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New Carson Collection?!?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Mike Frezon, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    What Jeff Sotzing, the guy responsible for these repackaged scam jobs year after year has done, is a disgrace. His cheapskate approach that first saw the closing of the Carson vault to outsiders (it was once possible to purchase ANY extant Tonight Show from the vault for $100, complete and uncut) and now this endlessly repackaged stuff that frankly shows Johnny's material in the worst possible light (quick clips do not convey the essence of what made watching the show special; nor for that matter do tiresome animal spots or features of stand-up comedians who mostly date from the late 80s and early 90s, the least interesting part of the show's history) is little by little destroying his legacy for those who never got to experience him.
     
  2. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    I didn't know they had stopped the program where you could purchase any specific episode you want in its entirety from the vault. That's disappointing. I had planned to buy a couple specific episodes that I had attended live (one with Tony Randall, Jack Klugman and Elton John!).
     
  3. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    To be fair, the reason they did that was the rampant piracy on eBay. There was one guy selling multiple copies of multiple complete shows from the early '70s (not just 'recouping his costs'). I know, I noticed the listings and kept seeing the same ones getting relisted. Much as I hated to see them close off access, I can totally understand why they did it. A few bad eggs ruined this for the rest of us.


    In total agreement about all the repackaging. A few of those repackages, also, committed the further sin of being so vague in their description that at least some people were basically "tricked" into rebuying material they already had.


    Although far from ideal, the Reelz Channel is at least showing two episodes of the syndicated Carson's Comedy Classics every weekday. Guess it's been on the schedule a little over a month now. Though most of the interview footage isn't there, they do let the segments play out far longer than on the compilations (the "foot lady" was just on CCC the other day and it was pretty much her whole segment, not just the part where she told Johnny he'd be married again, but not to a woman).

    So, at least, more Johnny footage is getting back out there (though not on DVD).

    Some of the color segments on CCC appear to be from the late '60s (or VERY early '70s) New York era, too. Wonder where they got the footage from if most of the tapes were wiped prior to 1978? I would've thought what was used on the anniversary specials would've been cut way shorter (like the compilations), unless there are at least a few scattered 60s color tapes in the archive.
     
  4. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Actually most Carson shows are intact starting in 1970 so there's a larger percentage of intact New York shows from 1970-72 than I think most people realize.

    Considering that there are well over 2000 plus shows that I think collectors would have been happy to purchase, I don't think the fact that a handful were being sold in the boot route was justification for turning off the whole access. You go after the ones doing things illegal and at the same time keep the access available to those who can genuinely appreciate this material. Now Sotzing is letting it all rot away metaphorically because those of us who can most appreciate the material are with each passing day losing our ability to experience it.

    On "Carson's Comedy Classics", those too are not exactly the most ideal of presentations, especially if Reelz is showing the versions that were edited for showing on The Family Channel in the mid-90s in which anything risque was zapped. But even if they are the original versions syndicated in the mid-1980s the problem with many CCC is that they kept spotlighting the wrong aspects of Carson. Way too many sketches, which were usually bombs that generated few laughs and too many animal bits. Only the desk bit sequences with Johnny and Ed showed off the show at its best in the material they used.

    As for earlier 60s color material that pops up in those CCC, I believe those came from compilation reels put together for the Emmy Awards. The earliest *complete* color show that exists (and which thankfully did get out of the vault and is in the trade circuit) is the New Year's Eve show from 1965.
     
  5. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    Two episodes a day, each run in a one-hour block run 3 times durring the day.

    Anybody figure out how many episodes they did? 130?
     
  6. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    No idea, but I'd have assumed that there were at least enough made to strip at least one syndication season's worth (usually about 35-37 week), so I'd guess at least 175, if not more.

    Anybody know if these compilations were produced for more than one season? The copyright date given on the current Reelz shows is 1983, but I specifically remember seeing these on WPIX late-nights in 1985 before scrambling hit our 'big dish'.
     
  7. David Rain

    David Rain Screenwriter

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    An entirely new syndicated version of the Tonight Show needs to be created and include not just the sketches but also hightlights of monologues, interview segments, stand-up comedians and, in a perfect world, musical performances.

    It's a disgrace that this legendary show with tons of available episodes is just sitting around and not being used. It's obscene!
     
  8. Randy*S

    Randy*S Second Unit

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    Who wants to see Ellen DeGeneres??
    Not me! That's for dang sure.


    I do, we need complete shows! I'd be happy with syndicated shows. At least it would kind of feel like the old days!
     
