I need to have a question about the possibility of "Muppet Babies" on DVD answered...

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by John Kilduff, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    I'm a very semi-frequent poster to Muppet Central's forums, and in a section devoted to Muppet Babies, there's been a thread about wanting "Muppet Babies" on DVD. I posted in it saying that it would be a near-impossibility due to clearance issues regarding the various TV and movie clips.

    One person called me a "Machiavelli" for suggesting the impossibility of "Muppet Babies" on DVD. Another said that since Disney got the rights to "Muppet Babies" when they purchased Henson, they also got the rights to the clips that were used in the episodes throughout the show's run.

    My question is: Who's right when it comes to the idea of "Muppet Babies" on DVD...Me or them?

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    I hope I'm right.
     
  2. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    Why? Wouldn't you want it to be easy for them to get these discs on the market?
     
  3. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    But there are some on DVD, they come with stuffed dolls. I would prefer season sets though but moreso The Muppet Show which should be more likely.
     
  4. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    Let me make this a little clearer...

    I want "Muppet Babies" on DVD in season sets, but I'm pretty realistic about the chances of that coming true.

    So am I correct in being realistic? That's the question I should probably be asking.

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    Does that come across a litle clearer?
     
  5. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    If they were able to work out the rights for the individual episodes with the dolls, why couldn't they do it with season sets. (The "Baby Gonzo's Video Show" episode that came with the Gonzo toy used a bunch of clips from "Star Wars".)
     
  6. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    Well, it all depends on how the dolls sold...

    On top of that, Disney can be very stingy with their DVD product, and that goes especially for their animated TV shows. If we can only get their current hits like "Kim Possible" in best-ofs and we can't even get most of the Disney Afternoon shows yet, why would Disney even bother with season sets of this show? And once again, the clips...How many of us know if the rights lapsed for any of them?

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    When I think realistically, I'm told to have hope...When I think hopefully, I'm told to be realistic.
     
  7. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    "Dream On" is a television show that also had clips from other shows incorporated throughout the episodes. Universal was able to release "Dream On" intact because they owned every clip that was used in the various episodes; John Landis mentions in his introduction about how the ability to use that library of Universal clips was part of the origin of the series.

    Muppet Babies was not a show I was able to watch a lot of, due to timing issues mostly. So I don't know if all the clips would be owned by the original folks who put out the show, but even if that were the case then there is no certainty that the rights to those clips transferred to Disney along with the rights to the Muppets themselves.

    From what I recall, it is much safer to assume that the clips did not come from the same rightsholders as those who put out the show, so the sale to Disney probably has no bearing on the situation in any case.

    Assuming that's the case, then each clip that was shown in original airings of Muppet Babies would have their own license agreement between the producers of the show and the folks who owned the clips that were used. Those individual license agreements would almost certainly NOT include home video rights beyond VHS tape, if it included any home video rights at all. DVD would be new territory, requiring new licenses. Just like with music rights.

    As for the DVDs that came with the dolls, I didn't get them so I don't know if A) those are episodes that should have clips in the first place (did every episode have them?), B) if the episodes on those DVDs were uncut, or C) if there were subsitute clips used perhaps.

    If the episodes on the DVDs that came with the dolls were indeed uncut and contained clips, then it's possible that either A) agreements were made for just that situation, or B) (more likely) a loophole was exploited that covers using the episodes as-is to market the toy product line.


    In the end, I don't know who's right or wrong for sure. I'm not a Disney lawyer (thank God!). But John, I suspect you have the right of it. However, about your comment that you hope that you are right: I think you just want to be the winner of the debate, correct? I don't think you want it to be difficult for the DVDs to be released. [​IMG]
     
  8. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    The only clips I can remember are some Star Wars clips, The Blob, Roxanne, Teen Wolf, some East Side Kids, Bela Legosi, and Justin Wilson (why isn't he on DVD yet?) I don't think Wilson's estate will be much of a problem in regards to this but the others may cause a problem. There were some music acts too like Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie video clips. I guess Kidd video will be really complicated if it ever made it to DVD. Also, I think I remember some old cartoons like Peanuts getting involved and some Marvel characters but this may have just been a parody segment. Marvel was releaing Muppet Babies comics at the time under the Star brand logo.
     
  9. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    Check out this interview.

    There is some mention of what clips were used.

    It also mentions a deal between Marvel and Republic Pictures, but that was for a spin-off that never was made.
     
  10. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    David, that's what I meant.

    I just wanted to know if I could be considered the winner of the debate.

    I want this on DVD as much as others do, but I try to be realistic.

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    And it always ends up coming back to bite me in the ass.
     
  11. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    I also seem to remember them using Raiders and Short Circuit.
     
  12. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    I think there is a Raiders clip in the opening credits.
     

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