Can Anyone Recommend a Good "Jack Benny" release?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by JasonPW, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. JasonPW

    JasonPW Stunt Coordinator

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    A little background....some episodes of "The Jack Benny Program" were shot on film and others were done live...at some point late in the run they went all-film, exactly when I'm not sure.

    The filmed episodes were later syndicated to local stations by Universal, who also put out a nice set of 4 VHS tapes over a decade ago. So I have to assume (guess, really) that Universal still controls the rights to those. The live episodes...who knows? My best guess is that they are controlled by the Benny estate.

    Complete season sets, then, would be quite a trick...sadly, I just don't think it'll happen. In fact, if Universal does control some episodes I doubt they have any plans for them......so, I've resigned myself to buying a PD collection. Problem is, there are tons of them out there. Can anyone recommend a good one...with lots of episodes, passable picture quality, and perhaps including any Benny specials that are PD? (I know at least one Benny special is PD...the one with Walt Disney, Bob Hope, Elke Sommer and the Beach Boys.)
     
  2. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    I'm facing the same problem myself because I'm finding to my distress that a lot of the PD releases of live Benny shows are cutting out the integrated Lucky Strike commercials whereas they were always left intact on the PD VHS releases. I won't even take a chance on them any longer until I know for certain that the commercials are intact.
     
  3. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    This 3-Tape VHS Jack Benny set........
    [​IMG]
    ....... is one of my faves. I'm not sure if any of the currently-available low-cost PD DVDs contain any of the 6 very good Benny shows on these three VHS tapes, but it's certainly possible.
    This VHS set has the 1953 "Humphrey Bogart" episode, with the integrated Lucky Strike ads. Very funny Bogey Show.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/cus...g=UTF8&s=video
     
  4. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  5. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    The live shows are public domain. They were never copyrighted because no one thought they would ever be seen again so there was no reason to copyright them. Universal sells a syndication package of 104 episodes but I believe the total number of filmed shows is 149 of the 300+ produced. As with almost all shows from that era, the studio shows no interest in marketing the show, either to stations or the home market.
     
  6. JasonPW

    JasonPW Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info, all.

    FWIW, I see that Paul Brownstein controls the Benny specials...I know variety TV is a clearance nightmare, but they've already done a very nice Sonny and Cher boxset, and that was loaded with music and guest stars. So maybe we'll see some of those come out in a box set.

    And I'm not ready to entirely count out Universal yet....they shocked (and delighted) me with their announcement of Dragnet '67, a property that is not exactly red-hot.
     
  7. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    I bought a 24 episode set from Platimum at Best Buy for $20 that I was fairly pleased with. It's a mix of kinescopes and filmed shows, and the live commercials are there.

    I too, would love to see a proper release of some of the best filmed shows.
     
  8. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    I bought one of the dollar dvds of a couple episodes. Good picture quality and it had the commercials.

    Have to question the legality though, as it was the Beach Boys episode. They sang a few songs. Aren't there any music rights to worry about there?

    I have another, 2 DVD set with a few more episodes that I haven't watched yet.
     
  9. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    I think with the Beach Boys one it could depend on the elements. The one we have seen circulated for years on PD videos is a B/W kinescope of a program that originally aired in color. I can confirm that the original color videotape of this program still exists in NBC's vault at least because clips of it were shown in a 1981 retrospective on Benny's life (using all of the 1965-74 NBC specials) so in that case if we wanted to see the way it originally looked in NBC color, we'd have to see the problem of rights matters I suppose.
     
  10. LaurenceGarvey

    LaurenceGarvey Second Unit

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    The color footage of the Beach Boys on that special also appears in the film THE BEACH BOYS: AN AMERICAN BAND. As I recall, the entire BB appearance, including Jack and Bob Hope as beach bums, is included.

    I have all the Alpha Jack Benny DVDs, and like 'em all. The Lucky Strike commercials are there, and are sometimes better than much of the "real" material (ya gotta see Rochester and Don Wilson jitterbugging to "The Lucky Side of the Street").
     
  11. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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  12. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    The one to avoid then is Madacy which edits all the live commercials.
     
  13. David Rain

    David Rain Screenwriter

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    Since it's been a long time and more releases have come out, I thought I would revive this thread.
    Does anyone have suggestions as to which of the current Benny DVD's are the best ? Good picture quality, selection of eps, no edits, etc?
    Also, I'm sure everyone knows by now that Antenna TV is airing this show. Does anyone know which "era" of the show they are using ?
     
  14. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    I'm happy with the 39 ep Millcreek one which includes some other appearances. Ads are in most if not all of them. I love Antenna, I know they showed the one with Marlyn Monroe and I know they showed the one with Peter Paul and Mary so they had an ep from 1953 and they had an ep from 1964. Seems a large a range of them though I don't have the channel anymore due to a stupid hill by my current apartment.
     
  15. Mike*HTF

    Mike*HTF Supporting Actor

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    Another voice for the Mill Creek version (although mine says 40 eps). It includes a fair amount of the original commericals, acceptable picture quality, and other appearances.
     
  16. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    40? ah I thought mine said 39, maybe they added one to the rerelease or that 39 gag has changed my memory. There are also 5 Benny appearances on their 35 episode Carson collection.
     
  17. rmw650

    rmw650 Screenwriter

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    Either go with the one that has 39 episodes on it or there is a new one forthcoming by Shout which are the lost episodes...some links...http://www.amazon.com/Best-Jack-Benny/dp/B000UVV260/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1346716066&sr=1-1&keywords=jack+benny+40 OR http://www.moviesunlimited.com/musite/product.asp?sku=D45199
     
  18. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    Antenna is showing the same 104 episode syndication package which has been run for the last few decades. The episodes appear to be fairly complete, minus the commercials of course.
     
  19. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    get both of these, the Lost episodes will not be the ones on the 39 episode set.
     
  20. David Rain

    David Rain Screenwriter

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    Is Antenna TV airing certain full seasons ? Or are they a random assortment from the entire run of the series ? If there have always been 104 eps in the syndie package does that mean all of the other eps from the show's history are PD?
     

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