Any news on The Honeymooners Lost episodes?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Carlos Garcia, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    I read a few months ago on a Honeymooners fan site that they were working on restoring the "Lost Episodes" of that show. I know these episodes are all in kinescope form, so I don't really know what kind of restoration can be done for them. I have been holding off from buying the Lost episodes on DVD for several reasons. 1: The cost. These sets are so expensive when compared to the classic 39! 2. The quality: I've read from alot of people that the DVDs of the lost episodes looks even worse than the VHS version, I'm not sure how to take that. 3. There are currently so many "Lost Episodes" discs out there that I wouldn't know how many I would need to get in order to have all the episode. 4. There are "Boxed sets" available of the Lost episodes, which only confuses me more, since I don't know if the boxed sets contain the same episodes that appear in the single volume discs. 5. These episodes are not in any sort of "Season" order, so we don't know which episode came first, or which came later (Though I'm sure Gleason's weight might give us a hint [​IMG]). Anyway, if any of you have collected these, can you give me a clue as to what are the best discs available that will give us the complete set? Or if anyone has any info on the rumored restoration of these episodes, please feel free to add to the discussion.
     
  2. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

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    Restoration might simply mean cleanup of the transfer as much as possible (dirt and scratches on the kinescopes, etc), but hopefully they've figured out something similar to what the Dr. Who Restoration Team has been doing--they devised a method to find/rebuild the proper frames/fields out of the mess that are kinescopes, to recreate a proper video cadence. They work in PAL, of course, so I dunno if NTSC would make it easier or harder.

    I doubt much could be done with phosphor blooms, however.

    Just about anything would be better than what was done with these shows when they were put into syndication (1990?)--reportedly there was a scratch on most/all of the prints along one side, and the image was zoomed in until it fell out of frame. Of course, this just magnified the other problems with the prints.
     
  3. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    Having seen all of The Honeymooners sketches years ago (the sketches with Audrey Meadows as Alice) and several of the Cavalcade of Stars Honeymooners sketches (with Pert Kelton as Alice). I'm sick of those.

    What I'd like to see released are complete 1 hour episodes of The Jackie Gleason Show, particularly the one shot on black & white videotape (entitled Jackie Gleason's American Scene Magazine AND color videotape from the 1960s (when Art Carney and The Honeymooners returned and Sheila MacRae and Jane Kean played Alice and Trixie)! (The 1950s wouldn't be bad either).

    The B & W ones from the American Scene years were syndicated as half-hour versions using the original tapes and they were wonderful! Jackie's other characters were even more entertaining: Joe the Bartender, The Poor Soul, Rum Dum, and Reginald Van Gleason III. When will we see these in their entirety on DVD??

    The only character from the 1950s that Jackie didn't play in the 60s was Charlie Bratton (a.k.a. "The Loudmouth").

    By the way, someone put out a VHS tape of the first ever Jackie Gleason & his American Scene show from October 1962. In its 50 minute entirety, it was a kinescope though, but was obviously shot on videotape even from the very start. It featured all of the elements from the previous decade: The June Taylor Dancers, Glea Girls (pitched the sponsors' products), Jackie's monolog, Joe the Bartender, and with Art Carney guest-starring -- a Honeymooners sketch with regular Sue Ane Langdon as Alice Kramden! The musical guest was teenage Wayne Newton, making his first appearance on television. There was also a musical parody of The Untouchables called "The Retouchables" with Jackie as Eliot Slesh and sexy Sue Ane as a showgirl! [​IMG]
     
  4. WhitneyG

    WhitneyG Stunt Coordinator

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    There are 24 single disc releases of the lost episodes. Each of the boxed sets include four of the singles (BS1 includes 1-4, BS2=5-8, etc.). If you buy all 24 single releases, or all 6 boxed sets, you'll have all the lost episodes (minus a few destroyed ones, the recently discovered one, and one sadly left out because of a mix up - one episode was included twice due to this). Each case includes the original airdate of the episodes included. However, the episodes are in no order.

    As for the quality... They are low quality, but there isn't much to work with. If you've seen these episodes on VHS or TVLand, you know what to expect. These, in my opinion, are better than the VHS releases. The quaility is about the same, but with DVD it is easier to see the flaws.
     
  5. Videowack

    Videowack Agent

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    Jeff, I couldn't agree more. I've been actively lobbying everyone and everyplace I can for ages now to get "American Scene Magazine" released in the original 1-hour format, as opposed to the chopped up 22 minute versions syndicated by 20th Century Fox in 1979. Those shows were put together from various episodes during the 4 year span, plus the fact that the sketches themselves had to be severely edited for time. I've always thought that those 4 years (1962-66) produced the best of Gleason's variety hours and an abundance of showing off his other characters that had made him famous years before. I know that Paul Brownstein Productions (syndication company and DVD producer, having recently released the complete "Dick Van Dyke" and "lost" Groucho Marx "You Bet Your Life" shows on DVD, among many others) has been for quite some time trying to market ASM to various stations (cable, satellite, etc) but with no luck in doing so. He was kind enough to e-mail me some time back with the very simple explanation that stations don't appear to be interested. Let's hope we can get these shows on DVD real soon......that appears to be the last, and possibly the best solution to the problem!!
     

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