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Monty Python's Flying Circus: Complete Series Blu US Release (1 Viewer)

Brian Himes

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In regards to the Tonight, Tonight line. Something doesn't make good logical sense here. If the line was cut due to music licensing issues, then why is it on the bonus features? Logically, they would still have to pay for the use regardless of where the line is shown (episode proper or bonus feature). Correct? If the cost is the same no matter where the line is shown, then why not place it in the episode proper? I've never heard of there being a cost difference for the use of music in an episode versus a bonus feature of the same said episode. And the quality of the footage can't be a determining factor either. The bottom line is that the music was used on the set so it had to be paid for. If it was paid for, then it should have been place back into the episode proper. So, the issue of music licensing can't be a valid reason for it being cut out of the episode proper. It had to be paid for regardless of where it was used. Am I missing something here?
 

Brian Himes

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I have the Network version and the travel agent sketch line "What a silly bunt" is NOT restored. Is it in this US version?

Sorry, no it is not. In my research to determine what was and wasn't cut over the years, I ran across a couple of references that read like the entire sketch had been cut. That was my mistake. It wasn't the sketch that had been cut but the 'silly bunt' line. The articles I read were not clear. Just like where David Frost's phone number appeared. One article said the phone number was read by John Cleese. Another article read that the phone number appeared at the end of the sketch. So, I mistakenly thought that the entire Travel Agent sketch had been cut and not just a line. Again, sorry for the confusion.

Robbie kindly corrected my error in his post and stated that the line had been cut before the episode was broadcast.
 

Robbie^Blackmon

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Messages
206
In regards to the Tonight, Tonight line. Something doesn't make good logical sense here. If the line was cut due to music licensing issues, then why is it on the bonus features? Logically, they would still have to pay for the use regardless of where the line is shown (episode proper or bonus feature). Correct? If the cost is the same no matter where the line is shown, then why not place it in the episode proper? I've never heard of there being a cost difference for the use of music in an episode versus a bonus feature of the same said episode. And the quality of the footage can't be a determining factor either. The bottom line is that the music was used on the set so it had to be paid for. If it was paid for, then it should have been place back into the episode proper. So, the issue of music licensing can't be a valid reason for it being cut out of the episode proper. It had to be paid for regardless of where it was used. Am I missing something here?

In all fairness, since the research that Vanezis alludes to in quotes proves that the line was cut prior to transmission, it may just be internet lore or presumtion that the line was cut from the A&E and Sony Region 2 releases for copyright-- it sounds more like it just wasn't on the master tape that was in the vault because, well, it wasn't supposed to be. Based on discussions between fans online about previous releases, I sure was convinced that it was a rights issue! Looking back, I think it was just presumption based on non-qualifying information.

Paper trails show that the tape utilized by Devilier-Donegan, which belonged to the Pythons rather than the BBC, was junked after the transfer (a few years later, apparently, but never returned to the owners). That means that neither the Pythons nor the BBC would have had an intact copy to supply to A&E or Sony for their respective releases. Discussions on the long-deleted A&E message boards (as well as IMDB) did suggest that the cut was made for rights reasons and, because of that the notion has stuck. Research for the BluRay seems to have proved otherwise and, while it would have been nice to have the line reinstated, at least it is viewable on the set.

Before things got too heated on the long-deleted A&E message boards, folks from the company would respond to inquiries about cuts to the show on their dvds. They claimed that they provided only what was on the tapes sent to them when folks got angry about the Summarize Proust edit which, well, turns out to be how the show was broadcast originally. A&E owned up to only 1 omission as their fault-- according to their rep, the Dad's Doctor/Pooves tag was not included because whoever ran the transfer switched the tape off thinking that was some random BBC ad, not part of the show.

What would have been nice, and much more complicated admittedly, for the Bluray would be to have 3 versions of the episodes as applicable:
1) As originally transmitted
2) Extended "US" versions
3) All-footage-inclusive featuring all restoration team "fixes" like chroma-key transitions, including scenes with subtitles to cover missing sound, as well as any usable extended film footage. Sort of a roadshow version, if you will.

And I will if you will! LOL

Still amazes me that we get to see all that we do, since the show was "-" that close to being completely destroyed at one point.

Good-a-nighhhhhht, a-ding-ding-dinnnng!
 

Ejanss

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EricJ
A&E owned up to only 1 omission as their fault-- according to their rep, the Dad's Doctor/Pooves tag was not included because whoever ran the transfer switched the tape off thinking that was some random BBC ad, not part of the show.

Oh, whew--For years, I thought that had been cut out of the later broadcasts because too many viewers were confused by "BBC is shutting down for the night, don't forget to turn off your sets", and the screen suddenly going out with a last cathode blip.

