The Donna Reed Show: SEASON 4

Greg2356

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Originally Posted by LeoAmes
Where did he say he didn't like this show?

All I saw was him expressing the obvious that all we can do when you get right down to it is speculate and guess why some seasons of the program were pulled from the syndication package, and state the truth that this show was rarely seen for years after it's initial run until Nick at Night picked it up.
He didn't have to come right out and say it Leo. Neil most always acts like he is resentful ever since "The Donna Reed Show Show" had been trying to come back to the point of being released once again on DVD! He didn't act this way when the seasons were continuing to be released by "Virgil Films and Entertainment," but as soon as this show was no longer being released by "Virgil Films and Entertainment" he seemed to want to think the worst, for example, that this series wasn't popular enough to have a continued DVD release! I always knew that Virgil Films did not throw "The Donna Reed Show" out the window so to speak, because of the false reason of it having poor DVD Sales, and that they were always very proud to be releasing "The Donna Reed Show" onto DVD! You see, I kept a rather close relationship with "Virgil Films and Entertainment" while they were releasing "The Donna Reed Show," and they had always shown me through their emails without a shadow of a doubt, that they were truly thrilled to have the 'Rights' to releasing "The Donna Reed Show" for Home Media. I know to a large extent what the problem truly was with Virgil Films not being able to release the 'Fourth Season' in regards to "The Donna Reed Show," but if I tell, I am afraid that I'll get another guy in serious trouble that was closely involved with "Virgil Films and Entertainment" during the time that they lost the rights to release this Television Series. It's a sticky situation and I don't want to risk creating hard feelings to all the parties involved at the time that the release of this product had sadly turned negative. I just want to get pass all the negative issues and look forward to the continued release of this series on DVD by a company that truly knows what they are doing...

I admit, that I had mixed feelings about Virgil Films no longer releasing my Favorite TV Show, since I had been depressed when watching "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and other shows- For example, "The Patty Duke Show" with their very clear picture resolutions. And then comparing them with "The Donna Reed Show's picture quality which was no contest as you already know, since "The poor "Donna Reed Show's print transfers looked very inferior in comparison to these other two shows that I have mentioned, and this made me feel so very sad! This is why I said in one of my beginning posts on this subject of "The Donna Reed Show" 'Season 4' in regards to it no longer being released on DVD by the previous studio: [SIZE= 10px]Quote[/SIZE]-"Yes, maybe "Shout! Factory" will take it over, since it seems to be doing a Wonderful Job according to them with the 'Complete Series' of the "Leave It To Beaver" TV Sitcom, with some very Clear Print Transfers. Maybe this is really 'Good News' after all concerning The Donna Reed Show! Maybe we will get more 'Extra Features' than we did with "Virgil Films & Entertainment." We will just have to wait and see... Who knows, they may even do the whole show over again offering us a 'Complete Box Set' of all Five Seasons of "The Donna Reed Show" ( I can dream can't I?) just like they are now doing with the "Leave It To Beaver" TV Series since "Shout! Factory" has now taken it over from Universal Pictures!" Unquote.

Anyway, I wish nothing but good for "The Donna Reed Show" and I am so hoping that MPI will finally give this show the 'Love and Care' that it truly deserves!!
 

Neil Brock

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Greg2356 said:
Anyway, I wish nothing but good for "The Donna Reed Show" and I am so hoping that MPI will finally give this show the 'Love and Care' that it truly deserves!!
As is obvious from your many posts, you are a exuberant fan but obviously not very knowledgeable about how the industry works. The reason some shows look great on DVD, others so-so and some downright poor has nothing to do with the company sub-licensing it and everything to do with the company who owns it. Virgil, Shout, MPI, whoever, all they are doing is licensing these shows out and they are at the mercy of what elements they are given to work with. They are not multi-billion dollar companies like Warner and Universal and they don't have the money to spend a few hundred grand on remastering 40-50 year old shows that are going to sell a few thousand copies. They get what they get. Sometimes they get lucky and get a show that the studio has made beautiful tape transfers of. Other times, if they are dealing with a company like Fox, who neglects its back catalog, they'll get something like 30+ year old 1-inch tape dirty transfers from faded 16mm prints. The Donna Reeds are likely from the 1-inch transfers Sony made for Nick back in the 80s, although that wouldn't explain the cut episodes. Do we even know where the elements came from? Season 4 will be interesting to see as since they've not been syndicated since the 70s, no tape elements will exist and they will have to make new transfers. Because of that, they actually may wind up looking better than the previous seasons. But that has nothing to do with MPI vs Virgil but just a matter of them having to do new transfers out of necessity.
 

