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DuMont network shows -- any hope?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by shoeshineboy, Dec 16, 2019.

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  1. shoeshineboy

    shoeshineboy Second Unit

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    I know that although it was documented that the DuMont Network had nearly all its kineoscopes dumped into New York Bay in the 1970s, we have seen a few pop up on DVD -- like the Kovacs Show and some episodes of Captain Video, for example -- but is there any hope of others seeing some release? I'm thinking of the Colonel Humphrey Flack starring Alan Mowbray. I've read some terrific things about it, and seen a couple of episodes posted on youtube. I guess the question is, if a number of these kinos survived, (for any DuMont program) what would the interest be? Any particular show strike your fancy? Anyone have any recollections of this old network? What sez you?
     
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  2. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    To the best of my knowledge, no Dumont shows were filmed and became popular in syndication. Which would leave the live shows, which likely weren't very good. Then you have the two other problems, one of which is that 99% of them don't exist as they were discarded. Finally, even if by some miracle a trove of them could be found, how much of a market would there be for 60+ year old shows that haven't been seen since the 50s?
     
  3. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    Probably wouldn't be much of one, especially since today's young people (many of them, but not all) want what's on now, and don't much care for the 50s.
     
  4. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Considering the fact that there are still many extremely popular 50s shows which have never seen release, such as Burns and Allen, December Bride, Life of Riley, People's Choice, I Led 3 Lives, Rin Tin Tin,etc., no Dumont shows come even close to that level of popularity or familiarity.
     
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  5. Ron1973

    Ron1973 Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire

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    I think the best you could hope for IF anything "new" was found would be to have a sort of "best of" compilation. I'm well assured that anything from Dumont would have to be public domain by now. No one is going to take the time, effort, or money to restore them.
     
  6. timk1041

    timk1041 Stunt Coordinator

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    Many of them don't know what they're missing. Sad.
     
  7. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    But that’s always been the way of things - each generation is always most interested in the art, entertainment and culture of their time. There are always a few things from each era that become evergreens, and there are always a few people who are interested in art and entertainment from a variety of eras, but for most people, all of this is a pastime and a way to share something with peers.

    That said, obviously I’d be interested, but I’m one of those select few that’s the exception to the rule here.
     
  8. Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    Just thought I'd mention Archive.org again. There is some Dumont footage there. Like so many of these early TV shows - between being pd and the current desire for shows "in the moment" I doubt that there is enough interest to make them viable.

    I would be very nice if someone did a special on Dumont with the history and perhaps some existing clips.
     
  9. Sky King

    Sky King Second Unit

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    I always thought it would be interesting to dive down to the spot where they were dumped if known, to see if any canisters survived intact after all these years.
     
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  10. Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    The dumped in the Bay story came from Edie Adams and there are others that doubt it so I wouldn't go looking. I suspect many were burned and the silver retrieved.
     
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  11. obscurelabel

    obscurelabel Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the case of "Colonel Humphrey Flack" is unique. It ran live on DuMont in the 1953-1954 season, then was revived as a filmed series by Desilu for syndication in 1958-1959. Wikipedia says that between 12 and 14 of the 39 live episodes are known to exist on kinescope. There are a couple of these on YouTube and they're quite entertaining, due almost entirely the the old-pro charm of star Alan Mowbray. (One of these episodes features a Mowbray coughing fit and several actors losing their place as a result, entertaining in itself). Since the later series was from Desilu and filmed, I would guess that CBS has all the materials on it, and I would really like to see these shows some day. The 39 filmed shows used the same scripts as the original live series and the two stars reprised their roles so this would be possibly a unique chance to experience something like the original live episodes.
     
  12. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Many of us have heard that story but a couple of things about it seem fishy, pardon the pun. Firstly, I kind of question the fact that 15 or so years after the demise of the network that a warehouse full of Dumont shows would still be existent. Possible, but questionable. Secondly, the story also continues that it had something to do with ABC and another entity as to who was legally responsible for the material and that a lawyer had 3 trailers load up the films in the middle of the night and then take them out to dump in the east river. Sounds a bit far fetched if you ask me.
     
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  13. Message #13 of 15 Dec 27, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
    DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    Technically, the successor in rights to DuMont would have been Metromedia. So the ABC or Any other party part is clearly fishy.

    But the possibility of a storage facility of DuMont or WABD/WNYW still holding material (perhaps not as much as having been claimed) and being found to be a waste of Metromedia's funds and the contents discarded - not necessarily dumped into the East River - could be possible.

    The only hole in the whole story is simply the fact the Museum of Television & Radio (MT&R) had already been established by the time this disposal was to have taken place and a donation of material by Metromedia/WNYW would have been a nice tax write-off.
     
  14. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Not true at all. MTR opened in 1976 and the disposal was supposed to have taken place around 1971. So really there wasn't any viable entity around to deposit the material, and that's giving MTR the benefit of the doubt by calling it viable, which it really isn't. UCLA did not ramp up its television archives until the late-70s, early 80s, likewise Library of Congress. Not really sure as to when University of Wisconsin began to take its collecting seriously. But, yes, Metromedia would have been a more likely holder of the material and then judging what they did with the properties which were their own, such as Winchell-Mahoney Time, etc., the story begins to sound a lot more realistic.
     
  15. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    The version I heard/read was the disposal was c.1978, Not c.1971 - so clearly there are different versions of this tale going around. Thus my thought of MTR. Makes one wonder how many different versions and interpretations of this story is going around.

    ...and what they did to the "Winchell-Mahoney Time" shows is just a shame.
     

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