Anyone going to try Make Room for Daddy or Joey Bishop?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Joseph Miller, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. Joseph Miller

    Joseph Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    Is anyone thinking of taking the plunge and being the first to try the new "Make Room for Daddy - Season Five" and/or "The Joey Bishop Show - Season Two" sets from Questar?

    I haven't found a single review of them anywhere on the Internet.

    I'd bravely go where others are fearing to tread, except I have this dread feeling that both of these are destined for the "Archive of Incomplete TV DVDs" thread. I just have a premonition that these might be syndicated prints.
     
  2. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Mine are on the way from Amazon. I got them for $20.99 each, though I noticed that now the price has gone up. These are both blind buys for me, but I decided to give them a shot.
     
  3. Joseph Miller

    Joseph Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    Let us know how they are -- print and sound quality, of course -- but above all if they're cut or not.
     
  4. Paul Miller

    Paul Miller Supporting Actor

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    I got my order a couple of days ago and Make Room For Daddy for $16 (6 DVDs, 34 episodes) from DeepDiscount is by far one of the best bargins of the year.

    The prints look really good too. I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone.

    Paul
     
  5. Randi

    Randi Stunt Coordinator

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    I won't buy The Joey Bishop show since I want Season one and nobody will ever let it see the light of day.- only season one of the 'retooled' version. Bah!


    Miss Randi
     
  6. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    I was actually going to post a review. Here goes:

    The Make Room for Daddy set actually starts with the last episode of season 4 and then goes on to the complete 5th season. This was the first season on CBS when the show became a Top 10 show. It is also the first season with Marjorie Lord as his new wife. And the last season with Sherry Jackson. Also it is the first season of the syndication package. The first 4 seasons have not been syndicated since the mid-60s so many people are not familiar with those episodes.

    The prints look great, the shows have obviously been remastered and yes, they appear to be complete. I say appear to be as no time code appears on the counter nor do they contain chapter stops. I watched one MRFD and one Joey Bishop and the Joey Bishop is complete. One complaint that I have with both sets is that the opening credits appear once, at the beginning before you hit the episode menu and they are not on the individual episodes. I had a long conversation today with Questar and I explained to them that while there are some knuckleheads that prefer this, the majority of collectors want shows in their complete and unedited form and while it may seem redundant to place the credits on every episode, it is better to have them there and the people who don't want to see them can forward past them. Hopefully they will heed my words and not make this mistake on future releases. They are new to this and learning as they go. But unlike the cretins who released Alf cut, this seemed to be more a mistake of trying to make the product better for the consumer rather than just being miserly. That said, it is really great to see MRFD in its original form. This was a show that has never been available complete in the taping era. It is actually the show that ruined Nick at Nite. A little history lesson - when Nick started in the mid 80s, everything they ran was complete and unedited. Route 66, I Spy, Donna Reed, Mr. Ed, Car 54, etc. But then they bought MRFD and the tapes they got from the syndicator were horribly chopped, some episodes coming in at 20:30! And a strange thing happened. Nobody complained about the shows missing 5 minutes of footage. No viewers bitched. No one said a word. So that was the end of them running complete programs. If the people didn't care, why should they. So that was when they began butchering everything down to 22 minutes and so ended the days of complete shows. Anyway, I digress. MRFD is a classic sitcom, one of the funniest shows of all time and a must for fans of great TV. Joey Bishop is a good (not great) show. On a 4 star scale - MRFD ****, Joey *** but give an extra half if you like his humor.

    With regards to first season Joey, he hated the format and he owns half the show. Marlo hated her nose (not the original but pre-Ann Marie) and Thomas Productions owns the other half of the show. Hey, I happened to watch a couple of first season shows recently and found them pretty funny but at least they have what they consider a valid reason for not releasing them. To me, that's a better reason than it won't sell 500,000 copies, which is what the majors use as their excuse.
     
  7. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    If the episodes don't have their credits for each episode, then no sale with me.
     
  8. Joseph Miller

    Joseph Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks to Mark To for the information I've been seeking.

    It is very disappointing that the credits only appear once, and not before each show. (I assume each episode has closing credits, as they should be different for each episode, assuming different guest stars and supporting players?)

