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Jack Benny CBS episodes


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#1 of 28 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted January 19 2010 - 06:16 AM

CBS Won't Let Episodes of Show Starring One of Johnny Carson's Idols Be Put Out On DVDs

Two dozen recently rediscovered episodes of the long-running series starring one of Johnny Carson's idols won’t be released from the vault to be put on DVDs because CBS won’t let them, the New York Post reports.

The series is the classice "Jack Benny Show." Carson made no secret about how much he admired Benny.


Laura Leff, president of The International Jack Benny Fan Club, told the paper that the fan club had offered to pay for the digital transfer and preservation of the episodes, but CBS refused, citing unspecified issues that Leff thought were costs associated with potential musical copyrights.


The episodes were discovered in 2008; the show aired from 1950-64.


The paper didn’t say what CBS’ comment was.


--Elizabeth Jensen and Chuck Ross



#2 of 28 ONLINE   Joe Lugoff

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Posted January 19 2010 - 11:06 AM

This is so bizarre.  So Jack Benny is only important now because he was "one of Johnny Carson's idols?"

As big as Carson was, I'd say taking their entire careers into consideration, Jack Benny was even bigger.

Oh, well, it just shows that in the long run, everyone's forgotten.


#3 of 28 OFFLINE   MattPeriolat

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Posted January 19 2010 - 12:39 PM

Oh that's just bizarre. And crummy of CBS. I mean, come on! Jack Benny may not sell as well as Ghost Whisperer, but it's going to make money among nostalgia geeks like me.

TV on a pedestal my foot.

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#4 of 28 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted January 19 2010 - 01:20 PM

I'm not quite sure why Gary emphasized Carson so much in the OP.  There's no bigger Carson fan than me, but Benny owned the radio and TV waves for decades.  In fact, I've been wondering for years why the Carson estate doesn't release more of the materials in Carson's own vaults.   

It is a definite shame that those Benny shows may not see the light of day.  I wonder when the shows originally aired. 

Benny surrounded himself professionally with some of the great comedic talents of his day, Don Wilson, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Phil Harris, Dennis Day, Mel Blanc, and his wife Mary Livingston.  And of course there was always his old pal George Burns.

One can only imagine what we're missing. 

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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#5 of 28 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted January 19 2010 - 01:50 PM

It wasn't my emphasis on Johnny Carson. That's the way one of the trades headlined the article. I'm a major Jack Benny fan myself (and Johnny too). Here's the full article from the New York Post:

CBS benches Jack Benny

Last Updated: 2:06 AM, January 19, 2010

Posted: 1:12 AM, January 19, 2010

So, who's the cheapskate now?

CBS has shelved about 25 recently unearthed episodes of "The Jack Benny Show" -- because it doesn't want the hassle of paying for licensing, etc.

Benny's stock-in-trade was to portray himself as the ultimate skinflint on his TV show, which aired on CBS from 1950-64.

The original episodes, which were assumed to have been lost to time, were discovered in 2008.

The International Jack Benny Fan Club, with the blessing of the Benny estate, approached CBS and offered to pay for the digital transfer and preservation of the rare episodes.

Posted Image
Late comedian Jack Benny
 
But, according to fan club president Laura Leff, CBS refused to let the episodes out of their vault -- with a CBS exec citing unspecified "issues" thought to be potential musical copyrights, etc. and the costs associated with these elements.

"That's basically the sense I got from [CBS]," Leff told The Post. "That there are so many issues with these shows . . . they don't want to be bothered."

Leff says she believes the roughly 25 "Benny Show" tapes are in the public domain, since they're over 28 years old and weren't copyrighted. "We just want [CBS] to realize they shouldn't be locking away our cultural heritage," Leff said.

As Benny himself might have said, in his famous catchphrase: "Well!" -- Michael Starr





#6 of 28 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted January 19 2010 - 01:53 PM

That's the way the article was headlined in the trades, not by me. Here's the full article from the NY Post:

CBS benches Jack Benny

Last Updated: 2:06 AM, January 19, 2010

Posted: 1:12 AM, January 19, 2010

So, who's the cheapskate now?

