My "All In The Family" Review is up

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Lambert, Mar 17, 2002.

  1. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    My review of "All In The Family - The Complete First Season" is up at TVShowsOnDVD.com, and you can find it here.
    I mention in another thread that the review was posted, but I wanted to make sure that this got seen by all those interested in the set, and also to provide a place to discuss just the review and other "finished" opinions of the set.
    I recognize that I tend to be long-winded, and this review is no different. I decided that, as old as the show is, some perspective ought to be brought to the review about the show's history and many of the issues it dealt with. A lot of the length is due to this...I hope you think it's a good read.
    I have to thank fellow HTFers Gord Lacey, who runs the TVShowsOnDVD site, for "hiring" me to do this review, and Peter Apruzzese, who gave me valuable technical assistance about the video quality of this release. Also to HTF owners Ron Epstein and Parker Clack, for providing the HTF in the first place and allowing me to be here and meet all you fine, fine people.
    Ron Epstein has stated that he is planning to review this set next week...I'm interested to see what he has to say on it, and if his opinion differs substantially from mine. He's a great reviewer, something I can aspire to be.
    I value all of your feedback on the review. Please let me know what you think. Be gentle; this is my first real review. Thank you,
     
  2. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    I enjoyed reading your AITF review, David! Thanks for the inside info on this 3-disc set!
    I ordered mine just yesterday, in fact.
    I liked the picture links you provided, esp. the one that shows packaging. This should please the anal among the HTF crowd! [​IMG]
    I don't have any packaging such as this 3-sided AITF pack. David, does it stay firmly closed, since there's the lack of a Simpsons-type outer sleeve?
    How about those hubs? Loose? Tight? Or the dreaded "impossible to remove disc with a crowbar" hub?
    Due to the "uncut" nature of this set, it should be noted that we'll all get to see those rarely-aired "epilogs" on each AITF episode! Nearly 100% of the time, when you see sitcoms on commercial TV, the epilogs are cut out. So, it will be nice to have the complete program as it was originally shown.
     
  3. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    David,

    Great job on the review - I really liked the personal touches about growing up in the New York City area and watching the original broadcasts.

    I'm humbled that you thought my information was useful enough to include in the text.
     
  4. James Miller

    James Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    Although we are comparing apples and oranges with the synidication airings on Nickelodean/TVLand as far as cut/uncut length goes, I wonder if the same source elements were used for each?

    Anyone able to comment on the video quality on the DVD as opposed to Nick/TVLand?

    Is it as good as, or slightly better than the syndicated airings?

    I found Larry Sanders on DVD to be NO better than the current HBO airings. For the price of that set it was an unjustifiable purchase. That being said, given the significantly lower price of All in the Family, I will purchase the set IF the video quality is at least as good as the syndicated showings... (bear in mind I have DirecTV so I am seeing these episodes in the best possible non-DVD quality)
     
  5. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    David VP posted:
     
  6. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    It has the original 1971 disclaimers? That sounds good!
     
  7. Tony Scello

    Tony Scello Second Unit

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    David,
    Thanks for the comprehensive review. I especially liked the screen captures and our first peek at the packaging on this set. Very well done. Ron and yourself have really done a great service for the membership in helping us make informed decisions on DVD product before we commit our hard earned dollars. I hope both of you keep up the good work.
    I, like you I believe, wouldn't be able to resist buying this release even if I tried. I think it is one of the greatest American situation comedies of all time. I'm sorry to hear that the video is not stellar but a 30+ year old videotape source will obviously have its limitations. It's too bad that Carroll O'Connor did not live to see this release. I would have loved to have his audio commentary on some of his favorite episodes[​IMG].
    Bring on the complete second season!
     
  8. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    Whoa! Extremely comprehensive. I really appreciate the total honesty of the review... especially showing the video "warts and all" and the explaination as to why it may be that way. I don't care much for reviewers who are extremely lenient with a review if the source material is old and has quality issues. I much prefer a straight evaluation which presents the facts and allows me to weigh the quality for myself. That is what you did. FWIW I have this on preorder and that has not changed. Nicely done.
     
  9. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    Anyone know if every season was shot on tape - or did they switch to film at some point? In other words, I wonder if this is the best we can ever expect of any ATIF season. I realize this is from 1971 but the stills look pretty bad compared to MASH from 1972. In the review, David stated that more restoration options are available for film. In that light, I wonder why the videotape choice was made and if other shows were shot on tape?
     
