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Reagan 'GE Theatre' tapes restored...


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#1 of 29 Brett*H

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Posted March 17 2010 - 04:58 AM

I thought this was interesting and great news:


All 208 episodes of television's ''General Electric Theater,'' hosted by then-actor Ronald Reagan, are being delivered to former first lady Nancy Reagan on Wednesday as part of the two-year celebration of the late president's 100th birthday.
The 1954-1962 ''General Electric Theater'' tapes, most believed to be damaged or lost, were recently uncovered in the General Electric/NBC Universal archives. They were restored to broadcast quality for use in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.


Reagan traveled the nation as GE's goodwill ambassador to its plants during the 1950s.


''The opportunity to represent GE back in the 1950s, and the encouragement he received from the employees he met along the way, really launched Ronnie's career in public service,'' Mrs. Reagan said in a statement released Wednesday. ''I know he would be honored by this tribute.''


GE CEO Jeff Immelt plans to deliver the tapes to Mrs. Reagan at the library Wednesday evening. General Electric is sponsoring the Ronald Reagan Centennial festivities with $15 million.


The GE gift includes $10 million in cash, advertising and promotion to support the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, including money for a museum refurbishing that will be unveiled on the eve of the president's birthday. Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911.

It will include a new General Electric Theater that will focus on Reagan's career in radio, television and film.


The remaining $5 million goes to the Reagan Presidential Foundation to launch and support the GE-Reagan Scholars Program. It will provide 200 four-year college scholarships over the next decade to deserving students who embody the vision and values personified by Reagan.


''President Reagan helped our company expand its reach during a golden age of American technological progress,'' Immelt said in a statement. ''He embodied the optimistic and innovative spirit of our company, and later successfully carried those qualities with him to the White House.''



www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/03/17/arts/AP-US-Reagan-Tapes.html


Nice to see another piece of television history saved.

Maybe we'll see a release to DVD someday.


#2 of 29 Jack P

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Posted March 17 2010 - 05:17 AM

That is very good news!     I would imagine any actual DVD release would still have to be done by Universal, but it's nice to know that if one were to ever happen, the quality would be much improved.


#3 of 29 Brett*H

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Posted March 17 2010 - 05:47 AM

I get really excited when I read about these discoveries! 

Who knows what other "lost" tv show or film is laying around somewhere just waiting to be found.

Wish these studios would really start to look through their vaults before some of these gems deteriorate completely and are genuinely lost for good. 


#4 of 29 Neil Brock

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Posted March 18 2010 - 03:31 AM



Quote:
The 1954-1962 ''General Electric Theater'' tapes, most believed to be damaged or lost, were recently uncovered in the General Electric/NBC Universal archives. They were restored to broadcast quality for use in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.




Okay, lets see how much wrong information is in that statement. Firstly, these aren't "tapes". It was a filmed show. And since it has never aired anywhere in syndication in the era of syndicators sending out tapes rather than 16mm prints, most likely its never been on tape. Secondly, as with almost every filmed series owned by a major studio, 35mm fine grains are sitting in the vaults and not "believed damaged or lost". And thirdly, Universal created the series Dream On specifically so they could make use of the footage from this series and some of the other 50s anthology series that they own which no one wanted anything to do with. What may have happened is that when Universal began to inventory the vault after the big fire, they located a set of 16mm syndication prints and that's what they are referring to.


#5 of 29 Jack P

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Posted March 18 2010 - 03:48 AM

The "tapes" reference may well refer to the fact that the library was presented with the material in a tape format for the convenience of the library and visiting researchers.     Generally, even major libraries like a Presidential one don't have much use to just own film prints that can't be easily shown.


#6 of 29 Stephen Bowie

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Posted March 18 2010 - 05:24 AM

Aww, that's so sweet!  They should send another set down to hell, so Ronnie can watch 'em too.

Seriously, I wonder if Uni really would transfer 208 half-hour 16mm prints just to kiss Nancy Reagan's ass, or if they actually had tape on these.  Anyway, if GE Theater emerges commercially because of this, it can't be a bad thing.  Some interesting writers & actors passed through the show in the last few seasons, and the exec producer was William Frye (of Thriller).

#7 of 29 Jack P

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Posted March 18 2010 - 06:10 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Bowie 

Aww, that's so sweet!  They should send another set down to hell, so Ronnie can watch 'em too.
That is a disgusting and uncalled for comment on all levels.      I don't come to this forum to see no-class third rate Keith Olbermann imitators unleash their hate-filled bile. 



#8 of 29 Michael Reuben

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Posted March 18 2010 - 06:15 AM

No political commentary, please. Existing comments have been removed.

This thread was closed briefly. Any attempt to continue the previous argument will result in removal of the participant(s) without further warning.
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#9 of 29 Stephen Bowie

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Posted March 18 2010 - 06:17 AM

If that's a reference to me, Michael, I don't see how pointing out Ronald Reagan's current whereabouts constitute "political commentary" ... but, eh, judgment call.  Regardless, my inarguably apolitical comments on GE Theater appear to have been censored.  I would appreciate it if someone would restore them.