(Don't laugh, it's happened before, when other series tried to fool with TV-screen fourth-wall...The "cockroach" episode of X-Files springs to mind.)
 

Robbie^Blackmon

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Messages
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Oh, whew--For years, I thought that had been cut out of the later broadcasts because too many viewers were confused by "BBC is shutting down for the night, don't forget to turn off your sets", and the screen suddenly going out with a last cathode blip.

(Don't laugh, it's happened before, when other series tried to fool with TV-screen fourth-wall...The "cockroach" episode of X-Files springs to mind.)

Some clever websites used a similar "bug" trick about that time..

I liked the Pythons' idea that got shot down by the program controllers, where the show audio would get dialed down slowly to trick folks into turning their sets way up, until: BLAM!

At least they got to do that, somewhat, with the Spanish Inquisition on the lp. The group always did seem to have the most fun producing material for the audio format.

 

TJPC

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I liked the music that accompanied Michael Palin as he rode his bike through the countryside right before he would crashed because
the pump caught in my trouser leg.

We find the "recipe" for the banana and cheese sandwich hilarious and it gets quoted endlessly in our family. "Going through life hating bananas and being indifferent to cheese and still able to enjoy a delicious banana and cheese sandwich".

By the way, as a person who was and is still somewhat of a Monty Python finatic, I endlessly watched the shows in "first run", wore out their records and chuckled over their books, but never read about the group because of this, I never noticed that John Cleese was not in the 4th season, until the days of DVD sets.
 

texboil

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Jeff Robbins
In all fairness, since the research that Vanezis alludes to in quotes proves that the line was cut prior to transmission, it may just be internet lore or presumtion that the line was cut from the A&E and Sony Region 2 releases for copyright-- it sounds more like it just wasn't on the master tape that was in the vault because, well, it wasn't supposed to be. Based on discussions between fans online about previous releases, I sure was convinced that it was a rights issue! Looking back, I think it was just presumption based on non-qualifying information.

Paper trails show that the tape utilized by Devilier-Donegan, which belonged to the Pythons rather than the BBC, was junked after the transfer (a few years later, apparently, but never returned to the owners). That means that neither the Pythons nor the BBC would have had an intact copy to supply to A&E or Sony for their respective releases. Discussions on the long-deleted A&E message boards (as well as IMDB) did suggest that the cut was made for rights reasons and, because of that the notion has stuck. Research for the BluRay seems to have proved otherwise and, while it would have been nice to have the line reinstated, at least it is viewable on the set.

Before things got too heated on the long-deleted A&E message boards, folks from the company would respond to inquiries about cuts to the show on their dvds. They claimed that they provided only what was on the tapes sent to them when folks got angry about the Summarize Proust edit which, well, turns out to be how the show was broadcast originally. A&E owned up to only 1 omission as their fault-- according to their rep, the Dad's Doctor/Pooves tag was not included because whoever ran the transfer switched the tape off thinking that was some random BBC ad, not part of the show.

What would have been nice, and much more complicated admittedly, for the Bluray would be to have 3 versions of the episodes as applicable:
1) As originally transmitted
2) Extended "US" versions
3) All-footage-inclusive featuring all restoration team "fixes" like chroma-key transitions, including scenes with subtitles to cover missing sound, as well as any usable extended film footage. Sort of a roadshow version, if you will.

And I will if you will! LOL

Still amazes me that we get to see all that we do, since the show was "-" that close to being completely destroyed at one point.

Good-a-nighhhhhht, a-ding-ding-dinnnng!
Did A&E ever say what happened to the "Biggles Dictates a Letter" sketch which was missing some footage?
 

Robbie^Blackmon

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Messages
206
A master quad that was physically shredded in half led to the damaged section being excised. For the new restoration, a different master created before the damage happened was located and used to restore the missing bit.
 

Tom St Jones

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Havent been able to make it to a store, partly thanks to C19. Usually, I like to check out a set literally in-hand before buying. Any unboxing videos online yet (Ive seen some for the Norwegian set, but not the Universal)?
 

darkrock17

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Havent been able to make it to a store, partly thanks to C19. Usually, I like to check out a set literally in-hand before buying. Any unboxing videos online yet (Ive seen some for the Norwegian set, but not the Universal)?

I saw it behind the counter of my local Barnes & Nobel when I was their over the weekend. It's just a cardboard sleeve holding a mega keepcase packing.
 

Mark Y

Screenwriter
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Mar 20, 2006
Messages
1,170
In all fairness, since the research that Vanezis alludes to in quotes proves that the line was cut prior to transmission, it may just be internet lore or presumtion that the line was cut from the A&E and Sony Region 2 releases for copyright-- it sounds more like it just wasn't on the master tape that was in the vault because, well, it wasn't supposed to be. Based on discussions between fans online about previous releases, I sure was convinced that it was a rights issue! Looking back, I think it was just presumption based on non-qualifying information.

