Help Save Abbott & Costello’s AFRICA SCREAMS!

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Help us save and restore Abbott and Costello’s AFRICA SCREAMS for Blu-ray release!

www.tinyurl.com/SaveAbbottAndCostello

Please share this campaign and spread the news. Thank you very much!

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  1. Brent Reid

    Brilliant, just brilliant. Hopefully this time around, the damn dirty bootleggers* will keep their stinking paws off your transfer!

    *Film Chest/Film Detective and others too numerous to mention. :angry:

    I don't know if the legal point is still viable, but I recall the concept of "conversion," taking someone's work, into which they have expended funds, and grabbing it as PD.

    Best handled with a discrete watermark on selected frames.

  2. Copyright covers creative works. That can include derivative works that embody new creative ideas. But restoration is just returning something to its intended state. It isn't covered by copyright. The people who do the restorations of PD material are using someone else's work for their own gain too, so it's only fair. The idea of the Public Domain is that you are *contributing* to it. You shouldn't consider it something you can reclaim and own yourself. That goes against the spirit of the Public Domain.

  3. We are only 24 hours into the campaign and have already reached 77% of our goal. That is simply fantastic and to say that we are overwhelmed would be an understatement!

    To show our appreciation, we’re going to fast track an upload of the 35mm nitrate test clip and plan to have that posted for you tomorrow.

    Thank you very much to our wonderful backers and please help spread the news of this project and get us to $7500!

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  4. You've done it!

    Reaching our goal of $7500 in less than 29 hours is simply remarkable. On behalf of the entire 3-D Film Archive team, thank you VERY much!

    AFRICA SCREAMS will finally be preserved and available in outstanding quality. Every single backer should feel quite proud for what they've done.

    Please continue to share the campaign for potential backers that would like the various rewards that we've offered. Stay tuned for tomorrow's update to see a sample clip scanned from the original 35mm nitrate master!

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  5. This footage was scanned in 4K resolution from the composite nitrate 35mm fine grain master positive. There is some baked-in jitter on the raw scan from film shrinkage but that has been stabilized. We have not yet done image grading, dirt clean-up or audio sweetening. I wanted to share this clip ASAP and as you can see, the incredible quality of the original nitrate material speaks for itself!

    Please continue to share our campaign. Extra funds that we raise will enable us to do additional restoration work on Africa Screams and pursue other licenses for future Abbott and Costello (and 3-D) restoration projects.

    We'll be announcing some very cool stretch goals within the week. Thank you!

  6. bigshot

    Copyright covers creative works. That can include derivative works that embody new creative ideas. But restoration is just returning something to its intended state. It isn't covered by copyright. The people who do the restorations of PD material are using someone else's work for their own gain too, so it's only fair. The idea of the Public Domain is that you are *contributing* to it. You shouldn't consider it something you can reclaim and own yourself. That goes against the spirit of the Public Domain.

    I don’t know the law, so this is just my opinion. When some spends money and labor to restore a film, I think they should be able to copyright it. The original, unrestored versions is still PD and nothing has been taken from the public. Why expends funds and labor over something for which you will not be rewarded?

  7. Johnny Angell

    I don’t know the law, so this is just my opinion. When some spends money and labor to restore a film, I think they should be able to copyright it. The original, unrestored versions is still PD and nothing has been taken from the public. Why expends funds and labor over something for which you will not be rewarded?

    i get what you are saying, read this article

    https://nypost.com/2010/02/17/film-…temple-randolph-scott-and-public-domain-hell/

    interesting that yes it can be done, just not the way you would think

  8. Many years ago, I sought out original 35mm elements on my own time and put my own modest funds into new scans of 4 public domain films. This was in the days of laserdisc and very little money (if any) was made on these four titles.

    On every single film, my work was copied and exploited by bottom feeders who came along that didn’t lift a finger or invest a penny to do the heavy lifting.

    None of this was easy. In fact, it took over a year of intense research to find the nitrate originals on Africa. At that point, I stopped looking for master elements.

