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Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Frank Soyke, Mar 7, 2011.
Heaven just got hipper. Rest in peace, Edd Byrnes, and thanks.
Thanks for all the Groovy Memories, Edd Byrnes.
And it's only been a few weeks since Joan Staley passed. Really sad.
And for those keeping track, this now leaves Jacqueline Beer as the sole surviving original cast member, along with Robert Logan, who joined in Season 4.
Jimmy Olsen is mad at and jealous of Kookie in SUPERMAN's PAL JIMMY OLSEN #43.
77 Sunset Strip
In light of the recent news of Edd Byrnes, I thought it would be nice to return to a 77 SS episode, albeit one that has very little Kookie exposure. Written directed by Montgomery Pittman, this one always ranks high on everyone's list of faves.
Jeff Spencer is hanging around downtown in a phone booth because...well, why not? He suddenly spots the fetching Vetta Nygood (Kathleen Crowley), an accomplice in a notorious gang of robbers on the loose. Vetta is downtown because...well, why not? Unlike Quasimodo, I haven't a hunch. Heck, if I could be downtown, I would be, too. Anyway, Jeff makes a point of secretly following her down some dusty back roads to a ramshackle farmhouse in the county of Where-the-hell-am-I. As he sneaks up the driveway, he's accosted by one of the robbers (Robert Colbert) at gunpoint and marched into the house. Jeff tries to act a few dubloons short of a treasure as to why he's there, but is soon revealed to be a Private Investigator, which is of course the natural enemy of all bank robbers in the woods.
The gang, headed up by Mark Hammett (John Dehner), is holed up waiting for the arrival of their last member Deek (Lee Van Cleef). While tapping their toes, they bicker like brats at dinnertime as to who's the smartest, bravest, yada yada yada. Jeff spends his time flirting with the lovely Vetta, who licks her lips and flashes her pearly whites at him. Hammett eventually gets his corduroys in a bunch and decides to split the money and leave before Deek arrives. Hammett apparently doesn't cotton to the adage of honor among thieves. But what to do with Jeff? Kill him? Knock him out? Make him watch old episodes of Sgt. Preston? Nah. Let's tie him up in the attic and let him make friends with the spiders. It's not known if Jeff is given the respite of visiting the bathroom first. Oh, and there's also a giant rattlesnake up there, too--which of course is the natural enemy of Private Investigators in attics.
Before road tar was considered useful in LA; Everyone loves an attic party; Ad commercials hit a new technical highpoint
In the hours that follow, the farmhouse is visited by a group of Leave It To Beaver kids who want to smoke the cigarette butts they find on the floor. Kids'll do stuff like that. They're followed by a newly-wed couple with intentions of "christening" the house. Jeff, bound and gagged, is unable to gain attention before any of them decide to leave. Soon, the late and very nasty Deek shows up, pissed to the gills that his comrades haven't waited for him. He curses himself for stopping at the malt shop beforehand for an egg cream, and rushes off to find his gang. Jeff remains in the attic, all stinky and sweaty but mostly wishing he hadn't eaten that bean burrito for breakfast.
Deek finds Hammett in a posh motel room, enjoying the complimentary 21-inch RCA Victor black and white TV and counting his cash. Deek puts a bullet or two into him in revenge. Vetta, on the other hand, has opted for a casino and sunning herself poolside. She begins to feel remorse at having left Jeff tied up. But before she can act on good faith, she meets a young guy at the pool and drags him to her room. Horny beats good intentions on any given day. Eventually, Vetta and Deek return to the farmhouse--unknown that Jeff has finally worked himself loose. Jeff handily shoots Deek and shares a chuckle with Vetta before turning her in. The rattlesnake, not a fan of gunfire, remains in the attic.
Montgomery Pittman has a cameo as a somewhat greasy hotel desk clerk.
Hammett drops a hint that his favorite TV show is Lawman. John Dehner actually appeared in one episode of that series. WB was never shy at cross pollinating their shows.
Another great treatment! One small observation: I believe that we are to understand that, at the beginning of the episode, we come in on Jeff in the middle of an ongoing surveillance of Katheen Crowley's character.
Another interesting cameo in the episode is Robert John Pittman, Montgomery and Maurita's son, as one of the boys who visit the cabin in which Jeff is imprisoned.
Thanks Rob for the clarification. I often take liberties with the story lines, sometimes at the expense of just trying to be clever. Key word: trying.
Also, I find it interesting that as prolific and talented he was, Montgomery Pittman has so few photos of himself available. Truly a man more comfortable behind the scenes.
I remember that boy from Dennis the Menace.
Robert made his acting debut as Ajax in a 1960 episode of the crime drama 77 Sunset Strip, directed by his father. Rusty Stevens, who played Larry Mondello on Leave it to Beaver, appeared in the same episode as a character named Max.
He did try to get in front of the camera at first. I'll have to do some quick research to give you more details, but I think I recall that the reason he began to write screenplays was so that he could write a part in for himself. I seem to remember that one specific episode in which he did just this was Cheyenne S2E9 "The Iron Trail." But don't quote me until I can dig up a supporting reference.
Later, he was so in demand as a writer/director that he didn't really have time for more than cameo appearances. IMDb lists three for 77SS, but I believe there is a fourth. It came in the middle of an episode; he exited Dino's with a young lady on his arm and asked Kookie to bring up his car. I'll have to go in search of that episode. It may have been S3E4 "The Office Caper," but I'm just winging it here.
Not that Wikipedia is the be-all-end-all of all worldly information, but it states that Pittman never appeared in an episode in which he directed.
