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Is the b&w era of TV on DVD slowly coming to an end?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Gary OS, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Message #3661 of 3751 Oct 18, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Very cool news about Deadline a.k.a. Wire Service! Never heard of this series before, but it seems to have a good pedigree and excellent casting. I think Film Chest did a wonderful job with their Decoy set (despite the strong smell emanating from the DVD case!) and expect a similar quality product from them for Deadline.

    Who would have thought that 2019 would turn out to be such a good year for classic TV on DVD releases (including several black-and-white shows)? What with season 2 of Public Defender, first seasons of Ben Casey and Our Miss Brooks (though perhaps with cut syndication prints for the latter, alas), the upcoming Deadline and the rumored second season of One Step Beyond, plus the good news of Gunsmoke and Bonanza continuing (and likely to be completed sooner rather than later), Bronk being released through Warner Archive, as well as Jonny Quest and The Jetsons on Blu-Ray...all in all - while far from the heights of 10-12 years ago - not too shabby!
     
  2. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    What did it smell like?
     
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  3. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Just a REALLY strong chemical plastic-y smell, Ben. Not a deal killer...the DVDs themselves look great.
     
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  4. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    I guess then that if the discs work great, and the show's good, it's a winner-- is that it?
     
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  5. Message #3665 of 3751 Oct 18, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    GMBurns

    GMBurns Second Unit

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    Jeff, when you detail it all out like that I can see how 2019 has turned out to be a very cool year. Tops for me is the sudden acceleration and impending completion of Gunsmoke, which I was expecting to sweat out over the next 4-5 years. But all these fun B/W goodies add to the enjoyment.

    And yeah, that was one funky smell coming out of Decoy. I threw that case out and replaced with a different one. But the episodes themselves looked great and the booklet they included was awesome. I am definitely looking forward to Deadline.
     
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  6. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    Color me confused. I remember Wire Service vividly. It was a one hour show. In fact I have 16mm prints of a couple of episodes. So if Deadline is the same show were the episodes cut down? The two series are listed separately in IMDb. Can someone unconfuse me? (I did order Deadline FYI).
     
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  7. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    As far as I know, they are two different shows.
     
  8. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    Totally confusing. IMDB does list two separate series for Wire Service and Deadline, but they both seem to have the same exact number of episodes. They have a different set of actors.
     
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  9. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Cinematographer

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    Well, then, I'm pretty much obligated to pick Deadline up. :cool:
     
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  10. Message #3670 of 3751 Oct 18, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Correction and sorry...It does appear they are two different shows, but the confusion is understandable...authors Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh in their otherwise thorough and reliable reference book The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present doesn't list the 1959 syndicated Deadline at all...and for the entry under Deadline For Action it says "see Wire Service"...the entry for Wire Service says this: "In 1959 the Wire Service episodes starring Dane Clark were re-run under the title Deadline For Action"...and of course they are both newspaper reporter shows...another factor in my confusion was the Decoy connection with Wire Service both being from the Official Films catalog, and I naturally assumed that the new Film Chest release was for Wire Service under it's syndication title, based on the FAULTY info as found in Brooks and Marsh...it's been at least 5 years since I viewed my two episodes of Wire Service, and my recollection of them was off the top of my head...that series, as Gary16 noted, is a one hour show...the syndicated 1959 Deadline series we will be getting from Film Chest is the 39 half hour episodes hosted and narrated by Paul Stewart...a series that is itself more difficult to find on IMDB (if you can believe them, the 39 episodes were aired very sparingly over 2 seasons, stretching out to 1961), and it's a show I've never seen...I shouldn't have bothered with my earlier post, which I put considerable effort into, and it is only pertinent to Wire Service...I hope everyone's happy now with this explanation and correction, OK?
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    OK!!
     
  12. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    I have a set of episodes from the 80s airings. Perhaps combined with the release, I can edit a more complete version. I'll have to sit down and A/B an episode with the ME-TV one and see if there are different cuts.
     
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  13. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Deadline sounds very similar to The Big Story, which ran for 9 seasons in the 50s.
     
  14. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    No worries here, Randall (and thanks for the hard work you always put into your posts!) I'm just sorry that the upcoming release isn't Deadline For Action / Wire Service, as that series sounds awesome! Of course, I'm still interested in this 30-minute Deadline show, and am glad to see it coming out. More classic TV on DVD is always a good thing. Wonder if we have any other surprises in store before the end of the year?
     
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  15. Message #3675 of 3751 Oct 18, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    GMBurns

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    Jeff, I have the two volumes of Wire Service that Alpha released in 2016 and I really enjoy the show. I check their website every once in a while but they haven't put out any more, so I have only the six episodes. It's a very thoughtful show and I would love if someone would give it a full release. It might be a logical follow-up for Film Chest once they put out Deadline.
     