Paper trails show that the tape utilized by Devilier-Donegan, which belonged to the Pythons rather than the BBC, was junked after the transfer (a few years later, apparently, but never returned to the owners). That means that neither the Pythons nor the BBC would have had an intact copy to supply to A&E or Sony for their respective releases. Discussions on the long-deleted A&E message boards (as well as IMDB) did suggest that the cut was made for rights reasons and, because of that the notion has stuck. Research for the BluRay seems to have proved otherwise and, while it would have been nice to have the line reinstated, at least it is viewable on the set.

Before things got too heated on the long-deleted A&E message boards, folks from the company would respond to inquiries about cuts to the show on their dvds. They claimed that they provided only what was on the tapes sent to them when folks got angry about the Summarize Proust edit which, well, turns out to be how the show was broadcast originally. A&E owned up to only 1 omission as their fault-- according to their rep, the Dad's Doctor/Pooves tag was not included because whoever ran the transfer switched the tape off thinking that was some random BBC ad, not part of the show.

What would have been nice, and much more complicated admittedly, for the Bluray would be to have 3 versions of the episodes as applicable:
1) As originally transmitted
2) Extended "US" versions
3) All-footage-inclusive featuring all restoration team "fixes" like chroma-key transitions, including scenes with subtitles to cover missing sound, as well as any usable extended film footage. Sort of a roadshow version, if you will.

And I will if you will! LOL

Still amazes me that we get to see all that we do, since the show was "-" that close to being completely destroyed at one point.

Good-a-nighhhhhht, a-ding-ding-dinnnng!

Wait a minute, hold the phone here. In the late 1990s, our local PBS in Chicago ran Monty Python again after a long hiatus. The versions of the shows they ran at that time were the D-D versions, at least I am pretty sure they were.

Prior to D-D, Python was distributed in the U.S. by Time-Life Television, and I remember learning years later that parts of the T-L versions ended up being missing from the D-D masters.

Are you saying stuff from the D-D versions is missing now? I better check my tapes -- I taped a whole bunch of them in the late 1990s, possibly all of them. At the time I lamented that they couldn't have been the Time-Life versions instead! (Although in at least one case, one of the "Series 4" episodes has a very brief audio clip of the Time-Life ending just as the "Python Pictures" copyright screen comes on.)

This appears to be more of a jigsaw puzzle than I thought.
 

Robbie^Blackmon

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Messages
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Wait a minute, hold the phone here. In the late 1990s, our local PBS in Chicago ran Monty Python again after a long hiatus. The versions of the shows they ran at that time were the D-D versions, at least I am pretty sure they were.

Prior to D-D, Python was distributed in the U.S. by Time-Life Television, and I remember learning years later that parts of the T-L versions ended up being missing from the D-D masters.

Are you saying stuff from the D-D versions is missing now? I better check my tapes -- I taped a whole bunch of them in the late 1990s, possibly all of them. At the time I lamented that they couldn't have been the Time-Life versions instead! (Although in at least one case, one of the "Series 4" episodes has a very brief audio clip of the Time-Life ending just as the "Python Pictures" copyright screen comes on.)

This appears to be more of a jigsaw puzzle than I thought.

Think about how difficult it must have been to research all that. I think the project was started sometime around 2009? I couldn't begin to do proper justice to the timeline of changes, censoring and omissions, as I'm just going by info gathered from here and there. Having said that:

From what the restoration team posted on other boards, T/L had more material than D/D which, in turn, had in its collection a little more than what the BBC would retain, up until the Network version. The only things I can think of, offhand, that D/D had that wasn't later retained in the BBC archive would be the Bus Conductor cut line (not found on archive masters and, as such, was sourced from a lower quality off-air copy) and the alternate Captions opening for Book at Bedtime, which was remade for the new set and added in special features. Now that I think it, the captions opening wasn't on the 2008 Sony "remaster" set, was it?! I know that set had its own special problems and creative "fixes" and, while I have it, I can't be arsed to dig it up at the moment, probably because I was never impressed with the image quality to begin with.

Also, for the true pedant, one of the vt countdown clocks is not the original, as it comes from a rerun master.

It has been revealed that the Summarize Proust sketch was censored on its original airing, so that's one "edit" that A&E got right from an historical perspective, despite the bit of fuss it caused. One bit of dubbing, "I Dream of Genie.." in place of "Girl From Ipanema" is still a bit of a mystery, iirc, as it is undocumented when that change took place.