    Just yesterday, I learned that image entertainment, the company who originally released my scan on laserdisc, put out Africa Screams on DVD in 2006 and promoted it as a new scan from 35mm negatives. That’s an outright lie (my scan was done in 1987) and I was never notified or saw a penny on the release.

  9. Johnny Angell

    I don’t know the law, so this is just my opinion. When some spends money and labor to restore a film, I think they should be able to copyright it. The original, unrestored versions is still PD and nothing has been taken from the public. Why expends funds and labor over something for which you will not be rewarded?

    Copyright isn't a reward for work. It's a protection for a creative idea for a limited amount of time. After that time passes, the idea belongs to everyone to use and benefit from. Work in this case would be rewarded by selling copies of the film, and perhaps adding additional features, like commentaries and documentaries. Those would be new creative works and could be copyrighted. But once a film is in the Public Domain, it is there forever, and it belongs to all of us.

    Without the Public Domain, we wouldn't have the stories to Walt Disney animated features, archive.org or silent films on blu-ray. You wouldn't have an Africa Screams kickstarter either!

  10. Johnny Angell

    Why expends funds and labor over something for which you will not be rewarded?

    This is precisely why so many PD films remain dormant, with studios and labels often unwilling to spend the money on restoration and distribution when their finished product will just be stolen and resold by many others.

  11. Not referring to anyone in particular, but…

    Certain peoples' sympathies towards buying bootlegs and "grey market" (an insidious, misleading term if ever there was one) releases has long been a matter of record. As has certain peoples' complete lack of knowledge but unswerving confidence in their opinions on certain matters.

    In general, a conscientious poster might consider it good forum etiquette not to derail threads specifically created to raise awareness and funds for film preservation. That's something most – but apparently not all of us – agree on. Speaking personally, when I want to discuss an unrelated topic I take it to a dedicated thread or create one of my own. But maybe that's just me.

    Keep up the fantastic work, Bob – you and your team. I'm sure most here are 100% behind you and hope you do profit from restoring this worthy PD film, so you can invest in saving many more like it in future. And anyone stealing your transfer deserves a slow, agonising death. History has shown us that even if something happens to be legally right it is often far from being morally right.

  12. I still have my copy of the Image Laserdisc of Africa Screams and Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack and the Beanstalk Laserdisc had some great extras like a children's storybook record album version of Jack and the Beanstalk that was released around the same time as the film. I hope Jack and the Beanstalk is next.

  13. Malcolm R

    This is precisely why so many PD films remain dormant, with studios and labels often unwilling to spend the money on restoration and distribution when their finished product will just be stolen and resold by many others.

    And why others put watermarks on the films for the exact same reason.

  14. Thank you to everyone for your interest and support. We've done so incredibly well! http://www.tinyurl.com/saveabbottandcostello

    If we can get the campaign to hit $15,000.00, we'll unlock our first stretch goal. There are some VERY cool extras waiting in the wings so please continue to share this project and help us to reach that milestone.

    Here's a sample of the rare images that will be included in a Photo Gallery on this release. Bud, Lou and Hillary Brooke leave the African jungle and cool off with some ice cream during a break in filming. I like the stagehand in the foreground who was probably told to quickly get out of the shot!

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  15. bigshot

    Copyright isn't a reward for work. It's a protection for a creative idea for a limited amount of time. After that time passes, the idea belongs to everyone to use and benefit from. Work in this case would be rewarded by selling copies of the film, and perhaps adding additional features, like commentaries and documentaries. Those would be new creative works and could be copyrighted. But once a film is in the Public Domain, it is there forever, and it belongs to all of us.

    Without the Public Domain, we wouldn't have the stories to Walt Disney animated features, archive.org or silent films on blu-ray. You wouldn't have an Africa Screams kickstarter either!

    I would say a copyright is protection so that one can reap the rewards of their work. If someone else can copy a restored film and sell it for $5 while the company that did the restoration needs to sell it for $20 to break even, how are they to reap the rewards of their work? While I like extras, if I can buy the identical movie for $5 as opposed to $20, I'm going to save the $15.