CBS has shelved about 25 recently unearthed episodes of "The Jack Benny Show" -- because it doesn't want the hassle of paying for licensing, etc.

Benny's stock-in-trade was to portray himself as the ultimate skinflint on his TV show, which aired on CBS from 1950-64.

The original episodes, which were assumed to have been lost to time, were discovered in 2008.

The International Jack Benny Fan Club, with the blessing of the Benny estate, approached CBS and offered to pay for the digital transfer and preservation of the rare episodes.

Posted Image
Late comedian Jack Benny
 
But, according to fan club president Laura Leff, CBS refused to let the episodes out of their vault -- with a CBS exec citing unspecified "issues" thought to be potential musical copyrights, etc. and the costs associated with these elements.

"That's basically the sense I got from [CBS]," Leff told The Post. "That there are so many issues with these shows . . . they don't want to be bothered."

Leff says she believes the roughly 25 "Benny Show" tapes are in the public domain, since they're over 28 years old and weren't copyrighted. "We just want [CBS] to realize they shouldn't be locking away our cultural heritage," Leff said.

As Benny himself might have said, in his famous catchphrase: "Well!" -- Michael Starr




#7 of 28 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted January 19 2010 - 01:54 PM

deleted


#8 of 28 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted January 19 2010 - 01:55 PM

deleted


#9 of 28 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted January 19 2010 - 02:12 PM

I gotcha, Gary.  I read the NYP article from the link in your OP. 

I didn't get that the text in your OP wasn't your own words.

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#10 of 28 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted January 19 2010 - 02:18 PM

This link to the Jack Benny Fan Club site will show you what material is in the CBS vaults. While it doesn't list episode information, you can see the airdates cover quite a wide range of years.
http://www.jackbenny.org/biography/other/cbs_permanently_seals_jack_benny.htm


#11 of 28 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted January 19 2010 - 02:47 PM

This is just sad.  That found material from an entertainer as important and influential as Jack Benny isn't celebrated.  Instead it is locked away.  The way Benny has slipped away into history is sometimes puzzling to me.



#12 of 28 OFFLINE   David Rain

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Posted January 19 2010 - 06:40 PM

It still doesn't make sense that the original article would make such a big deal out Benny's connection to Johnny.  What does that have to do with anything ? People old enough to be fans of one are likely to be fans of both.  Sounds like it was written by some young idiot reporter who doesn't know his TV history from his ass.

And why exactly are all these episodes surfacing from different places ? Why would only some of them have been put away or lost ? Wouldn't the surviving ones all be together somewhere ?

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#13 of 28 OFFLINE   DeWilson

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Posted January 19 2010 - 06:48 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rain 

And why exactly are all these episodes surfacing from different places ? Why would only some of them have been put away or lost ? Wouldn't the surviving ones all be together somewhere ?
 
It's no different when they re-discovered the 1950's episodes of THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW - Gleason had most of them,and others were found,or found in better shape,or found complete in the CBS vaults.


#14 of 28 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted January 20 2010 - 06:49 AM

As with everything there are 3 sides to every story, with the truth lying somewhere in the middle. Here is another side to this story:

I have spoken to my source at CBS and am happy to report that the "hype" is just what it is; all hype.

CBS is ready and willing to sub license any property (as they did with Studio One etc.) for a fee.

Laura Leff, the "President" of the Jack Benny Fan Club she began a few years ago, is very good at generating P R and has done a very good job at starting a Facebook petition against CBS and getting articles and giving interviews pleading for the release of 25 Benny shows. She says that CBS has "locked" these films away and will not be preserved. This is not the case.

The 25 Benny shows as well as the full run of the series is stored in state of the art facilities. The film elements are safe and in good shape. CBS is also aware of the fact that Ms. Leff has a library of many existing shows and charges for making copies; dupes of both copywritten and PD shows are offered from her website.

