8 Abbott & Costello Films Coming! (2/10/04)

Mark-W

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For those of you who, like myself, love Africa Screams, there are a number of public domain versions avaiable, and I know I bought a few trying to figure out which one had the best image quality.

I came to the conclusion that the Roan Group transfer was the best, with "Silver Screen Edition" (Made by "DVD Matters," and "Master Movies") being the next best, and all the rest looked like VHS-transfered to DVD.

The Roan Group (aka/dba Troma Team) version also has Abbott & Costello's Jack & The Beanstalk on the other side, and it can be found at the Troma website for $7.99 currently, though with Troma's high shipping charge, if you are not buying other DVDs there, you might be able to buy it for less at Amazon after you pay shipping.
Here it is a Troma:
http://store.troma.com/index.php?SCR...ault&item=1498

The thing with this title, is that Madacy and several other "no quality" DVD makers also sell this as a double feature, so make sure you see that is says it is manufactured by "Troma Team."

Mark
 

John Sparks

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I too have the Silver Screen version of "Africa Screams."

The LD by Image(running time at 79 min. same as Silver version) is the one to get but only if you have a player. It has out-takes, running gags, still photos, publicity shots and live shots of their best friend who was employed to come on the set and keep them laughing throughout the filming...great stuff that is found on todays DVD's!

All this stuff probably is lost and will never be on DVD.

How did this film and their other 3 get into PD?
 

Randy Korstick

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I have the Image Laserdisc of Africa Screams and I agree its the best version of this film so far.

Africa Screams
Jack and the Beanstalk
Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd

These 3 films as well as Dance with me Henry and The Noose Hangs High were all made by small independent studios and co-produced by Abbott and Costello which is how they ended up in Public Domain. MGM aquired the rights to Noose Hangs High and Dance with Me Henry which are now owned by Warner Brothers. Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd must have some current issue with its rights because it has not had any kind of video release since the mid 80's and it is in desperate need of restoration just as Jack and the Beanstalk needed until it was restored in the late 90's for Laserdisc.
 

Peter Apruzzese

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Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd must have some current issue with its rights because it has not had any kind of video release since the mid 80's and it is in desperate need of restoration just as Jack and the Beanstalk needed until it was restored in the late 90's for Laserdisc.
Meet Captain Kidd has been preserved and restored by UCLA and I believe the rights are owned by Warner Brothers.
 

John Morgan

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Warner Bros funded a preservation for ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET CAPT. KIDD a few years ago. UCLA did a marvelous job from 35mm acetate YCM separation dupe negative and original 35mm sound track negative. I saw this print in 2002 and it looks and sound beautiful...well as beautiful as Supercinecolor can look. I have hoped that TCM would have shown this upgraded version, but so far, no dice. But since WB funded this, I would assume they have some interest in the title.
 

Randy Korstick

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Thanks for the update on A & C meet Captain Kidd.
I'm glad to hear a restoration was done. I hope Warners will release this soon and I hope someone will also release the restored version of Jack and the Beanstalk that was on the LD.
 

Bob Furmanek

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I produced both the Africa Screams and Jack and the Beanstalk discs for Image.

The Africa Screams transfer was from the 35mm nitrate fine grain, and it looks absolutely stunning. Because of the public domain status, that laser transfer has now been copied over and over again onto many different versions. The outtakes that I included on the disc are from the Estates personal collections, and they still own the rights to those.

Jack and the Beanstalk was transferred from the 35mm SuperCinecolor Warner Brothers studio print, which was in near mint condition. This has also been copied over and over again because of its public domain status.

Africa fell into the public domain because the rights were purchased in the early 1950's by an independent distributor in New York (Robert Haggiag) and he became quite wealthy from his other film interests. He failed to renew the copyright in 1977 because he had no interest in the film. When I tracked him down in the late eighties, the original nitrate elements had been un-touched since 1953, and most of the original camera negative was decomposed. I was able to transfer the fine grain to video.

Jack and the Beanstalk was copyrighted by Lou Costello's Exclusive Productions in 1951. The rights were sold to RKO in the late fifties, and they neglected to renew the copyright in 1979. For years, this film was only available in black and white.

The Noose Hangs High and Dance with Me Henry are both copyrighted, and currently owned by MGM/UA.

Meet Captain Kidd has been fully restored (I found the elements in England) and will hopefully see a DVD release from Warner Brothers.

Gag reels survive from many of the 1940's features because Lou Costello personally requested them for his own film collection. The rights are now the property of the Estate, and I don't know what plans they may have to give them a legit release.

I hope this answers some of your questions!

Bob Furmanek
 
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Randy Korstick

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Thanks for the Info. Bob and the great work you did on these films.
Hopefully this means Warner might consider a box set similar to the Marx Brothers set with the following titles:

1.) Rio Rita
2.) Lost in a Harem
3.) In Hollywood
4.) The Noose Hangs High
5.) Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd
6.) Dance with me Henry

If sales are good enough on Universals disks and the Marx Brothers Box its a good bet.
 