    BTW, Disney takes those PD stories, adds value to them, and copyrights their new version of the story. The restorer takes the PD film, ads value to it, and would like to copyright it, but can't.

    As Malcom says, it's a miracle any PD film is ever restored.

  16. Brent Reid

    In general, a conscientious poster might consider it good forum etiquette not to derail threads specifically created to raise awareness and funds for film preservation. That's something most – but apparently not all of us – agree on. Speaking personally, when I want to discuss an unrelated topic I take it to a dedicated thread or create one of my own. But maybe that's just me.

    Just as a matter of record, YOU brought up bootlegs first (in post #3) and the other posters were following a line of thought you, yourself, had introduced.

    On another note, I'm thrilled that "nearly" 300 backers (of which I am proudly one) have already raised nearly $16K for this project. Your genuine love for this is amazing and inspiring, Bob!

  17. Thank you very much Will and just to be clear, when I found these 35mm nitrate elements, I was working with the Abbott and Costello estate as archivist.

    In addition, I didn’t just randomly locate this material from a private collector, they came from the man who had bought the rights in 1953. If I had not done the hard work to find them, it’s very likely the nitrate elements would’ve been junked when the storage facility went out of business.

  18. Bob Furmanek

    If I had not done the hard work to find them, it’s very likely the nitrate elements would’ve been junked when the storage facility went out of business.

    It's TERRIFYING how much of our film history is dependent on the vagaries of chance!! It makes me ill to think of it.

  19. Bob Furmanek

    I’m hoping some contributors to this discussion can appreciate how it feels to have your work ripped off when you’ve done all the heavy lifting to save a film!

    So that I clearly understand, once you’ve restored the film, it is legal for someone else to copy it and profit from it?

  20. Bob Furmanek

    30 years ago, there wasn’t much you could do but now there are strong legal tools to help. I’m happy to say that we’ve got one of the best copyright lawyers in the business on our team!

    Good. You are saying you can copyright your restoration.

  21. Wow, once again you've come through and have successfully backed another stretch goal! The Abbott and Costello 32 page 3-D comic book from November 1953 will be restored and included as a photo gallery on the AFRICA SCREAMS Blu-ray and DVD release. You’ll be able to view it in either discrete polarized 3-D on the Blu-ray or red/blue anaglyphic 3-D on both the DVD and Blu-ray. We’ll also include one pair of anaglyphic glasses (a replica of the original Super Sight Goggles that came with the comic book) with each disc.

    Thank you very much!

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    If you'd like to know more about the 50 3-D comic books that were published in 1953/54, check out this page on our website: http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/home/images-from-the-archive/comic-books

    The next stretch goal will be announced shortly but in the meantime, we're preparing some great news about this project that will be posted on Sunday for our one week anniversary.

    Thanks again to everyone for your interest and support, we couldn't do it without you!

  22. Bob,
    I have nothing to add here other than THANK YOU for your work on this.

    Ever since the thread waaaay back when about which version of Africa Screams on DVD has the best quality, I have longed for a DVD (now Blu-ray) of this film that you approved of. Knowing your passion for this and how you had had your efforts ripped off always distressed me.

    This was the easiest ever Kickstarter for me to back.

    I am most excited about this release.

  23. That’s great Josh, thanks for your interest. The campaign will be active until December 30.

    Mark, thank you as well for your kind words. We’re working on the 3-D restoration of TAZA as we speak and Kino will be announcing the street date early in 2020.

    I have to say, it looks absolutely beautiful and Sirk/Metty’s stereoscopic compositions are outstanding!

  24. battlebeast

    Great read!

    I thought it was an interesting article as well and it's a great way to circumvent Bootleggers from stealing your hard-earned work , or should I say somebody who does Restorations from having their work circumvented stolen and used for other people's releases.

  25. I am delighted to announce that ClassicFlix will be handling the Blu-ray and DVD distribution of our AFRICA SCREAMS restoration!

    ClassicFlix started as a rental and retail site in 2007 and launched their own home video label in 2017. Their output focuses exclusively on classic film and television with such releases as the iconic film noir Raw Deal (1948), the charming screwball comedy Merrily We Live (1938) and Bud and Lou’s first independently made feature, The Noose Hangs High (1948).