Mr. Vanezis had offered to post detailed notes about each restoration over at the missing episodes board, but that discussion just kind of ended. Would have been a nice footnote for the project to see how they tackled each issue, blow-by-blow. so to speak..

The Python edits don't end with the series proper-- there are differences in some copies of one of the German shows (something about the credits/end music of one?), plus a deleted or extended swimming scene or two from the same. There's the infamous missing Steve Martin sketch that never aired, and the Pythons are Satanists bit which got cut from the 1989 special after its first airing in Britain. And, for some reason, all home video releases of that special save for the original laserdisc and VHS, cut the very last line-- "You bastard!" and the Graham Chapman dedication screen.

Funny to think, to, that the Pythons ultimately got control over their material due to editing of the shows. Just look at all the changes, edits and omissions that have happened to the material since then! Let's not even consider the Swedish subtitle fiasco with Holy Grail on home video that wouldn't be rectified for years!
 

Mark Y

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Messages
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Thanks for all the info! Has anyone ever attempted to compile a definitive guide to the various cuts and differences between versions of the shows, where a line, moment or sketch appears and where it's missing?

It's crazy to me that PBS ran these so many years over and over, and now certain bits are missing or have to be pulled from home recordings. And it was crazy for me to read on some website that certain "Dr. Who" episodes don't exist on color video, except from home recordings from PBS in Chicago from the 1980s. Even that late they were junking stuff.
 

Robbie^Blackmon

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Messages
206
Did A&E ever say what happened to the "Biggles Dictates a Letter" sketch which was missing some footage?
Thanks for all the info! Has anyone ever attempted to compile a definitive guide to the various cuts and differences between versions of the shows, where a line, moment or sketch appears and where it's missing?

It's crazy to me that PBS ran these so many years over and over, and now certain bits are missing or have to be pulled from home recordings. And it was crazy for me to read on some website that certain "Dr. Who" episodes don't exist on color video, except from home recordings from PBS in Chicago from the 1980s. Even that late they were junking stuff.

There was a website that covered Flying Circus in great detail, Some Of The Corpses Are Amusing:


No longer updated as far as I know, but there is quite a bit of information in that. It's a great start down a long rabbit hole! LOL

The Doctor Who thing.. it's like someone had it out for that show from day one, making great attempts to obliterate it from the planet. Bit of hyperbole, sure, but what has been recovered is amazing. I never would have imagined seeing some of the stories back in the 70's and 80's-- Tomb of the Cybermen, for example?

In the words of the Cyber Leader: Excellent!
 

Gordiac

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[Let's not even consider the Swedish subtitle fiasco with Holy Grail on home video that wouldn't be rectified for years!
[/QUOTE]

Would you mind elaborating, please?
 

Robbie^Blackmon

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Messages
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[Let's not even consider the Swedish subtitle fiasco with Holy Grail on home video that wouldn't be rectified for years!

Would you mind elaborating, please?
[/QUOTE]

Long time ago, when Grail got a big, 2-disc dvd release:
61p15m074cL._SX342_.jpg

A mastering error eliminated the Mønti Pythøn ik den Hølie Gräilen subtitle and, though fans were quite vocal, and those in charge of mastering the film claimed it was delivered intact on the digital file, it was left missing on subsequent releases until years later (6 years I think) when a remaster and new edition corrected the error. Replacement discs were asked for by fans, but none were to be issued.

It had been suggested that the reason it got deleted was so it wouldn't interfere with the newly added joke subtitles, and the plan had been to have the player generate the Mønti Pythøn caption when appropriate.

'Twas quite a big deal back then.

Edit: Just dug up the disc. Here's what it looked like:
dvd_snapshot_00.00.11_[2020.12.13_16.38.04].jpg

Clearly, there would have been room for the original sub, as well, and the rest of the burnt-in subs were all present and accounted for.
dvd_snapshot_00.00.25_[2020.12.13_16.41.30].jpg


The "fixed" version from 2006:
dvd_snapshot_00.00.13_[2020.12.13_17.37.17].jpg

Yeah, with the Shakespeare subs on it's still kinda.. yeah. But the film plays properly without. And, if your player allows adjustments to sub placement, it's all good.
 
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Tom St Jones

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I'm hearing (NPI) from others around the online film & Python-buff spheres that there is NO English subtitles option on this U.S. set. As a hearing-impaired person, I strongly rely on subtitles/closed captions for most of my viewing, so if this is true it's very disappointing news (esp. considering all previous DVD releases have had SDH/captioning).
However, the Digital Bits says these are the SAME discs as released in the UK -- which HAVE subtitles -- just with a Universal logo slapped on them, so how can that be? Is it possible Univ could have opted out of subtitles just to save a buck? Could anyone here confirm the existence/lack of subtitles on this set?
 
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