Could The Defenders Be Released on DVD?

Ian K McLachlan

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Ian Kenneth McLachlan
With the success of the Perry Mason DVDs does anyone think that this early 60s series - that I have good memories of - could be released on DVD? I believe that not that long ago they did some telemovies of it with EG Marshall in them. Weren't they rather contraversial though....?
 
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Bob Hug

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Ian K McLachlan said:
With the success of the Perry Mason DVDs does anyone think that this early 60s series - that I have good memories of - could be released on DVD?
I do think that there is some possibility that "The Defenders" could make it to DVD simply because it was a co-production of CBS Television (along with Plautus Productions). Programs owned by CBS Television (including Perry Mason) have been released on DVD by CBS/Paramount which, among the major studios, has the best track record for releasing black & white shows. If it were any of the other major studios, I'd say forget it. I still think that it's a long shot, but there's always the chance.
Incidentally, the two-part live "Studio One" teleplay titled "The Defender," upon which "The Defenders" was based is available from the Canadian company VSC; Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Studio-One-Def...6124290&sr=1-1
 

Jeff#

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The Defenders isn't too controversial, and those stories that went that route (abortion, euthanasia, race relations, etc) are among the more interesting I would think. One wonders why the Emmy-winning series was kept out of syndication for so many years. I could never find The Defenders on TV anywhere.
I can't stand Perry Mason because I don't like Raymond Burr, but E.G. Marshall was a terrific actor. For 8 years in the 1970s and early 80s he was the original host of The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, and he only acted in the show twice (playing Scrooge in their version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol in one of them).
A couple of months ago I found some complete episodes on a website chock full of rare TV shows. They're 16 mm film prints and the only three of The Defenders I could find, but they're watchable....or at least they were. GUBA.com removed them due to copyright violation.
 

michael_ks

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I've had this show on my want list for some time. Reginald Rose of "Twelve Angry Men" fame wrote the Studio One episode "The Defender" and 4 years later in 1961 he adapted the original teleplay into a series concept. Writer of 13 episodes, Rose was largely responsible for the two Emmys the show won for outstanding achievement in writing in the 1961 and 1962 seasons. Rose was to "The Defenders" as Serling was to "Twilight Zone", an exceptionally talented writer who wrote probing and incisive social commentary into their scripts.

Many talented directors worked on "The Defenders" including Leonard Horn, Franklin Schaffner, John Brahm and Buzz Kulik. John Newland of "One Step Beyond" even directed one. Some of my favorite actors make multiple appearances in the series, including J.D. Cannon as a DA, Frank Overton (of "Twelve O' Clock High" and 'Elias Sandoval' in ST's "This Side of Paradise"), and William Shatner as an assistant DA. Shatner was a very capable actor in his more humble days and I always enjoyed his performances in the sci-fi series OL and TZ. Other actors who made several guest appearances include Martin Sheen, Arthur Hill, Gene Hackman, Martin Balsam and Robert Duvall.

I don't know why "The Defenders" has remained hidden so long when "Perry Mason" was so omnipresent in syndication. This series really has not received enough credit for being the groundbreaking series it was. Had Rose's friend Serling not been so heavily involved with TZ at the time, he almost certainly would have written for this series--the themes presented were right up his alley.
 

Bert Greene

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I think I recall reading something to the effect that high residual payments for guest-stars rendered syndication fees for "The Defenders" (and perhaps "The Nurses" as well) too high, so they never circulated much in reruns. Don't know how true that is, or not. Anyway, I've never actually seen a "Defenders" episode, but I'd be quite interested in a dvd-set. I've always had some mild qualms that the series might have veered into preachy territory (which I loathe) with some of the controversial subject matter, but having never sampled the shows, I really don't know... just something I sensed from old articles. Whatever the case, I'm sure the top-notch guest-stars alone would make it very much worth seeing.
 

tomfarr

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I just saw "Son of the Defender" on season 3 of Boston Legal. I was pulled right in!
I have already ordered a copy of the 1957 The Defender, on Amazon.
And I found the complete 5 seasons of The Defenders on this website:
[Link deleted by moderator; we do not allow links to bootleg sites.]
I realize it has been 2 1/2 years, but maybe someone is still watching?
I found this forum in my Google search for "the defender" after watching the credits from the aforementioned Boston Legal.
 