    However, I can't be so quick to yell NO SALE, as one poster said above regarding the Joey Bishop series because they skipped the first season, and another poster said regarding the Danny Thomas series because the opening credits only appear at the beginning. If we're so quick to find fault and won't settle for anything less than perfection, we won't be doing much to encourage future releases such as the two under discussion here. I still find it hard to believe that these season sets -- one from 42 and one from 47 years ago -- have actually been released!

    The few of us left who want the series from the Fifties and Sixties released on DVD had better support releases such as these, even if they're not perfect.

    However, we all draw the line somewhere, I guess. I personally feel this way about Season Sets of TV Series:

    Cut prints = No Sale

    Sped up or slowed down = No Sale

    B&W shows colorized = I don't like it, but if that's the only way I can get a series I want badly enough, I'd probably buy it

    Opening credits only at the beginning of the set = Ridiculous and aggravating, but not enough to equal no sale for me

    Skipping seasons, for whatever reason = Again, aggravating, but certainly not a deal killer for me, as I'll take whatever I can get

    Anyway, this unexpected release of two series from long ago which most people have probably forgotten about gives me hope that maybe someday I'll see most, if not all, of my favorite comedy series of my childhood and youth (i.e., the 50s and 60s) in uncut Season Sets. In a world with Danny Thomas and Joey Bishop on DVD, can Dennis the Menace and Hazel be far behind?
     
  9. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Supporting Actor

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    I looked around for these at my local stores, but had no luck. Guess I'll have to go the mail-order route. I hate to hear about the way the openings were handled, although it's not nearly as grave a crime as 'cut' prints (an immediate purchase killer for me).
     
  10. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    It all comes down to ownership. The Thomas library is independently owned and dealt with by a small distributor. The major studios are the problem. While a niche product (and unfortunately 99% of the shows from the 50s and 60s fall into that category now) can sell, it cannot sell enough for major studios to be happy. And unfortunately, Hazel and Dennis are both Columbia owned. So that's why a show like Joey Bishop that might sell several thousand copies will come out but Dennis the Menace, which would sell tens of thousands, will not come out.
     
  11. Joseph Miller

    Joseph Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm sure your explanation is correct. Oddly enough, you'd think it would be the other way around. A small, independent company would need some kind of "start up" costs to enter the DVD market -- they wouldn't have much, if any, advertising -- as you say, sales will be very low.

    You'd think a big company could afford to sell some of these more marginal series. If I remember my economics correctly, the marginal costs would be minimal due to economies of scale.

    Well, obviously, I don't know what I'm talking about. But it sure seems odd that a company can put "The Joey Bishop Show" on the market but Fox pulled the plug on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." (Although they might give that a second chance.)

    Maybe the big companies will sell the rights to small companies for some of these series they don't want to do themselves. I know that's happening with old LP records being put on CD, and it seems to be rather successful.

    OK, I'm going to petition Columbia (do they still call it Screen Gems?) to allow Questar or someone to do Season Sets of Father Knows Best, Dennis the Menace and Hazel. I'm not getting any younger.
     
  12. Randi

    Randi Stunt Coordinator

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    well, I have to pass on the Bishop sets primarily for the reason that I wanted to see a pre-My Favorite Martian Bill Bixby and since he was in the original first season that is hidden away, I have no reason to buy these sets.

    I can understand why they don't want them released but I am content in my choice not to buy what I don't want and season one was all I wanted from that series.


    Miss Randi
     
  13. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    Upon further review, I sadly have to report that the Make Room For Daddys are the cut episodes that were syndicated in the late 80s. These run a ridiculously low 21:30 or so. For a 1957 show, which must have come in between 25:30 and 26:00 originally, there is a lot of content edited out. Unfortunately the decision was made to not incur any additional expense by going back to the negatives or prints.
     
  14. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    Mark, my memory isn't too good on this but wasn't "Make Room For Daddy" a show that tended to have integrated commercial spots within a program during its original broadcasts? Post Cereals as I recall was their big sponsor at the time and if they used the integrated commercial bit in the same way shows like the Jack Benny Program did (which I know is why we'll never see the original versions on DVD but the syndicated cut ones of that show if it ever gets a release) I'm not surprised they would have gone to syndie prints in this instance.
     