Apparently, that rule didn't apply to those scripts he had written himself.
I love Wikipedia, but of course it isn't always accurate. And by the way, Pittman does indeed have a cameo in "The Office Caper." Just about halfway in, he comes out of Dino's with a slightly disgruntled-looking blonde woman and asks Kookie to bring his car immediately, stating that it's an emergency. He sports a dapper little moustache.
Get this show and Hawaiian Eye out on DVD soon, please!!! There has to be a way to clear all the obstacles. Look at all the posts and comments for these shows on here. There is enormous interest. Doesn't Warner know this? These 2 shows would be huge sellers.
To review the discussion here on this topic, the obstacle to a DVD release of any of the WB detective shows from this period is the music rights. They all are chock-full of performances of popular songs, the publishing rights to which the studio sold some time ago. The costs to secure the rights for DVD release would be prohibitive, given the probable interest in these shows.
The only real hope is that a station such as Me-TV runs these series, so the we could at least be able to watch them. And, as much as I hate to say this, it would be helpful if they colorized them, so that the current generation might be interested in watching. There is a strong aversion to black-and-white among millenials, and probably the previous generation as well.
I know about the music issues already, however other shows with the same issues have made it to video. There is no reason something couldn't be worked out with these. There obviously is huge interest in these shows given the number of posts on here. Don't you think all these people posting stories and pictures of these shows would love it if they got released? Many other more obscure shows have made it to video already. It would help if Me-TV did air them too. I know some people don't care for black and white, but I personally am opposed to colourization. If something was filmed in black and white there is a reason for it. You are seeing it the way it was meant to be seen. Changing B/W films and shows is liking changing a work of art. The people who would buy these particular shows on video would want them in their true black and white anyway. It is unfortunate that some people, particularly younger people will only watch something if it's colour. Maybe if some of us older folks could impress upon the younger ones why a show was filmed in black and white and the positive points of watching it that way, possibly they might learn to appreciate it more. Maybe not with all, but worth a try. If they're not exposed or someone doesn't talk to them about the joys and pleasure of seeing a film or classic show in its original format, how will they know. I hope you aren't suggesting we take every classic film and show and colourize all of them just so some millennials might watch them. There is no guarantee they would watch them anyway. Just my thoughts on that.
As I say, we've hashed all this out here. I personally have said this same thing here in the past. The sad fact is that WB apparently does not consider the effort to release these shows on DVD worth the expense. And it could possibly be quite expensive because of the sheer number of songs involved.
I quite agree with you regarding films. I don't agree regarding television from the era we're dealing with. While it is true that a few shows were filmed in color with the knowledge that color was coming to TV, most producers considered it a senseless expense. In other words, filming in B&W was an economic choice, not an artistic one. Thus, the prospect of their being colorized does not offend me.
And nowadays they can do an excellent job of it. Just watch Zorro or the first few seasons of Bewitched. I am forced to admit that, in these cases, colorization is an improvement. It conveys more information than B&W.
And as far as seeing these shows as they were meant to be seen, they were meant to be seen on screens that were very small and low-resolution compared to today's screens.
So I am perfectly happy with hi-res rescans and colorization, as long as they retain the original aspect ratio.
Again, I understand about the costs and music issues involved. I have read about this numerous times. I still say since other series we never thought would make it to video(ex. Batman) for many years; some eventually have made it. The only way there is any possibility of some of these other shows to make it is for people to keep telling the studios who own the rights is how much they want it. If enough people keep asking for it, the better chance there is for it to happen. There are campaigns on Facebook for example that promote certain shows for video release. Warner did say not too long ago that they had plans to release those 2 shows. I say never say never. It can always happen.
As for B/W vs. Colour-I respect your opinion. If some people prefer it that way, it is fine. However to me, colourizing a B/W film or show compromises the integrity of it. It is like changing a work of art because you don't like something in it. It is fake and it isn't natural or authentic. Maybe economics did play a role in some TV shows being filmed in B/W and not colour. The fact of the matter is that there were shows that were made in B/W. The bottom line to me is if it was made a certain way, that is how I would want to see it. Personally, I don't think a show like The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock would be better in colour. The same for many old western, mystery and drama series. It just doesn't look right changing it. I think colourization is every bit as bad if not worse as edited episodes, changing background music or incorrect aspect ratios. I believe the vast majority of people who enjoy watching and collecting these older films and shows would prefer them the way they were originally made. For people who want colourization that is fine, but I would hope that studios releasing anything new on video would never completely do away with B/W if that is how something was originally made. If something was in B/W, that is how I like it. I rest my case.
I am resting my case on the B/W vs. colourization. I am not giving up on 77 Sunset Strip or Hawaiian Eye ever being released on video. No one who likes these shows or anything else should ever give up hope. It may take a miracle, but you never know. It might still happen. Continue to petition these studios and start campaigns if you want it bad enough.
Although I go buy this area in vehicles frequently enough, I have little occasion to walk around there as I once did. From a moving vehicle I couldn't see any evidence the plaque was replaced and using GSV didn't help as there is a truck parked there in the current image.
A new restaurant opened there not long ago...it's called Tesse. While looking at a photo of the place (below) I noticed something in the bottom right corner.
The 77 Sunset Strip plaque is back! Maybe I'll take a trip up there sometime and place a comb on it in tribute.
Timothy, I respect your opinion regarding colorization as well. As I said, I completely share it in regards to films.
I could defend my position in greater detail, but I'll let the matter drop. I just want to make one more observation: colorization is effectively a non-destructive alteration if done properly. One can simply turn off the color and view the show as originally intended.