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Cliffhangers! - A TV series comprising of three revolving serials (The Curse of Dracula, The Secret Empire and Stop Susan Williams)


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#21 of 49 SilverWook

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Posted April 29 2010 - 09:19 PM

This was one of those shows that my local NBC affiliate used to pass off to a UHF channel, making it hard to find sometimes. Yet they aired Supertrain. Go figure. They really ticked me off for pre-empting Buck Rogers at the drop of a hat for local news programming too. There were some episodes I never saw until they aired in 80's syndication.

Did all network affiliates wield this sort of power back then?

I've read somewhere that "The Secret Empire" is actually a remake of the 1935 Gene Autry serial "The Phantom Empire".


#22 of 49 Regulus

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Posted April 30 2010 - 12:54 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverWook 

This was one of those shows that my local NBC affiliate used to pass off to a UHF channel, making it hard to find sometimes. Yet they aired Supertrain. Go figure. They really ticked me off for pre-empting Buck Rogers at the drop of a hat for local news programming too. There were some episodes I never saw until they aired in 80's syndication.

Did all network affiliates wield this sort of power back then?

I've read somewhere that "The Secret Empire" is actually a remake of the 1935 Gene Autry serial "The Phantom Empire".
 
Back then many TV Stations would "Dump" a network's Program for Local Programming if they feel thay can make more money selling Local Commercials only. believe it or not, people living in the Detroit, Michigan area NEVER SAW Season 1 of Saturday Night Live because WDIV decided to air Movies instead. They also Pre-Empted the first few episodes of Chips because they felt the series would "Bomb" and be cancelled after a few episodes. Those living in the Southern Area of the Detroit Area would turn to Toledo, Ohio's NBC Affiliate to pick up these programs.

BTW Detroit's WDIV had the contract back then to carry the Detroit Tigers Baseball Games, which often required them to Pre-Empt NBC's Programs to air the Games. In 1979, when the Tigers were in LAST PLACE. they had the misfortune of having to pre-empt the Movie The Sound of Music, which NBC Decided to play. All that evening, the Station's Switchboard was SWAMPED with phone calls from irate viewers, who'd rather watch the Movie than the Game. An operator said at one point they were getting 900 calls an hour!/img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif


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#23 of 49 AndyMcKinney

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Posted April 30 2010 - 01:06 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverWook 

This was one of those shows that my local NBC affiliate used to pass off to a UHF channel, making it hard to find sometimes. Yet they aired Supertrain. Go figure. They really ticked me off for pre-empting Buck Rogers at the drop of a hat for local news programming too. There were some episodes I never saw until they aired in 80's syndication.

Did all network affiliates wield this sort of power back then?
I think part of it also depended on how each local affiliate did in the ratings. Higher-rated affiliates could get away with more pre-emptions than ones who were in last place, especially in the case of "opposites" (i.e. last-place affiliate of a first-place network or vice versa). I remember reading a news story on the very issue in the local paper back in the '80s. Local affiliate WTVQ was last place in a 3-man race, even though ABC were riding high nationally, so the network had considerable leverage over them. At the time, there was talk of ABC possibly offering the affiliation to a competing station. In order to keep from losing their affiliation, part of the terms of their deal was they were no longer allowed to pre-empt as much programming as they had been (typically, ABC's game shows in the a.m.) for the syndicated fare they had been airing. This was around 1984. First time the station had run the daytime version of Family Feud in years.


Quote:
I've read somewhere that "The Secret Empire" is actually a remake of the 1935 Gene Autry serial "The Phantom Empire".
Yes, that is correct. I saw "Phantom" on my local PBS station (on a show called "Saturday at the Bijou" or something) and immediately recognised the similarities, then read many years later how it was stolen, er, adapted for "Cliff Hangers."


#24 of 49 Jack P

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Posted April 30 2010 - 01:18 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Regulus 

 In 1979, when the Tigers were in LAST PLACE. they had the misfortune of having to pre-empt the Movie The Sound of Music, which NBC Decided to play. All that evening, the Station's Switchboard was SWAMPED with phone calls from irate viewers, who'd rather watch the Movie than the Game. An operator said at one point they were getting 900 calls an hour!/img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif
 
Maybe they would have switched if it had been "Heidi" airing. /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif




#25 of 49 Regulus

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Posted April 30 2010 - 03:19 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P 




Maybe they would have switched if it had been "Heidi" airing. /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif


 
If I were in charge of things I'd make a "NFL Version" of the Movie Heidi (This Movie is available on DVD). It would start with the Raiders/Jets Game at the end of the Two-Minute Warning. Then with 58 Seconds to go, the Movie begins. At the appropiate moment, the Final Score "Scrolls" across the screen (This is most likely the point where all H-E-(Double Hockey Sticks) Broke Out!, as THOUSANDS of IRATE Fans SWAMPED NBC's (As Well as their affiliate Stations) Switchboards to vent their anger.) At the end of the Movie a Documentary about "The Heidi Game" Incident with interviews with those onvolved in the incident. I'd like to see the people who were broadcasting the game, knowing the Game had been cut off for the Movie (At the time this wasn't unusual, if the score was lopsided, they'd switch over to the evening programming and in this case, with less than a Minute to go, the Raiders had a 15-Point Lead!) But the impossible happened. The Jets scored a Touchdown, then the Raiders FUMBLED the Kickoff return, which the Jets recovered and ran in for a second Touchdown. That's OK, the Raiders still lead by a Point. The Kickoff happens again, The Raiders return the Ball to mid-field, but there's a Penalty, that takes them back near the End Zone. The Raiders snap the Ball, FUMBLE! The Jets pick it up and ..... TOUCHDOWN!

The Guys in the Booth must have had this SINKING Feeling in their hearts, knowing what was about to happen next!/img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif

After the Documentary what would happen next! What Else? THE FINAL 58 SECONDS of the Game would be shown, those 58 Seconds everybody East of the Mississippi River didn't get to see because of the Decision to switch to Heidi! /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif

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#26 of 49 Jack P

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Posted April 30 2010 - 07:17 AM

The irony is that the unaired final minute of the game is the ONLY part that still exists because NBC threw away or erased the tapes of all of the sports broadcasts in those days.   But because the Huntley-Brinkley Report aired the final minute the next night on the news for the benefit of those who didn't get to see it, and because the newscast still exists, we thus still have that part of the game!


#27 of 49 Regulus

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Posted April 30 2010 - 07:57 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P 

The irony is that the unaired final minute of the game is the ONLY part that still exists because NBC threw away or erased the tapes of all of the sports broadcasts in those days.   But because the Huntley-Brinkley Report aired the final minute the next night on the news for the benefit of those who didn't get to see it, and because the newscast still exists, we thus still have that part of the game!
 
There goes my plan to include footage from the Two-Minute Warning (Where they always took a Commercial Break)! /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif

After that Incident NBC made it a Policy to stay with the game all the way to the end, but this also caused problems. If a Game overran its allotted time slot, very often the program that was scheduled to come on after the game (In NBC's Case The Wonderful World of Disney) would often be "Joined in Progress", which alienated those who wanted to see that Program. During a Sweeps Week in 1975 NBC decided to show the Movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory after the Game, which went into Overtime and ran almost an hour past its alotted timeslot. NBC decided to join the movie 'In Progress" and got almost as many Irate Phone Calls and letters as they did from the "Heidi Game" eight years earlier! CBS also had a policy of Joining 60 Minutes "In Progress" when its Games also overran their timeslot, they capitulated to irate fans and finally decided to delay their Programming if the Games run long.


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#28 of 49 WaveCrest

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Posted May 03 2010 - 10:42 AM

It seemed to be on topic this thread, and now it is about something else entirely.


#29 of 49 Regulus

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Posted May 03 2010 - 11:39 AM

Sorry! My Bad! /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif

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#30 of 49 Jack P

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Posted May 03 2010 - 12:02 PM

If the topic stayed exclusively on Cliffhangers, there wouldn't be much left to discuss!


#31 of 49 Timothy E

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Posted May 03 2010 - 12:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMcKinney 

The Dracula segment was a bit popular in its day, popular enough that NBC toyed with spinning it off into its own show (in fact, two endings were shot for the serial: the one that aired--in which Dracula died--and an alternate one, used in the second Dracula TV movie, where the vampire was shown to have survived).
 
It would be great to see the complete series set released to include the alternate ending of the Dracula serial as a special feature.


#32 of 49 AndyMcKinney

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Posted May 04 2010 - 01:37 AM

Here is what happens in that alternate ending ("new" footage in italics):

Mary grabbed a crossbow but was unable to fire. Kurt took the weapon and shot a wooden stake through Dracula’s heart. Then Dracula began to burn. And the museum began to burn. As Mary and Kurt looked on, Christine sobbed over the burning Dracula, and the museum came apart around them.

Finally, the two ran off, leaving Dracula and Christine, but Dracula wasn’t dead. With flames leaping around him, the vampire pulled the stake from his body and rose from his coffin. Gathering what soil he could carry, Dracula ran from the burning museum, off to terrorize another town.


The two telefilms, incidentally, were called World of Dracula and Loves of Dracula. There was also a telefilm of the "Stop Susan Williams" segments, entitled The Girl Who Saved the World, which was naturally, more edited than the two "Dracula" movies (having to squeeze more content into only one movie), but it did, at least, show what few US viewers who saw it how the bomb plot storline ended.