    Their commitment to high production values show as their restorations have received praise from film critic Leonard Maltin, among others, with every Blu-ray release also featuring optional English subtitles.

    In 2018, they inaugurated their budget Silver Series line to make lesser-known titles available in affordable DVD editions. The Complete Hal Roach Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly Comedy Collection and the recently released The Complete PRC Michael Shayne Mystery Collection are just two of the popular line’s releases thus far.

    Check out their website at http://www.classicflix.com

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    I had the great pleasure of working with David Kawas at ClassicFlix on their release of THE NOOSE HANGS HIGH. I know they will do an excellent job with distributing our new restoration.

    We've got three weeks to go in the campaign and there are still one or two stretch goals to be announced. I hope to post the next goal within a few days. In the meantime, please continue to share our project. This is a very unique opportunity to help restore a classic film and even with a $10 pledge, backers can get their name on the restoration credits.

    Thank you very much!

  26. This is awesome news, and I agree wholeheartedly with Dana. I think ClassicFlix has done a great job with all the titles they have released to date. I am glad that the Africa Screams Kickstarter is doing so well. Was bummed that ClassicFix's Blondie Kickstarter was unsuccessful.

    I am confident this will be a wonderful release and will pre-order Day One. I choose to order directly from ClassicFlix in the hopes that they get to retain more of the money.

    Bring on more stretch goals! :thumbsup:

  27. So glad to hear Classicflix is releasing this one! That fact alone is a selling point for me! With the extras currently being included (so far), will this be another Special Edition release (price might be higher, but it's well worth it as far as I'm concerned), or just a regular release from them? And, for that matter, any estimates on when it will be available for retail?

  28. I'm waiting for confirmation on one aspect of the next stretch goal and hope to have that information later today. http://www.tinyurl.com/saveabbottandcostello

    In the meanwhile, here's a sneak peek at the terrific material I'm lining up for the Blu-ray/DVD photo gallery; a great ad from the "Laff Show of a Life Time" – AFRICA SCREAMS May 19, 1949 opening at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago. Those "Screwballs of Nonsense" The 3 Stooges and "Hollywood's Favorite Funnyman" Mischa Auer (HOLD THAT GHOST) appeared on stage for that amazing show. There were four shows a day on weekdays and five shows a day on weekends. Ticket prices ranged from .50 to .98 cents.

    Anybody have a time machine?

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  29. I'm definitely buying this when released. I'd like to contribute, but don't really want to create yet another new online account to do so. Too bad there isn't a way to just make a Paypal donation or similar.

    Also not thrilled that Kickstarter takes 5% off the top PLUS extra 3%+ for payment processing. Seems pretty steep for providing a few MB of cloud space and facilitating a few automated/computerized credit card donations ($1600+ of easy money on a $20,000 effort).

    But I'm glad this effort is doing so well to cover all the fees while still having enough left over to do the project.

  30. Great stuff. Ive never seen the film and am only a casual fan of A&C … but it is kind of exciting to be a part of a film restoration effort. Any time a movie is rescued from public domain hell, I’m onboard. So nice to have some positive, fun news these days.

  31. I wish we could do kickstarters for all of our favourite films that lack proper restorations.

    I could name two films right off the top of my head that I would easily give $€£¥ to have restored. (Both have never been released on home video at all.)

  32. battlebeast

    I wish we could do kickstarters for all of our favourite films that lack proper restorations.

    I could name two films right off the top of my head that I would easily give $€£¥ to have restored. (Both have never been released on home video at all.)

    Warren, now I want to know what those two are?

  33. dana martin

    Warren, now I want to know what those two are?

    East Lynne and The White Parade. Only available to be seen at UCLA. When I saw them in 2011 as part of watching all (at the time) 494 BP noms, East Lynne looked decent, although it must have been a work print because it contained marks on where to trim frames and still needed to be cleaned up. The White Parade was in bad shape; not Grey scale, but a pinkish color, and one of the later reels had jitters and misaligned frames (half of one, half of another.) I would GLADLY pay to help restore these two IF they were to be released on disc Hell, i'd settle for legit DVD at this point. I hear there is a bootleg of East Lynne somewhere.