Mark-W

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Bob-

"Thanks" doesn't even begin to suggest how much I am sure most of us appreciate your efforts.
Has Image Entertainment not released their (your) version of Africa Screams on DVD because so many others snagged and ported your LD transfer to DVD making an Image
release a tough sell with the market already filled with inferior cheap-o DVD versions?

I sure would love a DVD from Image that you supervised the release of that included the extras from the LD and what would be a better transfer than any currently available on DVD.

Regards,

Mark
 

Bob Furmanek

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Thanks for your kind words Mark. I'm out of the loop now, but I know the laser was pulled from release because of problems with the A&C Estates. I am not very optimistic that those problems will be resolved. With all the subsequent releases, I doubt that Image would have any interest.

Regarding the box set Randy, that won't happen because Noose and Henry are owned by MGM/UA, and not Warner Brothers.
 

John Sparks

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Thanks Bob for all the info. You did a great job on those LD's. I'm so glad that I didn't sell mine and will treasure them.

There are only a few titles that didn't get on LD and hopefully someday we'll be lucky...
 

Steve...O

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How about the one starring Buddy Hacket as Lou Costello?
Wow - I didn't think anybody remembered this TV movie. Harvey Korman was Bud Abbott. It's been over a quarter century since I've seen this, so I'm very fuzzy on the details. I do remember the scene of the radio show where Abbott tells the audience that Costello's beloved son had passed away earlier that day (drowning) but Lou insisted that the radio show go on as scheduled.

To this day,I don't know if that particular episode of the A&C radio show still exists. I'm sure one of the local experts can fill us in.

If I recall correctly, this was based on the book "Bud and Lou" which I had read at our local library.

Our own Bob Furmanek is also the co-author of a highly regarded A&C book. (By the way, let me add my voice to the chorus of praises Bob so richly deserves in his efforts to preserve these films for future generations.)

Steve
 

R. Kay

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Bob:

You should contact Robert Weide (Director of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm').

He's a Marx Brothers historian who directed a documentary on them many years ago.

I believe he was a big A&C admirer as well.
 

Steve Armbrust

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Please excuse this short off-topic (but A&C related) post.

There's a wonderful novel by Elizabeth McCracken called "Niagra Falls All Over Again" that tells the story of a vaudevillian comedy team that makes the leap to B movies. It's VERY reminiscent of A&C and told from the point of view of the straight man character. A&C fans should love this.

Now back to the quite interesting topic of the A&C box sets.
 

Dick

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Steve, you just reminded me of the routine called "Niagra Falls," and I guess A&C performed this... perhaps first? Did the 3 Stooges ever do it? Anyway, in what movie (if any) does the Niagra Falls ("Slo-o-w-l-y I turned....step by step...") routine appear?
 

Charles H

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The "Slowly, I turned...." routine was performed by A & C in LOST IN A HAREM. Lucy and Ethel did it on "I Love Lucy." It was aso something of an antecedent for John Cleese's wonderful "Not to mention the War..." routine in "The Germans" on FAWLTY TOWERS. A & C also did "The Susquatana Hat Company" routine--another variation-- in IN SOCIETY and on their tv series.
 

Seymour Uranowitz

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According to this article in the Niagara Falls Reporter, the comic Joey Faye claimed authorship of the "Slowly I turned..." routine, which had many incarnations starting in vaudeville. It also appeared in the "Jail" episode of Abbott & Costello's TV Series, with Sid Fields playing their crazed cellmate...and their lawyer!

Back OT, I have an 8mm copy of Lou's gag reel that I bought years ago. I was hoping it would appear on tape or DVD at some point, but I guess it's a lost cause. Any ideas on how to get it telecined to disc?
 

Charles H

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The Three Stooges short that included "Slowly I Turned..." was GENTS WITHOUT CENTS (1944)-- released the same year as LOST IN A HAREM. I recommend ABBOTT AND COSTELLO IN HOLLYWOOD by
Bob Furmanek & Ron Palumbo as an excellent source for all the A & C films, discussing specific routines, as well as deleted scenes from each film.
GENTS WITHOUT CENTS can be found on THE THREE STOOGES: HEALTHY, WEALTHY and DUMB.
 

Steve...O

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My copy hasn't arrived, but here's a question for those who have their copies already:

What's the running time on "Tropics"? The reason I ask is that Bob Furmanek has indicated on another forum that if a Realart print was used this may be very likely an edited print of the film. Something like 7 or 8 minutes would be missing if this were true. The VHS version of this film has the complete version.

However before anybody gets worked up about this, I'd like to find out what the running time of the movie on the DVD is.

I very much hope that A&C fans don't get hosed like L&H fans (of which I am one) got last year with the crappy Hallmark/Artisan release that featured TV prints with commercial fadeouts, VHS masters with rolling image, etc.

Steve
 

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