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The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show Right Holders?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by darkrock17, May 7, 2012.

  1. darkrock17

    darkrock17 Screenwriter

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    Who owns the rights to the show? Most episodes are in public domain, but I want to know who owns over all.
     
  2. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    I believe it is Sony.
     
  3. darkrock17

    darkrock17 Screenwriter

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    Sony? Wouldn't CBS/Paramount own it since it was a CBS presentation?
     
  4. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    No, that would only be the case if the original production were mostly owned by the network, as with Perry Mason or Gunsmoke, for example. Much of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, for instance, aired on CBS, but it was owned by companies affiliated with Universal, so they currently own the rights. On the other side, shows like Star Trek (NBC) and The Odd Couple (ABC) are now owned by CBS because they were Paramount-produced shows.
     
  5. Brent S

    Brent S Second Unit

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    Seasons 3 - 8, the filmed episodes, are protected under copyright. Sony/Columbia is the rights holder.
    Seasons 1 -2 were live / kinescoped, and most appear to be public domain.
     
  6. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    The first two seasons are public domain, because the show aired live and only exists on kiinescope reels. Sony/Columbia owns the rights for Season 3-8 because those were filmed shows as a Columbia presentation.
    Almost all of S3 and some of S4 was released on VHS by Colubmia House Video in the early 90s, with many episodes still having their original filmed commercials for B.F. Goodrich and Carnation Milk, and I think there's been a general fear that a DVD release would in the end be a lesser version than those.
     
  7. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    Some episodes from the filmed seasons (3 and up) are actually missing from the current syndication package as Sony is too cheep to strike up new prints!
     
  8. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    And I think the fact that a first release on DVD would have to be Season 3 might confuse the uninitiated into not buying and wondering where S1-2 are. I've always felt this was the greatest obstacle to seeing the show on DVD and likewise the fact that Jack Benny can't be released in season sets owing to its mixture of live and filmed shows. You can get away with this in syndication but DVD presentation is another matter.
     
  9. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    Release the shows under a "Best of ..." Banner - solves the problem!
     
  10. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    That's what happened with The Danny Thomas Show. Started with season 5 because Danny didn't want the first four seasons to be seen and his heirs complied with his wishes.
     
  11. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Did he hold that big a grudge against Jean Hagen? :rolleyes:
    I have to confess, those kind of stunts to suppress programming that would be of interest to some people always comes off as petty to me.
     
  12. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Read his autobiography. They really did not get along, to put it mildly. They pretty much couldn't stand each other. On top of that, he really felt that it carried over onto the screen and that the two of them had no chemistry whatsoever. Also, the show was more created with her than him because at the time, she was considered to be the bigger star. When she left, the show almost got cancelled, which also didn't endear her to him. Finally, the show switched networks after the fourth season, going from ABC to CBS and that was when it became a big hit. On ABC, it was just floundering along and not being seen very much as ABC was a rinky dink network at the time, barely more successful than Dumont was. Once they got to CBS, became a top ten show and ran for 7 more seasons, Danny must have felt there was no reason to bother with the early episodes ever again. Only time they ever had any exposure after their original run was on NBC network daytime in the early to mid-60s. And if push came to shove, they are actually PD. They tried to do a "scam copyright" by sending it in to LOC after 31 years, which at the time, the renewal had to be in the 29th year after the original registration. So, if anyone wanted to challenge it, the renewals are bogus.
    Something I didn't learn, until recently, was that Sherry Jackson didn't get booted off the show but the opposite. The only person she liked in the cast was Jean Hagen and when Hagen left, she couldn't wait to get out of there. They actually tried everything to get her to stay but she was the one who fled.
     
  13. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I still see little reason to suppress them from future generations. Let others decide if they're good or not, but just let them stand out there for people to judge for themselves.
    The Joey Bishop Show also falls in this category with the different S1 format (kind of odd that season got nixed for DVD yet the bonus episode was the Danny Thomas episode that was basically the pilot for that hated format #1!)
     
  14. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    Yeh, I saw that - I wonder how those were even accepted for registration.
     
  15. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" was produced by Burns and Allen's company, McCadden Productions, which was later sold to Columbia (Sony).
    It was always easy to see where the name of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's company Desilu came from, but I always wondered, "Why McCadden?" If Wikipedia is to be trusted, the answer is that George Burns' brother William lived on a street named McCadden. (It must have been Gracie's idea.)
    I've been watching this show on Antenna TV. It's .... well, weird. It's just a fantasy. George watches the show in his den so he knows what scheme Gracie is concocting. The adults are always all dressed up around the house, the men in suits and ties, the women in dresses and jewelry. Gracie is constantly serving coffee, even at bedtime. They're supposed to be playing themselves, and they live in Beverly Hills, yet it seems Gracie has no one to help her with the housework.
    And, as far as I'm concerned, anyone in real life who's as dumb as Gracie wouldn't be funny or endearing -- she'd be irritating. But, as I said, the show is a fantasy.
    By the way, I don't come here to knock a show in a thread read by its fans. I've just been wanting to say these things somewhere, and this seemed as good a place as any. :)
     
  16. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    You're watching the show in its later seasons which had the "George watching on TV" gimmick.
    Burns And Allen has to be understood first and foremost as an extension of a style of humor that began in Vaudeville and then transitioned to radio. A straight man with a "dumb Dora" type sidekick was a staple of those earlier eras (at the same time there was George and Gracie, you had a similar act on radio the Easy Aces). It was Gracie's naturally endearing quality and perfect timing and delivery that made the material she did funnier and popular. Like Jack Benny, I think Burns And Allen tended to shine better on radio. But that said, I've always found the trouble arising from Gracie's behavior more funny than what we saw in the same period on "I Love Lucy".
     
  17. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    Well, I'll go with "I Love Lucy." Lucy wanted things and concocted schemes to get what she wanted, which often went awry. But she was fundamentally clever and quick-witted. Gracie's schemes are all about misunderstandings and taking what people say too literally. There doesn't seem to be any basis in reality to them.
     
  18. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    But for me, that's the point. Gracie is just "being Gracie" and not meaning any harm or engaging in anything devious in contrast to Lucy. But the key again is her sense of timing and delivery which especially on radio could be hilarious.
     
  19. Brent S

    Brent S Second Unit

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    BURNS & ALLEN had 52 episodes during it's first 2 kinescoped seasons. In all the budget-label collections I've come across over the years (VHS and DVD), episode selections seem to be restricted to a group of about 18.
    Are there surviving kinescopes of all 52 episodes? Have there been any home videos that've offered a larger selection of these episodes?
     
  20. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    I don't take kindly to "jut a fantasy" but you should know that Burns and Allen were kind of "Meta" before the term became popular like other intelligent insane comedy such as Green Acres and Community, so was Benny.
     
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