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Discussion in 'Streaming and Digital Media' started by Sam Posten, Mar 22, 2018.
We can blame ...
The Inquisition ...
Ironically said PAL master of at least one episode (Episode 2 "Sex and Violence") had some bits that apparently got cut from the export version. Go figure.
Apparently, the first two Monty Python series came perilously close to being wiped in 1971!
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Not Only...But Also died so that Monty Python might live.
Well that sucks. What happened to the D-D masters? Destroyed or just misplaced?
Wasn't Time-Life Television the show's original US distributor before Devilier-Donnegan got into the picture in the 1980s? They sold other BBC shows to PBS around the same time, but not being alive then and never having seen it until the 1990s videotapes came out, I don't know whether this was one of them.
Those masters were also the source of the Paramount laserdisc releases, IIRC. Despite the arbitrary episode order, those might be the best US sources for the 3 episodes cut on DVD.
I wonder whether anything big will happen besides this for the 50th anniversary. If Sony still has a claim on Flying Circus, do you think they'll ever release a Blu-ray version similar to what Fraggle Rock just got? I didn't think that would ever happen, but now that it has, that gives taped shows of the past a new future, and this is one of the most historically important (and funniest) of the analog videotape era. That also raises the question of how many filmed bits still survive on film; hopefully that number exceeds zero.
Time-Life was indeed the original distributor when the BBC still owned the rights to the show (the Pythons themselves have owned the rights to the series since 1980, hence Devillier-Donnegan instead of Lionheart). In fact the original US run of the show had a season 3 sketch intact that was wiped altogether from the British master that now only exists as an off-air copy.
This at least proves it's theoretically feasible to reconstruct night-of-broadcast versions if one can accept less-than-perfect picture quality for the missing parts.
Has anybody checked Australia for anything that went missing?
BBC owns Fawlty Towers outright, so unlike Python, that went to the same US distributors as everything else, hence CBS/Fox* releasing them in America in the early 1990s moving to WB in the DVD era.
*CBS/Fox also managed to get the home video rights to A Fish Called Wanda right before their deal with MGM/UA ran out.
If there was anything in Australia, it would have been in black and white and 16mm.
There is an animated bit that only survived that way, IIRC.
Kinescopes of PAL have an advantage over their NTSC counterparts: they still have color info embedded in them, and someone figured out a way to restore the color. I forget the name of the process, though. That's why I still hold out some hope that we will finally get to see the full Monty someday.
Its called Full Gamut Colour Recovery. Basically it was developed to help restore some early 70s Doctor Whos for which no usable color source (in this case off airs made in North America) existed. The problem of course is the BBC doesn't own the rights to Flying Circus anymore and Terry Jones doesn't really seem to be big into restoration of their tapes anyway.
Terry Jones, who was the first to get the tip-off about the wiping procedure in the first place, is seriously ill with dementia. Terry Gilliam just had a stroke. Graham Chapman is still dead. The onus of such a project would fall on the remaining three Pythons and/or whoever is in charge of the business affairs of Python (Monty) Pictures.
And now for something completely random...
The last 2 minutes of Monty Python's Flying Circus Season 3 Episode 12 "A Book at Bedtime" is on the Netflix stream, but not on the A&E DVD set:
And now another find:
In the "Summarize Proust" bit, Chapman's line "strangling animals, golf and masturbating" is there, unlike on the DVD.
Yet other things are still cut, like "cancer" and Gilliam's animation of the crucifixes connected by telephone lines.
The last two cuts were probably made to the original tapes, unlike the others.
I just watched the behind-the-scenes documentary about their final set of shows. It was really tough seeing Terry Jones say things about not being able to remember things like he used to. To think of such a witty person no longer being able to speak or follow conversations is heartbreaking.
EDIT: Thankfully, Gilliam apparently had a perforated artery and not a stroke, as was originally reported. He's doing fine.
I know. Very sad. I saw them live at the O2 Arena in London in 2014. Even back then, I could see that Jones was the only one using a script or prompter during the show.
Yeah, I don't wish dementia on anyone.
I don't recall about the crucifixes, but at least the "cancer" bit survives via the theatrically released AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (1971) Monty Python TV sketch compilation.
Very sad to hear about Terry Jones! My Dad also had dementia late in life, as did my wife's Grandma. It's just such a heartbreaking thing to witness!