  34. For every pledge of $20.00 and higher, backers will receive a link to download the complete set of 8 full color lobbycards from the 1949 theatrical release. Plus, the 4 lobbycards from the 1953 re-issue when AFRICA SCREAMS was paired with the final Marx Brothers film, LOVE HAPPY will be included.

    If all goes as planned, stretch goal #3 should be announced tomorrow!

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  35. As we enter the final week of our campaign, I am delighted to share this sneak preview of the cover art for our restoration of AFRICA SCREAMS. ClassicFlix and their design team have done an outstanding job of taking the original 22×28 half sheet poster from 1949 and formatting it for this Special Limited Edition release.

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    It's not too late to help this cause and get your name on the restoration credits. http://www.tinyurl.com/saveabbottandcostello

    Please stay tuned for our final stretch goal that will be announced tomorrow at 1:00 PM, EST. For the record, you're really going to like this one! This is a stretch goal that you can sink your teeth into…

  36. As we enter the final stretch of the campaign, I wanted to let you know what to expect for the next six days. I won't be posting any updates on Christmas Day.

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    On Thursday, I'll share the news of a VERY colorful bonus extra that I've been working to secure for this project over these past few weeks.

    I'll be in the studio on Friday digitally mastering the 1948 Abbott and Costello radio show with their special guest, Bela Lugosi. I'll certainly post an update on my progress.

    All of the bonus extras (with a few surprises) will be announced over the weekend. Backers will still have a chance to pledge and get their name in the restoration credits until the campaign concludes on Monday, December 30 at 9:00 PM EST.

    Thank you very much to everyone for your overwhelming support and generosity. This campaign has truly been a team effort and I am so pleased to have all of you on our team.

    If you have a pair of red/blue anaglyphic 3-D glasses handy, here is a vintage 1953 greeting card. Please be sure to view with the blue lens over your right eye.

    Wishing a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you and your families!

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  37. Check out today's update for a complete list of the exciting bonus extras! http://www.tinyurl.com/saveabbottandcostello

    Please remember that you only have until 9:00 PM EST on December 30, 2019 to pledge for this campaign and have your name appear on-screen in the restoration credits. Don't miss this unique opportunity to be a part of this exciting project and help us to preserve and restore this classic Abbott and Costello comedy.

  38. Squeaked in just under the wire! Thank goodness my paycheck went in today. 🙂 Can't wait to see the results. Thanks for all the wonderful work that the 3D Film Archive has done over the years to bring these older films back to life.

  39. Question: Having never seen any Abbott & Costello outside of their "Who's on First?" routine, what films are their best?

    I really want to see a few before Africa Screams comes out. I noted that in the most-recent Nitrateville podcast, either Bob or Ron Palumbo (forgive me for not remembering who was speaking) said that Africa Screams is kind of a mid-tier A&C film. The short clip that was posted by Ron a while back made me laugh enough to let me know that I'd appreciate their comedy style, but if I'm going to dive into their catalog, I'd really like to start with the films that longtime fans feel are the best.

    Any suggestions for someone who loves film, but somehow made it almost 50 years on this planet without experiencing one of the great comedy teams of all time?

  40. You can't go wrong with any of the following:

    Buck Privates
    Hold That Ghost
    Ride em Cowboy
    Pardon My Sarong
    Who Done It
    Hit the Ice
    In Society
    The Time of their Lives
    Buck Privates Come Home;
    The Noose Hangs High
    A&C Meet Frankenstein
    A&C Meet the Invisible Man

    Have fun and let us know how it goes!

  41. Brian Kidd

    Question: Having never seen any Abbott & Costello outside of their "Who's on First?" routine, what films are their best?