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  16. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    I’m the exact opposite. I’m really happy it’s Deadline instead of Wire Service. One had multiple Christmas episodes and the other had none. That by itself is enough to sway me. :)

    Gary “gearing up for the Holiday season” O.
     
  17. Tom.W

    Tom.W Stunt Coordinator

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    I have The Johnny Rath Story from 16mm. Probably one that was circulating 20+ years ago. It's a Wire Service episode, 60 minutes. I also checked IMDB but couldn't find anything for Deadline either, Randall.

    I was thinking the same thing. Any idea who owns Big Story? I know chances of it being released are nil. But quite a few episodes did circulate.
     
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  18. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052459/
     
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  19. Tom.W

    Tom.W Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Gary.
     
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  20. Message #3680 of 3751 Oct 19, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    So, I've been able to dredge up some more info on this obscure series Deadline...like Wire Service and Decoy, it was produced by Official Films Production Company...and like Decoy, it was filmed (perhaps completely) in NYC...the earlier Wire Service was filmed at Desilu and SoCal environs...I think that the fact that Deadline might feature the same extensive NYC location shooting as Decoy would be a cause for celebration...the much rarer American B+W TV series that were shot in New York are much less well represented in our collections than the multitude of Hollywood based shows we have. So, hooray for that!

    Arnold Perl, the creator of Deadline, was a NYC based writer and producer of note...he had a long career in writing for NYC based Radio and TV, a regular writer on such NYC based TV shows as Big Story, Naked City, The Nurses, East Side / West Side and N.Y.P.D. (1967-69 Jack Warden, Frank Converse show)...Arnold Perl co-created East Side / West Side and N.Y.P.D. with David Susskind as partners in Talent Associates...their biggest hit was certainly Get Smart...

    The usual and welcome faces that we've seen on DVD from other NYC based shows like Decoy, Naked City, season one of The Defenders, Brenner, Staccatto, Phil Silvers Show/Sgt. Bilko, Honeymooners, Car 54 Where Are You? and Coronet Blue are often seen in Deadline's 39 episodes...Joanne Linville, Diane Ladd, Dana Elcar, Peter Falk (Columbo), George Maharis (Route 66), Edgar Stehli, Milton Selzer, Leo Penn, Jan Miner, Michael Strong, Lee Bergere, Frank Overton (12 O'clock High), Robert Dowdell (of the sub Seaview) , Gene Lyons, Mark Rydell, Will Kuluva, Bill Zuckert, Simon Oakland, Michael Conrad (NYPD Blue), Crahan Denton, Andrew Prine (Wide Country), Frank Sutton (Gomer Pyle), Malachi Throne (It Takes a Thief), Robert Lansing (87th Precinct, 12 O'clock High)...even Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster and Schnauser from Car 54), and Irene Ryan (Granny Clampett) show up...Paul Stewart introduces and narrates all episodes, but also acts in some as multiple characters...

    Like the long running Big Story (which as Neil Brock said, aired on NBC for 9 seasons), Deadline appears to have been inspired by real news making events of the 1950s and perhaps earlier...I've never seen the show, but from the available synopsis I've found online, there are at least two episodes that I can identify the actual originating events that inspired the stories as seen on Deadline...

    The premiere episode, Victor Reisel, AKA The Victor Riesel Story...starring Larry Haines, Logan Field and Diane Ladd...a well known and crusading newspaper columnist who specializes in exposing Communist and Mafia infiltration of Labor Unions is blinded in an acid attack, ordered by the Mob, while walking on Broadway...this story was inspired by the sensational acid attack on the actual Victor Riesel, the nationally syndicated Hearst newspaper columnist for the New York Daily Mirror...Riesel was attacked by a Mob hitman who flung acid in his face near the Mark Hellinger Theatre after dining at Lindy's restaurant on April 5 1956 (it will be interesting to see if Deadline actually filmed at this location for this episode)...Riesel was blinded in both eyes for the rest of his life, but went on to even greater fame afterward, living a long life as a blind man before passing away in the 1980s...the acid hurling assailant was in turn murdered by the Genovese Mob in a bid to silence him...young congressional lawyer Bobby Kennedy and his senator brother JFK used the sensational attack on Riesel to launch a congressional committee that investigated Jimmy Hoffa, among others, for Mob corruption in big labor unions...

