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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. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    On this issue, I'm somewhat ignorant of the details of many tv shows that I watched in the past. I was never really a diligent tv viewer that paid attention to a lot of details in every episode. Frankly for most episodes I watched, I completely forgot about the details after a few weeks.

    With the passage of years/decades, I only really remembered general outlines and maybe some overall arcs. So I wouldn't really know if some scenes are missing and/or if the music was slightly different.
     
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  2. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    The only cases where I remembered the details and/or music, were a few movies that I watched over and over again when I was younger. (Mostly stuff like Cheech and Chong, Terminator, etc ...).

    If I only watch something once or twice, I usually don't remember details after a week or so.
     
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  3. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    This thread will soon celebrate its 8th birthday. If the b&w era of TV on DVD is slowly coming to an end, "slowly" is the correct word, evidently.

    Maybe its time to retire it and start a new thread about b&w TV on DVD. After all, it can be argued even the era of DVD in general is slowly coming to an end.

    Of course, the thread title is actually a question, and after eight years, maybe we can answer, "Not really."
     
  4. Message #3724 of 3751 Nov 13, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
    Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    With very few exceptions, just having the knowledge that a favorite classic TV show DVD set contains edited episodes is usually enough for me to avoid it.

    I'm not an Our Miss Brooks fan, but if I was a fan and bought the DVD's, I'd feel like I threw my money away because of the edited episodes.
     
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  5. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    For dvd sets where I'm aware of issues like edits, changed music, missing scenes, etc ... it usually automatically turns the dvd into a "dump bin" purchase for me.

    This is the primary reason why I buy very few Shout Factory releases, due to a double whammy of missing scenes, changed music, lousy transfers, etc .... AND dvd prices that rarely ever fall to "dump bin" prices.
     
  6. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    On the subject of Shout Factory, overall I think they're OK but some of their DVD sets do have problems with edits in episodes. The 1st season of Father Knows Best is a mess with several edited episodes. Lou Grant seasons 2-5 has some edited episodes. A 5th season episode of That Girl, titled "Super Reporter", is missing it's tag scene. The complete series DVD of Mary Hartman has two edited episodes, the complete series DVD of One Day At A Time also has two edited episodes.
     
  7. Message #3727 of 3751 Nov 14, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
    Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    I have not kept a file on b/w TV on DVD releases over the last decade or so. It used to be relatively easy to use a site like Gord's and monitor such things. What I do remember is that the Fall of '08 (recession begins) was chopped full of vintage releases each month leading up to the end of the year. But after that I was able to track a significant slowdown as the years stretched on into the 2010's. And there is zero doubt we have seen a real slowdown since then. But the last few years have been a mixed bag. Some years are a bit better than others. However, in spite of that fact that there is still a ton of material from the b/w era that could be released, and we aren't seeing much in comparison to 10 years ago. The percentages aren't even close.

    The b/w TV on DVD era is indeed slowing coming to an end. But like a train that was running full speed, it takes quite a while for it to completely come to a halt. That's what the last 10 years have been. I personally hope the train keeps chugging along for a bit longer, but there's no doubt it's continuing to slow down, and at some point it will come to a complete stop.

    Gary "there are so many fantastic b/w TV shows that will probably never see the light of day, and that's truly sad" O.
     
  8. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    One black and white sitcom from the 1960's that I'd like to have on DVD is The Cara Williams Show. I imagine it's unlikely to get released, but I'd still like to have it.
     
  9. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I can make that same statement - except change "once or twice" to "a half dozen times or so" and if it's been over a year since I've last seen something I'll still forget lots of "details" unless it's a show/movie I watched repeatedly as a kid.
     
  10. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Frankly the only reason I know about stuff like edits, missing scenes, different music, etc .... from older tv shows, is because somebody else has figured these things out already and has documented it online.

    Otherwise I would be completely ignorant of such differences for most tv shows and movies.
     
  11. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    The only cases of "missing scenes" and/or different music which I was consciously aware of (before the internet), were from a few movies which I watched repeatedly when I was younger (such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Cheech and Chong's Next Movie).

    Basically these "missing scenes" were used in the censored tv versions of these movies, but not on the vhs/dvd versions.
     
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  12. Message #3732 of 3751 Nov 15, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
    MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I first realized the extent of how bad syndication cutting could be when The Simpsons first went into reruns when lines I knew by heart and still do to this day were gone. Now they're cutting the tops and bottoms of the picture of every episode before they switched to HD!

    Not counting the fact that they were forced to cut The Wiz's "Ease on Down the Road" from a later episode*, "Bus Stop," the last episode of The Facts of Life made while Norman Lear still owned Embassy, is also a syndicated cut. Oddly, it ended with an Embassy logo over late 1980s Columbia music! Yet for Maude, no one has been able to identify a single, solitary cut, which would be a first. They even found two unaired episodes that were later reworked into aired episodes. I'm surprised no one at Sony sent out calls for uncut versions of things they only could find cut versions of.** Those should have been easy to find if they aired in the era of VCRs. It's a big country out there, so someone somewhere must have taped them when they were new and not taped over them…

    Though the outcry over cuts to Rhoda S1 resulted in subsequent seasons getting remastered, Lou Grant S5 was not only edited, but compiled from home recordings. The whole fifth season just disappeared from the Fox vaults altogether! Even the former owners of MTM who kept it alive without Mary Tyler Moore or Grant Tinker weren't this careless!