  10. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Well, at the time, I don't think they were planning on ever needing to release these for retail purchase on a high-resolution, digital format.

    When this show was made, there were basically only the big three networks and no such thing as broad-based home video. I'd imagine they expected just to broadcast each episode once, maybe a couple of repeats, then never have to deal with it again. The fact that any of these old shows from the early years of TV still exist at all is fairly amazing in itself.

    I think a lot of shows from the 60's through the 80's were only recorded on tape. Many of them had that disclaimer "recorded live on tape before a studio audience" at the end. Film is a fairly new medium in TV production.
     
  11. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Actually, film was used for sitcoms starting with the long-suppressed "Amos 'n' Andy," although "I Love Lucy" is credited with starting the process of filming sitcoms instead of doing live shows. Then the episodes could be rerun with high-quality film prints and not poor-looking kinescopes. Episodic drama series (Dragnet, for instance) were also shot on film. Anthology series (such as Four Star Playhouse), however, were done live up to a point.

    All in the Family was the first sitcom to be shot on tape. Before then only game shows, variety shows, and soaps were done on tape. With analog videotape, a digital master will look no better than the original. This is probably as good as AITF will look. Hopefully future seasons will have less problematic source material.

    All of Norman Lear's television programs were shot on tape. He had two companies which more or less existed as one: Tandem Productions (with Bud Yorkin), and T.A.T Communications (with Jerrold Parenchio, later known as Embassy Communications when he bought Avco Embassy Pictures in 1982). I have seen TV Guide articles from the era that simply referred to them as Tandem/T.A.T.

    Lear stopped supervising day-to-day production of his series in 1978 but continued to run the company until he sold it in 1985. He sold the TV division to Coca-Cola, then owner of Columbia Pictures, the film production division to Dino De Laurentiis, and the home video division to Nelson Entertainment.

    Videotaping of sitcoms was common until the early 1990s. Now they're shot on film and edited on tape.
     
  12. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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  13. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Supporting Actor

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  14. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    AFAIK, All in the Family was shot and edited on quadraplex.

    It was based on a 2" tape width that ran at 15ips (some also at 7.5ips). It used a head drum that recorded the signal across the width of the tape instead of the typical helical fashion. Each picture frame was made up of 4 segments hence the term quadraplex. Since all 4 segments were necessary to make a picture, there were no "stills" from the tape. That would've been done with the assistance of some type of hard drive still store.

    The recordings were capable of being excellent, even by today's standards. But the machines were "clunky", required clean, compressed air to handle the tape and a 14" reel of 2" tape was extremely heavy.
     
  15. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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  16. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Mr. Lambert is wrong about the hubs ..... They're awful! As you'll soon see! Got my AITF order a day early (yahooo!). (Anybody got a crowbar and some dynamite? These type hubs don't make sense at all! You can't grab the disc from opposite ends! Aggravating! Wasn't there ANY brain power used to design these "Horrible Hubs From the Darkest Depths of Hell" ?! [​IMG] )
     
  17. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    David VP, I already responded about the hubs in David Scarpa's thread about them (right under your similar post there). Here's a link to my response, in which I state that no matter what difficulties you're having with your hubs, mine were definately not that bad. I also describe the exact method I use to release the discs, in case that's helpful.
    Sorry you and David Scarpa are having so much trouble with them, though! I wish I had the same problems, so I could figure out what's gotten you guys so upset.
    Anyone else have this trouble with the AitF hubs?
     
  18. James Miller

    James Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    WEll, for the 12 hours or so I owned the Larry Sanders show set I had no problem at all with the hubs, and they used the same packaging for both...Perhaps there is just some variation in the manafacturing process that make the hubs a bit "looser" on some copies.
     
  19. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    Still trying to decide. It's another DVD release that I'd be watching alone as my partner isn't interested. It's unfortunate to see that the quality has degraded on the original elements. I wonder if future seasons will look better.

    Hopefully studios will restore and maintain their television and theatrical product for the future. It's terribly sad that any artistic offering is allowed to degrade.
     
  20. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Supporting Actor

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    Cosidering that there's nothing holding these damned packages TOGETHER, the hubs better be as tight as possible to keep the discs from flying all over the place! I'd rather have tight hubs than damaged discs. Besides, I've never had a problem with ANY hubs in my over 500 DVDs. I just don't see what the problem is.
     

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