Charles Ellis

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This reminds me that another CBS-produced drama of the time has yet to see the light of day on DVD: The Nurses, starring Shirl Conway and Zina Bethune. It was a female version of The Defenders, but set in a hospital with head nurse Liz Thorpe and her young student nurse Gail Lucas. And like The Defenders, it handled controversial issues of the day but from a medical standpoint. And yes, Herb Brodkin produced this show, too!
 

lrachiele

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This was the best dramatic and socially conscious show ever. There must be a demand for it because scammers such as TV Addicts are claiming falsely that they have the series. People just lose their money. It is a shame the whole series is not on DVD but I hope somebody makes it happen. There are 35 shows available from Dr. Ron Evans. [email protected] He has 35 stories of which 33 are good. Of the remaining 99 stories are but three are excellent. Most of the old TV series on DVD I would not want to watch the first time. If enough people petition CBS and whoever owns the rights, release could happen
 

tomcon1

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It is highly unlikely that CBS will release a DVD of any original 1960's episodes of The Defenders. These would show how utterly inane their new 2010 melodrama is. Has anybody seen the pilot of that trash? Within a minute it showed it had nothing to do with the original. By five minutes you knew that this was not going to get any better. It was worth watching through an hour only to verify that the new show is not worth watching ever again. Its foreseen failure will further convince CBS never to DVD the original.
 

Ian K McLachlan

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How well is the new TV series of The Defenders doing - and is there still little chance of the original being released on DVD? Thanks.
 

Matt Hough

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Originally Posted by Ian K McLachlan
How well is the new TV series of The Defenders doing - and is there still little chance of the original being released on DVD? Thanks.
It has not broken any ratings records but has done OK. CBS is moving the Tom Selleck Blue Bloods show into that time slot for a few weeks to see if it garners higher ratings than The Defenders and also because NBC has moved SVU into that slot which will likely take some of the CBS audience away as well. I would be very surprised if The Defenders gets a second season.
 

jdee28

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It's too bad CBS won't license the original Defenders out to someone. But then, who knows if anyone was interested in licensing it. Maybe if CBS ever launch an online archive, they will make the show available.
 

Elena S

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I like the new Defenders, but it seems to have little to nothing to do with the original. Anyone tuning in with that expectation would have been disappointed. On its own, however, the show is good. Belushi and O'Connell have great buddy chemistry and I like their characters.
 

jim_falconer

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It's been over a year since anyone has talked about trying to get this show released on DVD. What a crime to keep such an amazing show as The Defenders locked away in mothballs. My gosh, with all the garbage that being dished out each week on DVD, what a monumental milestone this release would make. Does anyone know if Shout! or Timeless has looked into licensing it for release?
 

Ian K McLachlan

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Ian Kenneth McLachlan
I totally agree. I remember watching The Defenders at the time and I would very much like to see it again. The new Defenders series was released on DVD but it seems hard to locate a copy of it. Does anyone know why? Thanks.
 

Neil Brock

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It's been over a year since anyone has talked about trying to get this show released on DVD. What a crime to keep such an amazing show as The Defenders locked away in mothballs. My gosh, with all the garbage that being dished out each week on DVD, what a monumental milestone this release would make. Does anyone know if Shout! or Timeless has looked into licensing it for release?
It has been looked into but there was not a positive outcome.
 

jperez

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From what I've seen, private dealers have been trading or selling up to 32 episodes of The Defenders in very bad quality. I would think that any bootleg site offering the full series is seriously dangerous.
 

Frank Soyke

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When I was trading tapes in the early 90's, I found out that that there are many more than 35 circulating out there. I cant vouch for quality but I know 35 eps is low. There were a lot of private collectors out there at the time who had huge 16mm collections of shows that used to sell them in a mag called The Big Reel. I think most of those collectors have gone underground by now due to fear of prosecution and I don't think that mag is still in publication, but you would be amazed at how many eps. of rare series were circulating at that time.
 

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