02 2008 - 08:20 AM

Let me boil down my irks: CBS/Paramount did another musical facelift and didn't bother to let anyone know. This tells me that they frankly don't care about ticking off customers, even after a crap storm, because enough folks buy the material anyway. That's disturbing that they don't let folks know when they do wholesale changes and apparently don't plan to change the practice.

Sure it's a case by case deal. My worry is that the cases will become more frequent. CBS/Par Home Video apparently is amassing a replacement music library. That doesn't bode well for the future--or future formats.

My comment at the end about The Twilight Zone was a joke, but let me hit it more directly on the head. Let's assume that the reason My Three Sons was delayed after the original announcement was because they'd planned to release it with original music then realized they'd better be anal about it just in case. Here's my point. If My Three Sons had been released a few years earlier, the music would probably have been intact (a guess on my part but a reasonable one it seems to me). My point is, when material released on DVD but not yet mastered for hi-def eventually comes around, will this revisionist thinking in music clearances affect it? In other words, is it possible some material released properly on DVD will be changed in the future for new formats because of clearance worries?

#10 of 51 Rick Thompson

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Posted October 02 2008 - 09:18 AM

All CBS/Paramount's actions with music replacement (two shows now) do is make legit issues less desirable and pirated issues with the original music more so. I almost have to wonder: Do you think CBS/Paramount has a pirate video division?

#11 of 51 Carabimero

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Posted October 02 2008 - 09:23 AM

I'm pursuing other avenues to obtain copies of M3S. I'll leave it at that.

Chalk up three "other avenues" for me now: The Fugitive, Batman, and My Three Sons.

At least this way I can get the whole set at once.

I'm worried about the Beverly Hillbillies. Something tells me Earl and Lester are going to join Gomer on the cutting room floor.

#12 of 51 Mark Lx

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Posted October 02 2008 - 10:15 AM

On that note, this site is way too cluttered and slow now. Almost not usable.

#13 of 51 Corey3rd

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Posted October 02 2008 - 10:57 AM

Not every musical moment in Gomer was snipped away. They did try to clear stuff, but the issue is more about the fiends controlling the music publishing that attempt to use this as a way to get back all that money they swear was robbed from them when they made the deal all those decades ago. A majority of them have no contact with the original composer. They just want their cash.

I've been watching the My Three Sons episodes and the replaced music isn't that painful. Perhaps because they didn't rerun the Frawley years in my neighborhood (and I didn't have cable when they reran it on TVLand) so my ears aren't that offended.
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#14 of 51 David Lambert

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Posted October 02 2008 - 12:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carabimero
I'm worried about the Beverly Hillbillies.

I've heard today that there are no reasons to be worried. Keep in mind that I'm not in a position to make any guarantees (or I'd be posting it as news, naturally). However, I'm pretty optimistic, based on what my source said.
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#15 of 51 Carabimero

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Posted October 02 2008 - 12:34 PM

Thanks David.

Corey, to me it isn't about the replaced music being painful or not.

It's about the music being replaced. Period.

Folks who don't have a major problem with it, or any problem at all, on the one hand are blessed; on the other, in my opinion, partly responsible, willing or not, for the madness continuing.

#16 of 51 The Obsolete Man

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Posted October 02 2008 - 01:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carabimero
Thanks David.

Corey, to me it isn't about the replaced music being painful or not.

It's about the music being replaced. Period.

Folks who don't have a major problem with it, or any problem at all, on the one hand are blessed; on the other, in my opinion, partly responsible, willing or not, for the madness continuing.
I'd say it all depends if someone has a hard-on for the show that gets the butcher's treatment.

I've checked out My Three Sons... the music doesn't offend me, because I've never seen these episodes. I don't know what I'm missing.

However, IMO, Cutting "Georgia On My Mind" from the Quantum Leap episode MIA was sacrilege, a travesty, and Universal should be reviled for all time for that one and any Quantum Leap music replacement.

I hate edits. Unfortunately, though, I find myself making a case by case judgment on if I'm going to buy edited shows or not. I realize that we'll never see most of these shows unedited again, and I'd like to see 'em in any reasonable shape. But, sometimes, the companies push things too far, and we get crap like the Fugitive and My Three Sons debacles.

I can say, though, I wouldn't have bought M3S if I had known the score had been replace entirely, which is (IMO) probably a major reason CBS Paramount didn't 'fess up beforehand. They would've lost sales if people had known we had another Fugitive on our hands.

#17 of 51 Carabimero

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Posted October 02 2008 - 04:20 PM

If the vast majority of consumers stopped buying altered shows, they'd stop being produced. But CBS/Paramount knows that won't happen, is my point. No matter how angry a small clique may be at being deceived, so what. It doesn't effect the bottom line.

Monstrous.

#18 of 51 Jim B.

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Posted October 02 2008 - 06:29 PM

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Originally Posted by The Obsolete Man

I've checked out My Three Sons... the music doesn't offend me, because I've never seen these episodes. I don't know what I'm missing.

Ignorance truly is bliss, you are missing a lot. The new music is composed and arranged by someone who does not understand the show. The music for My Three Sons was quite sophisticated. Composers featured were the best in the business, Jeff Alexander, Pete Rugolo, Arthur Morton, and of course Frank DeVol. Apparently the new composer thinks this is a show for children who have to be played down to because the new music is very simplistic and even silly at times. And performing it on a digital synthesizer assures that it could never fit.
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#19 of 51 The Obsolete Man

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Posted October 02 2008 - 11:33 PM

Well, that's the entire problem, isn't it? We will probably never see these episodes without massive butchering, but with the massive butchering, new fans like me will never really see the episode the way it was intended to be seen.

So, I guess in the end no one's really happy, at least not if they know about crap like this or even care about it.

#20 of 51 Charles Ellis

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Posted October 03 2008 - 12:32 AM

You'd think that extra care would be given as to replacement music by Paramount. When Sony was forced to replace "Love and Marriage" as the theme for Married With Children, they took extra pains to make sure the new theme fit the spirit of the show. Also, they warned everybody in advance, explaining that the original song's publishers (not the Sinatra estate) was charging too much money for the song's use on DVD.

As a vintage show of the early sixties, Paramount could have easily gone into its vast music library for source material from that time period to replace tracks that were too expensive. I'm sure there must have been background music from movies made circa 1960-61 by Paramount that could have been reused for the DVD release of My Three Sons. Who the devil is responsible for making these decisions at the studio, anyway?
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