While I applaud her tenacity and love for Jack Benny (she organized a fine website and a convention a few years ago), it seems that the truth has been diluted and the actual state of the predicament has been reported in error. She is great at "self promoting".

What it boils down to is this: She is a huge fan who just wants to have copies of the shows and has gone this route to try and obtain them. CBS doesn't know how she was "supervising" a transfer of one of the color shows as that is not her job. True, it was an NBC special and maybe she was invited to see a conversion but "supervising"? She is friends with Joan Benny (Jack's daughter) so perhaps that's how she was invited to see the inner workings. She has gained attention to her fan club and her plight, however misrepresented it is.

CBS is not the enemy here; they will sub contract The Jack Benny out. As these are supposedly P D shows (and that's not definite) there are other sources to locate them and once they're out, anyone can dupe them and sell them for no fee. CBS isn't the only source for 16mm kinescopes. They even told her to try to find them through other avenues, fully aware she wants to add them to her "collection".

Should these films be available - of course. However, business is business and CBS pays for the storage of these and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of elements and that's not cheap. To give copies to her for her archive is not so simple even if she pays for her copies. Maybe some company will come forward and these shows will be seen. Time will tell.



I'm not a defender of CBS or any other big conglomerate but how is her wanting these shows any different than any one of us going to a major studio and asking for access to some series in their vaults that hasn't been transferred and asking them to let us "preserve" it for them with digital transfers? Oh, and by the way, all but 5 of the shows CBS has also exist at UCLA along with just about the entire 260 episode run of the series. So, they are being preserved and looked after except she can't get copies of them. If she was smart, what she should have done is have Benny's daughter go to CBS and ask for them, not her.


#15 of 28 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted January 20 2010 - 07:14 AM

Thanks Neil. Makes sense to me. If I'm not mistaken I believe the only Benny half hours that were ever released "legitimately" were a couple of holiday episodes that MCA released on VHS a long time ago. These were from the filmed episodes, not kinescopes from live broadcasts. All other releases including the many DVD releases have been of the supposed PD episodes.

#16 of 28 OFFLINE   Jay Pennington

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Posted January 20 2010 - 08:11 AM

Note that in the link, it says
Quote:
In December 2008 when I was at CBS overseeing the color specials transfer, I was told that CBS had the Benny television program masters.  I was breathless!

I got a listing of their holdings, and selected about 25 shows that are currently uncirculated and in the public domain.


It then lists the full lists of holdings, which is over SIXTY shows. 25 is simply the number that this person wanted to focus on.

There might be multiple sources of kinescopes, bu it's more likely that these are original elements and thus of better quality than what is making the rounds.

So to get the 25 would be great. ALL of them would be even better.

-Jay

#17 of 28 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted January 20 2010 - 08:31 AM

Neil Brock (Danny):

Is the italicized print in your post in your own voice...or was it taken from somewhere else?  Just curious.

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#18 of 28 OFFLINE   DeWilson

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Posted January 20 2010 - 09:46 AM



Quote:

...they are being preserved and looked after except she can't get copies of them. If she was smart, what she should have done is have Benny's daughter go to CBS and ask for them, not her....
 

Yeh, I was wondering that myself. You'd think as heir to Jack and Mary's Estate and most likely the successor to any rights to the show that Jack had, Joan Benny might have the legal right to obtain copies.



#19 of 28 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted January 20 2010 - 10:48 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Frezon 

Neil Brock (Danny):

Is the italicized print in your post in your own voice...or was it taken from somewhere else?  Just curious.
I was wondering that too.  It seems as if it is quoted from another source, but I didn't see any reference to the source.




#20 of 28 OFFLINE   MattPeriolat

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Posted January 20 2010 - 01:31 PM

Well, here's a thought - would CBS make any effort to get the PD Bennys under their umbrella for a larger release, especially if they could do restoration work on them?

Yeah, I know, it's CBS we're talking about, just saying.

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