  15. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    They did have cast commercials but then so did just about every show on the air pre-1965 that had continuing characters. These were not, however, integrated into the stories but ran in the appropriate spots. They also had regular commercials as well. Regardless, the actual shows themselves would run somewhere between 25:30 and 26:00.
     
  16. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    I just seem to have a recollection of a commercial outtake from Make Room For Daddy on a blooper reel that was continuing the action from the story, so that's why I think it's possible that Danny Thomas programs did their spots in the same way that commercials were an integrated part of the Jack Benny Program.
     
  17. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Supporting Actor

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    Darn. I hate hearing about the cut MRFD prints. I just picked it up the other day, but have yet to open it up. It's such a shame, because it's a rather important series (historically speaking), and also a particularly good one. I also ordered the "Joey Bishop" set, and just started looking at it last night. The running times seem indicate that the episodes are complete, at least (other than that weird approach of having the opening credits separate). It's always fun to watch this series, as it gives the viewer an idea of what "The Dick Van Dyke Show" would have looked like in color. Visually, it's quite appealing. And, Abby Dalton is quite fetching. Although, the series as a whole is somewhat uneven.
     
  18. JasonPW

    JasonPW Stunt Coordinator

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    I have watched each of the Joey Bishop eps and will crack open MRFD this weekend.

    I must say the picture quality on the Joey Bishop set is wildly variant. Most eps have a mediocre, washed-out, red-heavy color..the way I remember seeing reruns of old color shows like "Bewitched" and "Hogan's Heroes" back when affiliates used 16mm film prints instead of videotape copies. There are a couple of eps that are slightly worse, and a couple that have striking, bold, crisp, as-if-digitally-remastered color and image quality. I wrote Questar about it--out of pure curiosity--and their response:

    In terms of the quality from episode to episode, speaking with our editor here, it really all depends upon the original quality of the master reals,
    where they were stored, were some of the negatives more purple due to age,
    etc. etc. Those kinds of mitigating factors are really what influences the
    outcome of the final product in the end. It is not that we decided to
    transform some episodes into better quality shows and not others.


    I think it's more complex than that...perhaps the better-looking episodes had been cleaned up for use in a clip show or TV Land or something.

    Anyway, as far as edits in the Danny Thomas set go, I can't believe I'm about to say what I'm about to say. But I'm gonna say it.

    In an era when "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" qualifies as a Nick at Nite show, and even my beloved TV Land is avoiding older B&W series, I'll take "Make Room for Daddy" any way I can get it, cuts or no cuts. See, I discovered this show in its hacked-up form on Nick at Nite and really enjoyed it.

    Am I gonna hem and haw about each episode missing minutes? Nope. Would I do so if they started putting out syndication edits of "The Simpsons?" Absolutely.

    If you're asking me to shell out 35 bucks for 22 episodes of a show that's on 7 times a day 7 days a week, with no foreseeable end to its syndication, they'd darn well better be complete, digitally remastered shows.

    If you're asking me to pay 20 bucks for 30 episodes of a show that currently airs zilch times a day and, let's face it, will likely never be screened on a regular basis again, I'll say thanks for the opportunity, here's your 20 bucks, and call me when "Patty Duke" and "Car 54" are ready.

    Doc
     
  19. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    I have watched the 1st two disks of Make Room For Daddy. Its really great to see this show again however I wish the quality was better. I agree with Mark's review that the 1st episode(last season 4 episode) is great quality and looks remastered on a par with Munsters/I Love Lucy sets. But as soon as season 5 start its bargain bin, public domain, VHS quality. The prints are extemely washed out with poor contrast and detail and noisy, artificial stereo mixed audio. They are fairly nick free but they look to be made from 16mm masters. Which makes me wonder what happened? Why does the single season 4 episode look great while season 5 looks mediocre at best. The price was cheap and its still worth it just to have this show but I hope they spend some money on better masters for season 6. I would gladly pay an extra 10 dollars for it.
     
  20. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I haven't really ever seen these shows, but was contemplating giving them a shot. But without being uncut, there's no way in hell I'd touch em. [​IMG]
     

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