Garysb

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I read on another board that the ownership of the first five seasons reverted to the estates of Donna Reed and Tony Owen in 2008. That was the show's 50th Anniversary. The original contract for the show was for 5 years. At the end of the 5th season Donna Reed wanted to end the show as she felt the writers were running out of ideas, she wanted to retire, and Shelly was leaving at the end of the season. She was persuaded to sign a new 3 year deal. I assume that the original contract called for the show's ownership to revert to the estates after 50 years. I wonder if the last three years will revert to the estates in 2013, when that agreement is 50 years old.
 

Greg2356

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I know exactly what your talking about in how the industry works!! And I can almost guarantee that whatever MPI has to work with regarding "The Donna Reed Show" that they will monetarily at least be able to try and do a much better job than the so called technicians did at "Virgil Films & Entertainment" who didn't even attempt to adjust the picture contrast for some of the more bleached out scenes from the 'Second Season' of "The Donna Reed Show"!! On the other hand, it was noticable, but not annoying that "Shout! Factory" obviously was adjusting the contrast on the more beached out scenes from the 'Second Season' of the "Father Knows Best" TV Series, during their process of putting these episodes onto DVD, which I appreciated so very much! I didn't feel the need to jump up an adjust the picture controls on my own TV Set since they did it for me, but I most surely did feel the need to adjust the contrast on some particular episodes from the 'Second Season' of "The Donna Reed Show"!! And you are correct, I had always known that "Virgil Films & Entertainment" didn't have the money to do an excellent job, and that was what I was talking about in my last quoted post in regards that it may be actually good news that another company takes over this project of the seasons being released from "The Donna Reed Show"! And even though I didn't want to get into the specifics of this little money that "Virgil Films and Entertainment" had to work with for various reasons, I was made privy of this lack of money factor from a very informed and creditable source that was very close to this project in regards to 'Virgil Films & Entertainment" getting out seasons 1 through 3 from "The Donna Reed Show" onto DVD! And this is why I am glad that MPI has gotten the rights to this show because I know they are a very successful company and have a good amount of money to draw upon when putting their DVD projects together. And your comment that Virgil Films likely received 1-inch transfers from "Sony Pictures" that were made for "Nick at Nite" in the 80's, rings so completely false to me, and proves that you don't exactly know what your talking about!!! Did you even watch "Nick at Nite" when they had aired "The Donna Reed Show"??? They had very good prints!!! No way did "Virgil Films & Entertainment" receive the same restored print transfers from "Sony Pictures" that were originally struck when "Nickelodeon" first began the "Nick at Nite" Network in 1985!!!! If you really think "Virgil Films & Entertainment" truly did receive these same prints from "Sony Pictures" that had aired on Nick at Nite, then I have nothing further to say to you because I have no idea where you could be coming from?? The same prints huh??--PLEASE!!!! They certainly weren't the clear master prints that they had utilized on the 'Nick at Nite' Network starting in 1985- No Way!!!! You can bet that Shout! Factory or MPI would have had the means to negotiate the obtaining of these very clear and un-dirty print transfers from "Sony Pictures," money does talk and makes a difference, believe it or not Neil!

Another thing that me and other 'Fans' didn't like, is when "Virgil Films & Entertainment" had cut off the last four notes from the ending credits 'Theme Song' from the 'First Season' of "The Donna Reed Show" just so the 'Screen Gems Logo' wouldn't appear, which wasn't necessary for them to do this at all, and it was very unprofessional, since they had let this 'Screen Gems Logo' appear from time to time during the 'Second Season' DVD's with the 'Theme Song' playing to it's completion. And if they had wanted to replace the original 'Screen Gems Logo' with their own logo they still could have had "The Donna Reed Show" Theme Song playing to completion in the background, I've seen this type of thing done before many times through the years and it is nothing new, technicians know how to do this...