    I really want to see a few before Africa Screams comes out. I noted that in the most-recent Nitrateville podcast, either Bob or Ron Palumbo (forgive me for not remembering who was speaking) said that Africa Screams is kind of a mid-tier A&C film. The short clip that was posted by Ron a while back made me laugh enough to let me know that I'd appreciate their comedy style, but if I'm going to dive into their catalog, I'd really like to start with the films that longtime fans feel are the best.

    Any suggestions for someone who loves film, but somehow made it almost 50 years on this planet without experiencing one of the great comedy teams of all time?

    I'm in the same boat, though I recently picked up the 28-film DVD set, so I have many at my fingertips. Will have to choose a couple from Bob's list, above, before Africa Screams arrives.

  42. Bob Furmanek

    You can't go wrong with any of the following:

    Buck Privates
    Hold That Ghost
    Ride em Cowboy
    Pardon My Sarong
    Who Done It
    Hit the Ice
    In Society
    The Time of their Lives
    Buck Privates Come Home;
    The Noose Hangs High
    A&C Meet Frankenstein
    A&C Meet the Invisible Man

    Have fun and let us know how it goes!

    All good choices. I am partial to their earlier films (anything up through ‘45), so I’d add 3 of my Top 10 favorites to Bob’s list:

    Keep ‘Em Flying
    Here Cone the Co-eds
    Abbott & Costello in Hollywood

    Gary “thank you, Bob, for heading up this project” O.

  43. All or most actors/actresses have a signature movie, like singers who have a signature song.

    Bogart is probably CASABLANCA; Tom Hanks, FORREST GUMP. Vivian Leigh, GWTW.

    Arguably, what would be the signature film of A&C?

  44. battlebeast

    All or most actors/actresses have a signature movie, like singers who have a signature song.

    Bogart is probably CASABLANCA; Tom Hanks, FORREST GUMP. Vivian Leigh, GWTW.

    Arguably, what would be the signature film of A&C?

    That’s a tough question.

    I would say either Buck Privates or A&C Meet Frankenstein or Hold That Ghost

  45. As someone who just turned 54 I am shocked there are those nearly 50 who have not seen an Abbott and Costello movie. They were on every Saturday in the 70's and 80's on TV in Southern California which is where I discovered them and they have played on the old AMC and TCM since then. Although I sure would love to be watching them for the 1st time again.

  46. Randy Korstick

    As someone who just turned 54 I am shocked there are those nearly 50 who have not seen an Abbott and Costello movie. They were on every Saturday in the 70's and 80's on TV in Southern California which is where I discovered them and they have played on the old AMC and TCM since then. Although I sure would love to be watching them for the 1st time again.

    Alas, they weren't airing in rural WV during the 70's and 80's.

    I watched Hold That Ghost for my first A&C film. It was delightful. While it took a while to get started because of the unnecessary musical numbers (I guess Ted Lewis is an acquired taste.), once the actual plot took over it was a ton of fun. Lou Costello had quite the gift for facial expressions. Great comic timing. I think the big surprise for me was Joan Davis. She practically stole the show every time she was on screen. I know of "I Married Joan," but have never seen it. I will have to try and remedy that.

    Thank you for all of the suggestions. I very much look forward to watching more.

  47. Brian Kidd

    I think the big surprise for me was Joan Davis. She practically stole the show every time she was on screen. I know of "I Married Joan," but have never seen it. I will have to try and remedy that.

    Hope you can find the "I Married Joan" syndication, co-staring Jim Backus! This gave me fond childhood memories!

  48. BobO’Link

    It's very similar to I Love Lucy. It also stars Jim Backus (voice of Mr. Magoo and Thurston Howell, III from Gilligan's Island) as Joan's husband, Judge Bradley Stevens as well as her real life daughter, Beverly Wills, playing her sister (only 21 total episodes for her so you won't see her regularly).

    VCI has released 5 volumes of I Married Joan on DVD. They have 10-12 episodes each from across the show's 3 seasons (98 episodes). That is, there'll be random episodes from each season on each release. Quality is acceptable but nothing spectacular.

    I watched a couple of episodes that I found on YouTube. They were quite funny. Certainly dated in a lot of ways when it comes to gender roles, but that was the time in which they were produced.

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