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Blondie: The Popular, But Still Unreleased 1938-1950 Columbia Comedy Feature Series!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Tony Bensley, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    A Few Fast Facts About Columbia's BLONDIE Series:
    - Enormously Popular Series of Comedy Features (28 in all!), that ran from 1938 to 1950. This was based on the Comic Strip of the same name that was created by Chic Young in 1930.
    - Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake starred as Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead, respectively.
    - The entire Series was produced by Columbia Pictures.
    - As with other popular Series of the day, BLONDIE's enormous Cinematic popularity spawned a long running Radio Series (1939-1950.), in which Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake reprised their respective Blondie & Dagwood characters. Interestingly, after Penny Singleton left the Radio Series in the mid 1940's, she was replaced by Arthur Lake's real life wife, Patricia Lake. Penny did continue as Blondie onscreen, however!
    - As of November 2014, this much beloved, funny family friendly series has yet to see any legitimate home video release! Now, there's NOTHING funny about that!

    From The Long Running BLONDIE Radio Program (1944):
    Penny_Singleton_Arthur_Lake_Blondie_1944.JPG

    For the past several years, I've been aware of this enormously popular series' lack of legitimate home video release. A bit of quick research elsewhere on the HTF revealed the possibility of this being due to rights issues. The following is a quoted passage, though due to the way that is was posted, I do not know who the originator of this is:

    "Blondie would have difficulty with the rights. Though the films were produced by Columbia, King Features controls the rights to the characters. Not sure if King Features owns the rights to the films. They may, as I remember at one time the films were shown on TV Sunday mornings missing the original Columbia opening titles. Or it could be a situation like Popeye or Batman where one company owns the films but another company owns the characters."

    This is one series that I would most wholeheartedly support in any sort of legitimate DVD/Blu-Ray issue. The time for it's legitimate release is most certainly long overdue! If Warner and Fox was able to sort out their differences, as they did in finally releasing the decades long awaited 1966-68 BATMAN Television series, then surely, Columbia (Or rather, Sony!) and King Features could work out terms in rescuing BLONDIE from the dreary clutches of illegitimate DVD knockoff land! Based on Sony's stellar work with their Three Stooges DVD sets, this long running delightful series that starred Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton (Who were to Blondie & Dagwood what Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce were to Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson!), in my opinion, has the potential of being yet another comedy jewel in their Crown!

    Anthony Bensley
     
  2. revgen

    revgen Screenwriter

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    Add Columbia's Boston Blackie series to the list too.
     
  3. borisfw

    borisfw Screenwriter

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    When AMC were still playing classic films ,without interuption , Blondie was one of the Columbia series they played . I have them all recorded from back then . I haven't watched them in awhile but I seem to remember they all had the Columbia logo at the beginning .
    I'll have to check to be sure .

    I would love to have this series on DVD .
     
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  4. ScottHM

    ScottHM Supporting Actor

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    But at the bottom please.

    ---------------
     
  5. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    There was a budget release some years ago of 10 Blondie features. These were the tv versions of memory serves with the replacement openings.Columbia had some terrific series that I had hoped would be released as sets. The Whistler, Crime Doctor and Boston Blackie were the ones I thought would do best, Sadly the window of opportunity has likely closed on this happening.Great thread, Tony!
     
  6. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Steve!

    Thank you very much for your kind feedback!

    Insofar as the window having likely closed for the aforementioned Columbia series, I respectfully disagree. One thing that I have learned is to never say never. The Bowery Boys; The 1966-68 Batman Series; and the Laurel & Hardy Hal Roach Sound Film Library are but a few North American based DVD sets (And Blu-Ray for the BATMAN Set!) that many had thought would never see light of day, in terms of legitimate home video release!

    Getting back to the Columbia BLONDIE Series: Aside from the potential rights ownership quagmire, the other important question that needs to be answered is whether Columbia even has decent prints of the 28 BLONDIE titles in their storage vault, or if the subpar TV issued prints are all that is available? Just based on borisfw's previous post, I tend to lean towards the likelihood that at least some decent prints exist!