I do agree with what "Shout! Factory" had said in regards to the very good masters that they had received from "Sony Pictures" concerning the 'First Season' of the "Dennis the Menace" TV Series that were originally struck when "Nickelodeon" first began the "Nick at Nite" Network in 1985, since Stu Shostak who works at "Shout! Factory" had stated this himself. And I do believe them without a shadow of a doubt when they say that they received the same clear masters from "Sony Pictures" that were originally used on "Nick at Nite" in 1985, that were from the pristine 35mm positive prints of this "Dennis the Menace" series!!! I do remember myself when watching "Nick at Nite" that they were very clear prints, and I was always so very impressed with their wonderful quality of picture resolution!!! "Virgil Films & Entertainment" obviously wasn't able to obtain these clear prints from "Sony Pictures" for "The Donna Reed Show" that were struck when "Nickelodeon" first began airing "The Donna Reed Show" on "Nick at Nite" in 1985, and they were from this very same year that they began airing the "Dennis the Menace" TV Series on "Nick at Nite" as well. Both of these shows had very good quality restored transferred prints in 1985. I know exactly what I am talking about... "Virgil Films & Entertainment" although they would have liked to, could never have released the 'Fourth Season' of "The Donna Reed Show" for very obvious reasons! Money is needed for restoration purposes regarding this 'Season Four,' since as you said yourself Neil, Quote- "they've not been syndicated since the 70s, no tape elements will exist and they will have to make new transfers. Because of that, they actually may wind up looking better than the previous seasons." Unquote. And this has everything to do with MPI vs Virgil Films since "Virgil Films & Entertainment" could never have afforded the cost of restoration, but MPI surely can afford it!!! I was told with not mentioning any names, that the mistakes that Virgil Films made with "The Donna Reed Show" were due to lack of money, and if ever a 'Five Season Set' is offered, it will be perfect with all logo's included.
 

Greg2356

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Sorry, but if you want to make this a Neil vs Greg discussion, I won't be able to answer your next post until around January 1st or so for the mere reason that I have too much business to take care of before the end of December!! In other words, I don't have the time!! Right now, I am just going to think positively while I get all my work done, and be happy that the Fourth and Fifth Season of "The Donna Reed Show" will be released!! I kept on telling you Neil that 'Season 4 would be released, but you didn't believe me! I truly need to put you on hold for a while, since I have to concentrate on what I absolutely need to get done before the closing of this year!! Here is wishing everyone on this forum a Very Happy and Healthy New Year!!! Goodbye for Now...
 

Neil Brock

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Originally Posted by Garysb
I read on another board that the ownership of the first five seasons reverted to the estates of Donna Reed and Tony Owen in 2008. That was the show's 50th Anniversary. The original contract for the show was for 5 years. At the end of the 5th season Donna Reed wanted to end the show as she felt the writers were running out of ideas, she wanted to retire, and Shelly was leaving at the end of the season. She was persuaded to sign a new 3 year deal. I assume that the original contract called for the show's ownership to revert to the estates after 50 years. I wonder if the last three years will revert to the estates in 2013, when that agreement is 50 years old.
That would maybe explain why the show isn't currently airing in syndication, even on Antenna TV, which seems to have all of the successful Sony sitcoms from that era. Perhaps the syndication deal expired as well. As for the last 3 years, well, I wouldn't lose sleep over it if we don't get them as I felt they were not up to par with the Mary years and the show was showing signs of age at that point. The first 5 years were the best. I personally feel that the ideal run for any series is 3 to 5 years and that there are very few shows which maintain their standard after that.
 

Mark-P

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I have no idea what printmasters were used by Virgil Films, but generally speaking, any videotape mastering from 1985 will not look good today, because the technology has improved so drastically. The big studios know this and never use 30-year-old tapes when mastering DVDs of filmed shows, instead going back to original film elements and starting from scratch. Unfortunately the smaller distributors don't have this luxury.