#33 of 49 Jeff Willis

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Posted May 04 2010 - 06:17 AM

^^

Andy, thanks for that summary!  This is one that I'd probably buy at release instead of waiting for a price drop.

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#34 of 49 WaveCrest

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Posted May 04 2010 - 08:49 AM



Quote:
Quote: Reply by Jack P:
If the topic stayed exclusively on Cliffhangers, there wouldn't be much left to discuss!



Well, a new thread should have been started for what else was being discussed.


#35 of 49 pennyroile37

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Posted November 23 2010 - 02:06 PM

You can purchase the complete series on DVD from:

EDIT: Link removed by moderator.  No discussion of bootlegs or links to sites selling bootlegs allowed.



#36 of 49 pennyroile37

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Posted November 23 2010 - 02:08 PM

You can purchase the complete series on DVD from:
www.rareandforgotten.com



#37 of 49 Darby67

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Posted June 21 2011 - 08:05 AM

I would love to see this show released on DVD as I enjoyed it so much as a kid back in 1979.  Given Universal's track record in releasing certain tv shows on DVD (such as Amazing Stories and Night Gallery), I suppose the only realistic possibility for an obscure show like "Cliffhangers!" would be to have it sublicensed to outfit like Shout Factory.  Ideally, I would love to see all 11 episodes (including the last one that only aired overseas) and all the telefilms, but I would certainly settle for at least having the 11 episodes released.


Any way to put some pressure on the rights holders to release this wonderful show on DVD?



#38 of 49 Neil Brock

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Posted June 21 2011 - 09:02 AM



Originally Posted by Regulus 




If I were in charge of things I'd make a "NFL Version" of the Movie Heidi (This Movie is available on DVD). It would start with the Raiders/Jets Game at the end of the Two-Minute Warning. Then with 58 Seconds to go, the Movie begins. At the appropiate moment, the Final Score "Scrolls" across the screen (This is most likely the point where all H-E-(Double Hockey Sticks) Broke Out!, as THOUSANDS of IRATE Fans SWAMPED NBC's (As Well as their affiliate Stations) Switchboards to vent their anger.) At the end of the Movie a Documentary about "The Heidi Game" Incident with interviews with those onvolved in the incident. I'd like to see the people who were broadcasting the game, knowing the Game had been cut off for the Movie (At the time this wasn't unusual, if the score was lopsided, they'd switch over to the evening programming and in this case, with less than a Minute to go, the Raiders had a 15-Point Lead!) But the impossible happened. The Jets scored a Touchdown, then the Raiders FUMBLED the Kickoff return, which the Jets recovered and ran in for a second Touchdown. That's OK, the Raiders still lead by a Point. The Kickoff happens again, The Raiders return the Ball to mid-field, but there's a Penalty, that takes them back near the End Zone. The Raiders snap the Ball, FUMBLE! The Jets pick it up and ..... TOUCHDOWN!

The Guys in the Booth must have had this SINKING Feeling in their hearts, knowing what was about to happen next!/img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif

After the Documentary what would happen next! What Else? THE FINAL 58 SECONDS of the Game would be shown, those 58 Seconds everybody East of the Mississippi River didn't get to see because of the Decision to switch to Heidi! /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif


      Interesting post, although completely wrong. The Jets led 32-29 with Oakland having the ball. After NBC left, on the second play, the Raiders scored on a 43 yard TD pass. On the ensuing kickoff, NY fumbled and the Raiders recovered in the end zone. Final score, Oakland 43 New York 32. But you got the two teams right anyway.




#39 of 49 Regulus

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Posted June 21 2011 - 09:19 AM



Originally Posted by Neil Brock 




      Interesting post, although completely wrong. The Jets led 32-29 with Oakland having the ball. After NBC left, on the second play, the Raiders scored on a 43 yard TD pass. On the ensuing kickoff, NY fumbled and the Raiders recovered in the end zone. Final score, Oakland 43 New York 32. But you got the two teams right anyway.



My Bad! Posted Image Sometimes these stories get GROSSLY Exaggerated, and what I posted was an "Urban Legend".  Later I saw the missing footage on youtube, and stand corrected. Posted Image



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#40 of 49 AndyMcKinney

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Posted June 22 2011 - 12:31 AM



Originally Posted by Darby67 

 I suppose the only realistic possibility for an obscure show like "Cliffhangers!" would be to have it sublicensed to outfit like Shout Factory.



Or someone like Australia's Madman, who released the complete Darkroom as a world-wide exclusive. Grant from Madman is on these boards at times and I've put in a request to him to look into this show. Maybe it wouldn't hurt for everyone here who thinks Madman should put it out (after all, it would be another world-wide exclusive, which is what Grant told me would be part of the motivation if they ever did this) to send him a PM!


I'm afraid the show is probably too low-profile for even Shout! to take it on!






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