Sony and double-length episodes

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by MatthewA, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    With what has recently happened to a 90-minute episode of "The Jeffersons" on the S4 DVD (it has about 10 minutes total missing, and looks like a VHS dub), it seems this is a recurring trend. Longer-than-normal episodes (i.e. a 60 minute episode of a 30-minute show) are almost always the 22-minute syndicated episodes. And this extends to hour shows, too. The victims include:

    —Diff'rent Strokes: 2 hour long episodes of Season !: "Retrospective" (12/29/1978) and "The Trip" (3/30/1979). Season 2 is rumored for January and has 3 hour-long episodes.

    —Starsky and Hutch: 2 two-hour episodes of Season 2: "Las Vegas Strangler" (9/25/1976) and "Murder at Sea" (10/2/1976)

    —Charlie's Angels: 2 two-hour episodes of Season 2: "Angels in Paradise" (9/14/1977) and "Angels on Ice" (9/21/1977)

    —Married with Children: 1 hour long episode of season 4: "It's a Bundyful Life" (12/17/1989), which was available unmolested on VHS.

    and the latest screw up:

    —The Jeffersons: 1 ninety-minute episode of season 4: "George and Louise in a Bind" (2/25/1978)

    Every other studio can get it right, it seems, except Sony. Are they simply unaware that the episodes aired this way originally?
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Extra-long episodes of series were often "sweeps stunts" for the network run, but were unmarketable for syndication (where a show normally runs in a fixed timeslot Monday through Friday.) Oddball items like 90 minute editions of hour shows are especially tricky for syndication. At least two hour episodes and TV movies can be broken up into to "hour" shows. (Albeit with material trimmed to allow for duplicate main titles, and possibly a recap of the first part.)

    In the days before there was a serious market for mainstream American television on home video (which is to say, from about 1948 to about an hour and a half ago) the sutdios did not have any particular incentive to pay to store episodes that were not sold into the syndication package - or to re-edit the extra long shows into something manageable for syndication unless a series had so few episodes that it was in danger of being too short for a syndication sale without every frame of film they could get. So it sad, but not terribly surprising, that the only surviving versions of some of these things are edited syndication dubs or that some have been lost forever. History repeats itself, that's one of the things wrong with history. Hollywood, like most of the rest of humanity, tends not to learn from history. The same studios that threw away old films because they were too hard to store and there was "no market for stuff people have already seen" did exactly the same thing with television shows - despite the fact that television itself was an example of a new medium that created a new market for those old shows. (Of course, the studios also tried to strangle television in its crib because the box competed with the box office, and later tried to stop home videotape, the basis for the entire home video revolution which has kept the studios from drowning in red ink after feature flop upon feature flop the past few years.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  3. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Non-existence is not the case with at least two of these episodes. The Diff'rent Strokes "Retrospective" episode is at the UCLA Film and Television Archive in its hour long form, and "It's A Bundyful Life" has been released uncut before.
     
  4. Jay_B!

    Jay_B! Screenwriter

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    out of curiosity for those who've seen the uncut "Retrospective", is the missing footage from the stock clips from other episodes or from the "new" footage of the cast reminiscing? If it's the former it doesn't really bother me since the other episodes are on the very same disc.
     
  5. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I didn't actually see the episode. But I searched the archive online and saw it listed. The running time states "50 minutes", which would be correct.
     

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