 

LeoA

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Dennis the Menace is using 25 year old tape transfers from Sony and supposedly looks excellent and not very far off what the recent Leave it to Beaver transfers looked.
 

Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Originally Posted by LeoAmes
Dennis the Menace is using 25 year old tape transfers from Sony and supposedly looks excellent and not very far off what the recent Leave it to Beaver transfers looked.
Indeed, those Nick At Nite transfers for Dennis The Menace were quite good. I remember when TV Land reran the show in 2002, they used diffrent transfers , that werent as good.
 

Neil Brock

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Originally Posted by Mark-P
I have no idea what printmasters were used by Virgil Films, but generally speaking, any videotape mastering from 1985 will not look good today, because the technology has improved so drastically. The big studios know this and never use 30-year-old tapes when mastering DVDs of filmed shows, instead going back to original film elements and starting from scratch. Unfortunately the smaller distributors don't have this luxury.
NEVER? I guess you don't count the 30 year old 1-inch transfers from the 70s that Fox used for Lost in Space. But are they really a big studio? Maybe in name but certainly not in deed. If CBS/Paramount's slogan is "We put classic TV on a pedestal", Fox's should be, "We treat classic TV like a rented mule"!
 

Garysb

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I would also assume that Sony would not spend money restoring a series they knew they were going to lose the rights to. I think whatever season 4 looks like we have the estates to praise or blame. I am sure they just received the prints, negatives, and tapes from Sony in whatever condition they were in. If they were willing and if they have the money restoration will be done.
I think it is fair to assume no further restoration was done since the Nik At Nite days, since that was the last major release of the title by Sony. If Sony had put the series out on DVD there probably would have been further work done.
 

Mark-P

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Just because the heirs have inherited distribution rights for the series, that doesn't mean that they get posession of the original negatives. Those are still the property of whoever paid for them (most likely a studio). The owner of the negatives might graciously loan them out for a new image to be harvested, but they certainly would not just give them to the heirs.
 

Garysb

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Originally Posted by Mark-P
Just because the heirs have inherited distribution rights for the series, that doesn't mean that they get posession of the original negatives. Those are still the property of whoever paid for them (most likely a studio). The owner of the negatives might graciously loan them out for a new image to be harvested, but they certainly would not just give them to the heirs.
I think the heirs do now own the first five seasons of the show. Why would you think it is just distribution rights? I think this is no different than Bob Hope, Bing Crosby. and Alfred Hitchcock acquiring the ownership of certain of their films several years after their release or CBS, the producer of the stage play, getting the rights to the movie "My Fair Lady"., which was made by Warner Bros. I am guessing that it was just part of the contract between Screen Gems and Todon productions, Donna Reed's production company, that the ownership of the show would revert to Todon after 50 years.

Sad thing about some of the films that reverted to the stars is that the films apparently weren't stored properly and films such as the"Lemon Drop Kid" and the "Seven Little Foys" have not looked great on DVD. The "Seven Little Foys" was actual recently released in pan and scan .
 

AlanP

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Has Shelley Fabares commented on the series in recent years ??
It would be great if they could get a commentary from her Paul, Donna's children, and Patty for this new set coming out !!
 

Neil Brock

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Originally Posted by AlanP
Has Shelley Fabares commented on the series in recent years ??
It would be great if they could get a commentary from her Paul, Donna's children, and Patty for this new set coming out !!
Why would Patty comment since she didn't join the cast until season 6?
 

Kasey

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I read somewhere else that "Shelley is not a computer person" so perhaps she is not aware of the fan hype surrounding these releases.

Last I saw of her was on the 2010 TV Land Awards. She was not featured but was in the audience with husband Mike Farrell who was among the honorees for MASH.
 

Mark-P

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What else does "owning the show" mean? The original camera negatives (if they even still exist) are not what is inherited any more than all the film prints that were circulated to TV stations. Unless I am ignorant on how it works and rights holders are allowed to raid studio vaults for "their" property.



Originally Posted by Garysb
I think the heirs do now own the first five seasons of the show. Why would you think it is just distribution rights?
 

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