    The problem is on the supply end. Shout! and other third-party distributors need to keep a close watch on the running times, but they can only do so much about studio storage over the years, especially for libraries that changed hands over the years. Even studios can't undo all the bad decisions of the past because now it seems Our Miss Brooks is cut, too, but those cuts were made so long ago no one wanted to do the legwork necessary to see if it is even possible to restore them. That would likely mean finding 16mm or 35mm network prints that survived for each episode. And assuming those who have them would be willing to part with them. Even the indie company releasing 1971's The Point to Blu-ray had to turn to film collectors and settle for 16mm to find a suitable element to remaster. At least they asked.

    Sadly, both tape and film shows, B&W or color, have faced the effects of physical mishandling over the years, and TV has suffered as much as theatrical films have if some shows only exist in compromised states. You'd think the older the show, the more likely it would be affected, but that's not always true.

    *Yet it could be cleared for Sanford and Son and Diff'rent Strokes, whose respective DVDs kept their performances of it.
    **Except for the fact that it's not always archival carelessness: some episodes of Good Times that were cut on Columbia House VHS tapes were restored on DVD … and vice versa!
     
  13. GMBurns

    GMBurns Second Unit

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    For me, the death knell of the b&w era was the purchase, merger and burial of Timeless. TMG wasn't the only outfit releasing b&w series, but they seemed to be the most committed. I don't actually know anything about Norm Andersen, but I envisioned him as something like the owner of an NFL team: made his money elsewhere and bought a team for fun. Again, I know nothing about TMG's business model, but they seemed to be committed to releasing things that wouldn't be great sellers. I'm grateful for companies like Film Chest and ClassicFlix that pop out a b&w surprise every year or so. But I miss TMG's commitment to all the old stuff that I love watching.
     
  14. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Bingo, Glenn! The hostile takeover of Timeless by Shout many years ago really was the biggest nail in the coffin. Mr Andersen loved westerns and was a true advocate for that type of older, b&w releases. Thank goodness we had Timeless for as long as we did.

    Gary “there will never be another company like Timeless - they were the best” O.
     
  15. Message #3735 of 3751 Nov 16, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
    Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    It's true that sometimes studios just have to work with what's available or what they are given. Shout Factory doesn't have a perfect track record but overall I'd say they're pretty good.

    On the Mary Hartman DVD set, two episodes, #174 and #204, are edited because of music clearance issues.

    On the One Day At A Time DVD set, one episode from season 5 and one episode from season 6 are the edited/syndicated versions. So I imagine that the uncut versions couldn't be located or are not in good shape so Shout went with the edited/syndicated versions.

    I didn't buy the 5th season of Lou Grant because that season has too many problems with edited or compromised episodes. The 1st season seems to have all uncut episodes. Seasons 2 and 3 each have two edited/compromised episodes. Season 4 has four edited/compromised episodes.

    With Father Knows Best, after the 1st season debacle, seasons 2-6 are good and have the uncut episodes. I was just hoping that Shout would also release Window On Main Street as a complete series, but all they did was include some episodes as bonuses on the Father Knows Best sets.

    The 1st season of Mister Ed originally had a bunch of edited episodes, but later Shout Factory corrected the error and now the 1st season has the uncut episodes, so that's a good thing. And as far as I know, the complete series DVD of Green Acres has the uncut episodes also.

    Aside from the That Girl episode "Super Reporter" missing it's tag scene, there are other episodes, mostly from seasons 3-5, that have suspiciously short run times so possibly those episodes could be edited also or maybe time compressed.
     
  16. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    Another comment about the Father Knows Best DVD's, for some reason the episode menu screens of season 5 are different from the other seasons. Seasons 1-4 and 6 have similar designed menu screens and the episodes are numbered 1-26 for season 1, 27-63 for season 2, 64-100 for season 3, 101-133 for season 4, and 172-203 for season 6. But season 5 is different, the menu screens have a different design and the episodes are numbered 1-38 instead of 134-171. I don't know what went wrong there but somebody sure screwed up. :laugh:
     
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  17. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    I finally got Ben Casey, and am thrilled to have these episodes of this truly great 1961-66 drama series in the best possible condition. I've just started to watch the set, but I took these screen caps from episode 12, Dark Night For Billy Harris (December 18, 1961). Directed by Alex March. Guest starring Telly Savalas, Ellen Willard and Bruce Dern...as other members have already said, the great majority of episodes have running times of 50-50:30 minutes (the outlier being My Good Friend Krikor at only 47:30), many with bumper cards, some with both exiting bumpers and returning bumpers with the voice over "and now, back to Ben Casey"...many have the Bing Crosby Production closing logo, and a few have the American Medical Association acknowledgement...man, I love the great David Raksin music, one of the immortal TV themes of the sixties...Raksin composed such great film scores as Laura, Forever Amber and Separate Tables...
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  18. ClassicTVMan1981X

    ClassicTVMan1981X Screenwriter

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    I hope CBS/Paramount will release the spin-off Breaking Point on DVD in the future.

    Since it was first out in the 1963-64 season, it was the first Bing Crosby Productions TV series to have the "Crashing Cars" logo, its jingle composed by Gerald Fried. It looked like this...


    ~Ben
     
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  19. timk1041

    timk1041 Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought overall Shout did a pretty good job with Leave It To Beaver and The Patty Duke Show.
     
  20. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    Yes I forgot to mention The Patty Duke Show, I agree Shout Factory did a nice job with that series.

    The complete series DVD of Leave It To Beaver is good but those misplaced opening teasers in many 1st season episodes was a large oversight and a pretty big error. Aside from that, I like the DVD set. I think they could have been a little more creative with the episode menu screens instead of all six seasons being the same with episode titles written in cement, but it is what it is.
     

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