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony

    P.S. A message to all HTF Members: Any information relating to the third paragraph of this post would be greatly appreciated by the creator of this thread!
     
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  7. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned
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    It's also been suggested that "The Jetsons" was really "Blondie in the future", with, of course, Penny Singleton voicing Jane-his-wife.
     
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  8. williampl7@aol.com

    [email protected] Stunt Coordinator

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    I just received this response from Michael Schlesinger; “Columbia no longer owns the films; rights reverted, IIRC, in the late 60s. It's possible they still have the elements if KF didn't ask for them to be returned.”
     
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  9. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi William!

    Your detective work is greatly appreciated!

    It would appear that the best hope for the BLONDIE series ever seeing light of day rests on two factors:

    1. Does Columbia indeed, still have the original film elements for all 28 BLONDIE Films?
    - Based on feedback that I've received regarding the subpar/mistreated state of the BLONDIE TV prints, the answer to this question appears to be especially crucial!

    And If the answer to #1 is yes...

    2. Can Columbia and King Features Syndicate come to terms, insofar as issuing the BLONDIE series to DVD and/or Blu-Ray?
    - it seems to me that the King Features/Warner arrangement for the POPEYE cartoon set might prove a good model for Columbia in this instance!

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony
     
  10. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    I worked for AMC shortly after they acquired the complete package. Columbia did not provide any elements.

    As far as I can recall, the body of the films were fine and good 35mm material existed on every one. The main and end titles were physically removed from the 35mm master material but King still had the original elements. They were 35mm nitrate and AMC transferred them and edited them back onto the features on the video masters.

    Now this is nearly 20 years ago so a lot can happen to film elements - especially nitrate - in that amount of time. Let's hope something is done with them sooner than later.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    Tony - thanks for starting this thread. I really enjoy this series and they are very funny. I hope this comes to the attention of the people that control the series. Cheers!
     
  12. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    Don't forget Jungle Jim.
     
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  13. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Allen!

    Thank you very much for your kind feedback! It is also my hope that this may attract the attention of the powers that be, regarding the BLONDIE series!

    CHEERS!

    Tony
     
  14. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer

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    I have fond childhood memories of watching these on Saturday mornings with my family. It would be great to have them available on disc.
     
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  15. Brian McP

    Brian McP Second Unit

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    Great performances, great performers -- one could make a movie about the lives of Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton themselves.

    And yes, like the Bowery Boys and Andy Hardy, these movies must come out in some kind of collective boxset -- for dvd companies, this would be the perfect collection for the dedicated fan (who seem to be the only ones buying dvds these days)

    This would be ideal for the Sony Archive dvd-r people and would do very well out of it -- I only hope this rights matter isn't as complicated as it was for the "Batman" tv series, currrently spinning away in all its bluray glory at my place.
     
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  16. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Don't look to Sony. Columbia hasn't had rights on these for decades.
     
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  17. borisfw

    borisfw Screenwriter

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    Just to clarify my earlier post about the Blondie movies that I recorded off AMC years ago .

    The Following titles had the original Columbia titles at beginning of the movie :

    Blondie,Footlight Glamour,B for Victory,It's a Great Life,B has servant trouble,B in society,B knows Best,B meets the Boss,B Plays Cupid,Life with B,B's Anniversay,B's Blessed Event,B's Holiday,B's Lucky Day,B's reward,B's Secret,B takes a Vacation,Beware of B.

    The following titles have the Columbia logo to start . Some then go into the original Blondie movie credits and add a title card at the end of the credits . others go to comical music with a mailman and then go to a title card .

    B big dael,Brings up Baby,B Goes latin,B goes to college,B hits the Jackpot,B in the dough,B on a budget,Leave it to b,B's Big Moment .
     
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  18. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Boris!

    So, if I've counted these correctly, you have 27 out of the 28 BLONDIE Films?

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony
     
  19. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Isn't it still tied up by King Features Syndicate, much like how the Popeye cartoons were until recently?
     
  20. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    Just how bad is the Echo Bridge collection of 10 movies? It's very inexpensive and could serve as a poor man's sampler for the time being, but is it even watchable? I just want to see some of these again!
     

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