  9. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Oh, yes, I'd love to see complete shows again, but it's never gonna happen. Set aside all the 'corporate' concerns (about all the topical stuff, modern audiences won't care, be bored, whatever). There are many logistical problems that would make complete shows so cost-prohibitive that no one would be willing to take the risk.

    First off, clearances would have to be obtained from all the guests (or their estates). Second, all of the Tonight Show Orchestra musicians would have to be paid for every episode, since every episode contained unique music (and, one could say, a unique performance of the theme tune every night). Also, the personnel of the band could change on a regular basis (including fill-in guys), so there wouldn't be a "set" group of people to pay residuals to for each show. It would be constantly changing and, if records were even kept (especially regarding substitute musicians), it'd be really hard and time consuming to keep straight.

    I'm sure this is the reason why on the DVDs we have so far that the original in-studio recordings of the theme tune were all replaced by the same single recording of it: so only one set of music rights had to be worked out/negotiated/paid with a single set of musicians. It's also probably a large part of the reason those custom VHS recordings of the complete shows from the vault were $100 a pop.

    And, I guess, third, the next obstacle would be finding a channel that would be willing to show 20-30 year old interview footage of celebrities hawking their "new" movies, etc. and ones that would be willing to devote up to 90 minutes in the schedule (if you're talking complete show). Given the cost and risk involved, I just don't see anyone taking that on, unfortunately.

    Now, complete shows on DVD, that's another thing. Though technically possible, due to the music licencing concerns, I doubt we'd ever get a 100% uncut show (we haven't so far, not even Johnny's final two shows that were released). At the very least, the theme music would be replaced and numbers with the band would likely be left out, too. There'd be people calling for a boycott as they'd not be uncut, which might affect sales, which would affect any future complete shows being released.
     
  10. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    The is why the ability to buy individual shows from the vault, which were ALWAYS uncut and with commercials no less was an ideal way to meet the needs of fans. If Sotzing wants to jack up the rates and put anti-copy software on each custom made disc like Warner Archive does, okay fine, but for heaven's sake let us have the access back!

    I will however note that having seen as many vintage shows as I have that did get out, the show in the 70s when it was 90 minutes, and even before that in the 60s, was less about stars plugging their hot properties and more about honest to goodness entertaining chat. It was when the show got cut back to an hour that it permanently lost its rhythm and morphed into a show for A-list celebs only regardless of whether they were particularly interesting or not.
     
  11. jdee28

    jdee28 Screenwriter

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    The Carson estate did donate their entire archive to the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of TV and Radio) in NY and LA. Anyone in the area can do there and see Tonight Shows with Johnny Carson complete, with original commercials, from 1970-1992.

    They don't have a lot of the shows with guest hosts though. They ones they do have don't come from the Carson estate archive.

    Here's a link to the Paley Center website which allows you to search their collection. You an see all the Carson Tonight Shows they have:

    http://paleycenter.org/collection/
     
  12. MilesH

    MilesH Stunt Coordinator

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    This set with the bonus Christmas DVD is not new despite what Dave Lambert claims. It was available last Christmas. I bought mine from Costco.
     
  13. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    But...they did all that and more for the Saturday Night Live dvds. SNL had a band whose size was comparable to Johnny's, and whose members came and went. The show had multiple guests per episode, including musical guests who sang their own stuff. Every bit of it was cleared, and they've released about 100 episodes as of season 5. That's hundreds of songs, hundreds of performers.
     
  14. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I just feel compelled--as we all have been watching the soap opera surrounding Jay & Conan about the future of The Tonight Show franchise--to say, again, that the Carson estate is missing out on a huge opportunity by not re-releasing ANY of Johnny's material from the vault.

    The longer they wait, the less impact such a release will have. They should strike while the iron's hottest (although the iron has already been cooling off over the last several years).

    Johnny's memory has been evoked often over the past several weeks. It would be nice to have some new material to remind us why he'll never be surpassed as the king of late night.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Well, at least there's the Carson's Comedy Classics reruns on ReelzChannel (though they've already cycled through the whole (?) package a couple times already,
     
  16. David Rain

    David Rain Screenwriter

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    I wouldn't expect (and probably wouldn't want) complete eps. There would be way too much to bother with in order to get to the good stuff. That's why I'd advocate for edited versions featuring the highlights. The best bits from the monologues, the main interview, the comedian. I doubt we'll ever see the musical performances again for obvious reasons.

    How about posting the shows online ? That might still involve rights issues but it would eliminate the need for packaging and publicity for yet another DVD release. Content would not have to be censored and there would be a huge number of eps available to be rotated in and out.
     
  17. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    There's enough high-quality material they could keep spitting out closely-vetted, tightly-edited clip packages for a very long, lucrative period of time.
     

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