    The other episode I can identify, as to it's actual story inspiration, is Mass Murder...starring Gene Lyons, Mark Rydell, Lonny Chapman and Betty Lou Holland...An airliner is blown from the sky, with the bomb having been loaded on the aircraft at La Guardia...the bomber's time bomb intended to kill his own mother for her life insurance and estate...over 40 other people die as well, with the plane crashing in the Rocky Mountains on it's way to the West Coast...this story is clearly inspired by the notorious bombing of United Airlines DC-6 Flt. 629 on November 1, 1955...originating at La Guardia and crashing into a rancher's field at Longmont Colorado...all 39 passengers and 5 crew perished...all because of a cold blooded murderer who simply wanted to kill his mother for money...and not caring at all about how many others would die as a result of his timed dynamite bomb...both Big Story (in 1956) and Robert Taylor's Detectives (in 1961) would also do episodes inspired by the same case...and guess what? Mark Rydell also appeared in that Big Story episode based on this airliner bombing...Mark Rydell, like Leo Penn who also appears in Deadline, was still a young NY actor at this time, who would go on to great success as a director in later years...Rydell directed The Long Goodbye, The Cowboys and the Oscar winning On Golden Pond...the same infamous in-flight bombing of United flight 629 is featured prominently in the opening of the 1959 WB movie The FBI Story, starring Jimmy Stewart...Nick Adams plays the bomber in that movie...the real mass murderer was tried, convicted and executed in about 18 months...and that timeline included the lengthy and complicated investigation that led up to this creep being charged...they knew how to do it in those days...Dan Mathews style!

    As Gary OS has said, there are two Christmas themed episodes...Mad Bomber (!)...starring John Cecil Holm and John Kellog...it's Christmas week in New York, and a mad bomber is stalking the city...hoo boy, now that's a unique premise for a Christmas setting, ha, ha...but we shall see...

    The other Christmas episode sounds more conventional and heart warming...A Story For Christmas, starring the great Robert Lansing...a reporter helps a despondent young girl on Christmas eve...

    Now here's a question...seeing as both Deadline and Wire Service were owned by the same company, and the fact that Deadline's 39 episodes would be a little thin to stretch out for syndication from fall 1959 to the spring of 1961 (as reported)...and considering the assertion found in Brooks and Marsh's book that by 1959 the 13 Dane Clark episodes of Wire Service were resurrected and re-titled as Deadline For Action (and possibly re-cut as half hours?)...were those two coinciding events suggesting that the two shows were combined for a more saleable syndication package? Or perhaps I'm just overthinking this, ha, ha...the answer is probably lost in the mists of time...it would be nice if Film Chest could find the complete film elements for Wire Service and release those also...if that show, like Decoy and Deadline is PD...

    Thanks to Film Chest, we have a great complete set of Decoy and now Deadline coming...in their press release, Film Chest tells us that Deadline's long forgotten film elements were found in a New Jersey garage...if these sharp, but blandly chosen, screen caps submitted by Film Chest are an indication of the source film's condition, they look like 35 mm sources in great shape...fear not, these aren't from beat up 16 mm prints...

    Paul Stewart with his intro...
    [​IMG]

    Diane Ladd being menaced in the premiere episode, Victor Riesel...
    [​IMG]

    This guy looks familiar...any ideas?
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This looks more like a newsroom from the '30s or '40s...but maybe the same ink stained wretches haunted newspaper offices in the late '50s?
    [​IMG]

    Another familiar face I can't place...but Deadline, like other NYC shows, used plenty of stage actors too...
    [​IMG]

    Not sure who the strangler is, but that's definitely well known tough guy Johnny Seven being strangled...
    [​IMG]

    One of the Deadline episodes I also look forward to seeing is Jailbreak...starring Will Kuluva, Michael Strong and Al Lewis in a rip snorting breakout from Sing Sing, or such other establishment...I'm really hoping Grandpa Munster plays a prison escapee in this one, ha, ha...

    The best episode guide for Deadline is found on the Classic TV Archive...http://ctva.biz/US/Reporter/Deadline.htm

    [​IMG]

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YTDXW2K?pf_rd_p=2d1ab404-3b11-4c97-b3db-48081e145e35&pf_rd_r=P65GASYR670EMXSK1MB9

    On another front, I'm having trouble getting Ben Casey...Amazon and some other dealers I checked are back ordered as I write this, Amazon saying "available in one to two months"...I'm in Canada, and even if I get it shipped in the next week, I likely won't have it in my filthy paws before the end of October...but thanks to Gary16 we know that Ben Casey is mostly complete, unsped and in better shape than we might have feared...with some episodes retaining the old Bing Crosby closing logo, and a few with the AMA acknowledgement credit too. Yahoo!
     

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