#10 of 29 Jack P

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Posted March 18 2010 - 06:23 AM

"Not political commentary" to say he's in Hell?  What a crock.


#11 of 29 Steve...O

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Posted March 18 2010 - 03:55 PM

This is exciting news.  Hopefully we'll see either releases or syndication of these.  Lots of recognizable names guested on these shows and I would believe there is some marketability around them.

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#12 of 29 Tim Tucker

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Posted March 19 2010 - 06:08 AM

Sounds like a natural property for Timeless or Shout! Factory.  Probably Timeless, because it's perfect for the Sam's Club demographic.
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#13 of 29 Rick Thompson

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Posted March 19 2010 - 12:32 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Tucker 

Sounds like a natural property for Timeless or Shout! Factory.  Probably Timeless, because it's perfect for the Sam's Club demographic.
 
Aren't we being catty today? Care for a saucer of milk?

General Electric Theater was several levels above 90 percent of the current network offerings -- even some the non-Sam's Club demographic adores (can you say "The Office" or Conan O'Brien?).



#14 of 29 Neil Brock

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Posted March 19 2010 - 01:24 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve...O 

This is exciting news.  Hopefully we'll see either releases or syndication of these.  Lots of recognizable names guested on these shows and I would believe there is some marketability around them.
 
     One can never say never but I would consider it highly unlikely.


#15 of 29 Jack P

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Posted March 20 2010 - 07:08 AM

Often, Presidential libraries *will* make their video materials available to researchers in terms of personal copies, but it can often result in a high fee depending on what kind of source material they're given.    If the Library gets these in a tape format, then the costs of transfer would be far lower but if they had to do work off film elements for each copy, that would be different.

I've dealt with the Johnson and Nixon presidential libraries in the past, and video material they have which even includes newscasts and Tonight Show programs taped by the White House for their own purposes can be obtained this way.    I'm sure that once the Reagan Library inventories all of these programs if there's one someone *really* wants to see, there will be a legal mechanism for getting an individual copy but even the cheapest rate would still be expensive in reference to how much a commercial release usually costs.


#16 of 29 Neil Brock

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Posted March 20 2010 - 01:17 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P 

Often, Presidential libraries *will* make their video materials available to researchers in terms of personal copies, but it can often result in a high fee depending on what kind of source material they're given.    If the Library gets these in a tape format, then the costs of transfer would be far lower but if they had to do work off film elements for each copy, that would be different.

I've dealt with the Johnson and Nixon presidential libraries in the past, and video material they have which even includes newscasts and Tonight Show programs taped by the White House for their own purposes can be obtained this way.    I'm sure that once the Reagan Library inventories all of these programs if there's one someone *really* wants to see, there will be a legal mechanism for getting an individual copy but even the cheapest rate would still be expensive in reference to how much a commercial release usually costs.
 
      I bought a copy of a GE Theatre from the Reagan library about 10 years ago. It was the Bachelor Father pilot and they charged me something like $65 for a film transfer that looked like the stuff people were doing with home film to tape transfers in 1978. Flicker, color burst, the works. Terrible copy.


#17 of 29 Jack P

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Posted March 20 2010 - 02:07 PM

Sounds like they were doing things one copy at a time from the film elements.    Sometimes, libraries and archives won't always have the best equipment available for those obsolete formats if they're not getting a high demand from users/researchers on the materials.    

That kind of rate for a half hour program is pretty much par for the course with most archives, presidential and non-presidental alike.    I can remember CBS News Archives charging on the order of $200-300 for a single hour of material.


#18 of 29 Elena S

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Posted March 20 2010 - 03:50 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Brock 




      I bought a copy of a GE Theatre from the Reagan library about 10 years ago. It was the Bachelor Father pilot and they charged me something like $65 for a film transfer that looked like the stuff people were doing with home film to tape transfers in 1978. Flicker, color burst, the works. Terrible copy.
 
Now that's a title I haven't heard mentioned in a long time. A little off topic, but I would love to see a release of Bachelor Father.


#19 of 29 Neil Brock

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Posted March 21 2010 - 05:00 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P 

Sounds like they were doing things one copy at a time from the film elements.    Sometimes, libraries and archives won't always have the best equipment available for those obsolete formats if they're not getting a high demand from users/researchers on the materials.  
That kind of rate for a half hour program is pretty much par for the course with most archives, presidential and non-presidental alike.    I can remember CBS News Archives charging on the order of $200-300 for a single hour of material.
 
      The cost didn't bother me but the fact that they charged that for a really bad transfer did. If you want to charge those kind of prices, at least send out a decent looking product. I've transferred thousands of 16mm TV show films at home and they look so much better.


#20 of 29 Sky Captain

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Posted March 21 2010 - 05:55 PM

GE Theater isn't as half as good as The Office or Mad Men, I'll bet. And it may even be hokey.