I Married Joan, Burns & Allen and other "lost" sitcoms

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by David Rain, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. David Rain

    David Rain Screenwriter

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    I can remember in the early 80's that CBN (later Family Channel, Fox Family and now ABC Family) would air entire late night lineups of great old (and now sometimes forgotten) sitcoms. Among them I Married Joan, Love That Bob, You Bet Your Life, Burns & Allen, My Little Margie, etc. Eventually the network stopped airing them and most were not seen again.

    I recently stumbled across 2 collections of PD episodes of I Married Joan starring Joan Davis & Jim Backus (of Gilligan's Island). Also available are PD sets of Burns & Allen, My Little Margie. I'd like to encourage anyone who remembers these shows or would like to see more classic sitcoms given a second life on DVD to help get these released officially.

    For example, only a few of the B&A episodes seem to surface anymore. Usually on PBS in bad quality or in countless PD releases - but always the same ones. I had wondered if this show had been lost in the last 20 years or so but I was told by a B&A fan club president that most if not all of the original episodes still exist. But I have heard nothing of an offical release for it.

    I don't know how to post graphics here or I would post a box cover art for one of the IMJ releases to see if it jogs anyone's memory of the show. There are a lot shows like this that deserve to be preserved.
     
  2. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Right now, VCI Entertainment has the largest collections available of both "I Married Joan" and "My Little Margie." There are two collections for each of these series and each collection contains 24 episodes. I assume that these are the sets to which you are referring.
     
  3. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    All I want is The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which I have a faint hope for, and Amos 'n Andy, the second funniest TV show ever, just behind The Honeymooners, for which I have no hope although there are sets floating around Ebay. I'm pretty certain they're not authorized. Normally I wouldn't consider unauthorized stuff, but I'm on the edge on this one.
     
  4. Garysb

    Garysb Screenwriter

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    I believe the first season of Burns and Allen aired live and it was on every other week. It is the kinescopes of these shows that are shown on PBS and PD DVDs.
    The filmed shows syndicated by Sony are still protected by copyright. I am not sure if Sony has the rights for DVD or if still owned by Burns estate.
     
  5. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Some of the filmed "Burns and Allen" shows do appear on various PD collections, but as you state mostly the ones that are in these sets are the earlier live shows. Too bad, as they weren't nearly as good as the filmed shows shot from 1952-57.

    I'd love to see the filmed seasons on DVD; this is one of the funniest sitcoms ever made. I fell in love with it via those old CBN re-runs too.
     
  6. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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  7. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

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    You Bet Your Life crops up on the Game Show Network on occasion.
     
  8. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Second Unit

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    Add me to the list of folks who miss the old CBN network, and its line-up of vintage shows. It always exasperates me a bit to think back to that time in the 80s, when there was such a nice supply of oldies to view (thanks to CBN and others), and contrast it to the situation nowadays, in which the number of channels has multiplied tenfold, yet that supply of vintage-tv has dwindled to nothingness.

    Offhand, I recall CBN airing My Little Margie, Burns and Allen, Bachelor Father, Jack Benny, Life of Riley, The Farmer's Daughter, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Ben Casey, Love That Bob, Wagon Train, Laredo, The Bill Dana Show, The Iron Horse, I Married Joan, Patty Duke, Empire, The Monroes, Man from UNCLE, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Gentle Ben, Best of Groucho, Branded, I Spy, Here Come the Brides, Bat Masterson, Broken Arrow, Dobie Gillis, Stoney Burke, Daktari, Sky King, The Rifleman, Laramie... Whew, and probably quite a few more. Those are just off the top of my head.
     
  9. David Rain

    David Rain Screenwriter

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    Yes, it's amazing. There are more than enough channels that most old shows could be airing in reruns but aren't. And the ones that are on are airing constantly. TV Land is at least trying to provide an oasis for the weary viewer. Although most of their programming choices are a bit predictable.
     
  10. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    I would fork over cash INSTANTLY for official season box sets of The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis. That's my most wanted classic TV show right now. I could also go for The Bob Cummings Show/Love That Bob, Burns & Allen, and The Jack Benny Show. Re: You Bet Your Life, at least there's a chunk of those shows officially released on DVD.
     
  11. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    Fifties sitcoms that are begging for release:

    Burns and Allen
    Jack Benny
    Phil Silvers Show
    Dobie Gillis
    Love That Bob
    People's Choice
    Our Miss Brooks
    December Bride
    Amos and Andy (agree with above poster, one of funniest shows, ever!)
    Bachelor Father
    Ozzie and Harriet
    Father Knows Best
    Donna Reed Show
    Dennis the Menace
    And how about a GOOD release for Make Room for Daddy
     
  12. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    Guess they're not begging hard enough.
     
  13. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    One thing working against these great shows is lack of exposure. I have very fond memories of watching Benny, B&A, Margie et al on the old CBN network. However that's been over 15 years ago, and I haven't seen these shows on TV since. Even the stuff that was on the original Nick @ Nite (My 3 Sons, Donna Reed) has also disappeared.

    I'm one of these people who thinks there should be a premium network geared toward showing these programs, uncut and with minimal commercial interruption.

    To take B&A for example, a lot of people who think of Burns as the gnome like old man who fawned over Brooke Shields would be pleasantly surprised at how innovative his show was (breaking the 4th wall, etc.) They would also find out why he always maintained Gracie was the funny one.

    Steve
     
  14. docdoowop

    docdoowop Second Unit

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    I'm just amazed there's never been a legitimate release of "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet", especially given Rick Nelson's fan base. This show was such a thoroughbred! At one time it reigned as longest-running sitcom of some 14 years. I'll pay whatever they ask for a studio-authorized set of O&H.
     
  15. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    The show had copyright issues (as in, none) and therefore the market has been poisoned by P.D. releases that are all over Crapmart and other such places. There are too many cheapskates out there who would rather buy a garbage release for a cheap price to make a legitimate release viable. Very depressing but nothing can be done about it.
     
  16. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    Why are releases featuring the early episodes of the series (when the kids were young and Thorny was their neighbor) so hard to find? It seems like most of the DVD's out there feature the later episodes.
     

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