The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Blu-ray … ever?

3 Stars

The 50th anniversary is next year. The show is a classic. The Dick Van Dyke Show got a very nice complete Blu-ray set, as did a bunch of shows not nearly as good that need not be named. Why not release it?

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  1. As much as I would love to have a Blu-Ray set of "The Mary Tyler Moore" show….I don't see it happening. First off, it was a 20th Century Fox property, in which Fox took forever to get the series on DVD (Thank God for Oprah Winfrey, who is a huge fan of the show and kept on making a big deal about having the series on DVD). Fox even stopped current t.v. shows from getting a Blu-ray release (only handful of seasons in the case of shows like "Modern Family" and "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia". Now that Fox is now owned by Disney, I really doubt the series would go to Blu-Ray. However, I could see this show getting upgraded to HD and shown thru Disney's new streaming service. Unfortunately, this is the route most of the Studios are tending to go……with the exception of Warner Brothers, who still think that physical media profitable (which is a good thing for us collectors). I hope I am wrong about MTM not getting a Blu-ray release, but I look to see what studio the show is under……than I remember that studio's history of releasing physical media.

  2. Disney let Shout! have Gravity Falls. They'll want more if it's offered to them. They currently license non-Disney ABC titles to Kino Lorber along with Hollywood/Touchstone B-and-worse movies.

    Shout! got the rest of the MTM library (except they've thus far passed on the aforementioned St. Elsewhere, still stalled after all these years since my Dad doesn't have a talk show), so the merger doesn't necessarily mean the deal will end. But this doesn't fill me with hope.

    Those DVDs were also a product of Pat Robertson's failure to clear music rights when IFE owned and operated MTM after they bought it from TVS; they just didn't use as many songs to begin with. Ironically, the only place to see the actually uncut Christmas episode from season 1 was on the old MTM Home Video VHS release from the early 1990s. Fox spent so much time and effort on extras that they didn't clear music; they did for M*A*S*H but saved any extras for a box set after it was all done.

    What's on Hulu is probably the same as what's on DVD. The archival status of their shows is all over the place, even within the shows connected to Mary, if Rhoda could be remastered while Lou Grant had to settle for off-air home recordings just to have a complete series!

    Phyllis is the only spinoff with no disc release.

  3. …and what floats around on YouTube is very poor sub-VHS quality. I do appreciate that fans have at least made that available but I wish I could just buy a copy, let the rights-holder get paid and let me have something in decent quality. I don’t need from the original negatives, I’ll take a copy of a 1” broadcast master or whatever.

  4. BobO’Link

    Fox and Disney are a good pairing as neither, historically, have given any indication they care about their library of films and TV shows. Film releases are generally treated rather shabbily unless it's the latest tentpole/megablockbuster release. Disney's worse than Fox for TVonDVD releases – and Fox tends to release a couple of seasons and just stop. Even those that've received full series releases without either an intervention by a celebrity or finally being picked up and released by a 3rd party have been just average releases, often in horrible packaging. It took a *very* long time for Disney to let go of "Our Miss Bliss" and they didn't bother with the release themselves but licensed it out. They drug their feet with the Ducktales releases (you'd think those would have received royal treatment).

    Both studios love to release WS movies in P&S versions. Disney went so far as to call those abominations "Family Friendly." I have a Fox release of a color film that received a BW pressing!

    If this were Sony we're talking about I'd say there's a possibility of a release on BR with it licensed to Mill Creek. It's not. It's from two of the worst studios out there for even basic releases, much less upgrades.

    I'd say the best you can hope for is a HD remaster for Disney + and even then I'd not hold my breath.

    Neither was a good option due to too much media consolidation and all, but between the two companies vying for Fox, I would've rather seen Comcast get it solely because they do stuff with licensing their old shows out.

    I don't care about Star Wars or Marvel movies, but I'd love to see old shows keep being released in physical media. Uni may have gotten that done. Disney? Almost no chance.

  5. The shows were filmed (as opposed to videotaped) so they would look beautiful in high definition, but the series did not sell well (partly Fox's fault for overpricing it), and I guess a streaming option is the best we could ever hope for.

  6. I get all of the frustration with the studios and I often share it. I’m currently in the middle of a DVD watch of the complete series (entire set was like $40 at Walmart) and there’s obviously room for improvement. But the flip side is – they’re blowing out all this stock in condensed packaging because it’s not selling. So what market is there that can support an HD upgrade? It won’t do anyone any good if a hypothetical studio went bankrupt from spending money on projects and making products that there was no market for.

    It sucks that they didn’t make better decisions in the brief window when the market was supporting this kind of stuff. But I suspect that a lot of TV on disc numbers were more abysmal than anyone led on. It seems that there’s not much overlap between people who will watch something for free on a syndicated station when they click past it and people who will actively go out and purchase these things. There are shows that I watched all the time on TV and then realized I’d never actively get up and put a disc on for once I could own them, and that discovery took me by surprise. If I’m an enthusiast, I can only imagine how little interest the casual viewer has.

  7. I’d buy MTM on blu-ray, day one. But I’m certain it will never happen. Fox was unhappy with the dvd sales and Disney wouldn’t consider it anyway. The only reason The Dick Van Dyke Show got a blu-ray release was because Calvada retained ownership and knew how to treat their prize asset for future exploitation by making HD transfers from the original camera negatives. The blu-rays were just a happy offshoot.

  8. BobO’Link

    Fox and Disney are a good pairing as neither, historically, have given any indication they care about their library of films and TV shows. Film releases are generally treated rather shabbily unless it's the latest tentpole/megablockbuster release. Disney's worse than Fox for TVonDVD releases – and Fox tends to release a couple of seasons and just stop. Even those that've received full series releases without either an intervention by a celebrity or finally being picked up and released by a 3rd party have been just average releases, often in horrible packaging. It took a *very* long time for Disney to let go of "Our Miss Bliss" and they didn't bother with the release themselves but licensed it out. They drug their feet with the Ducktales releases (you'd think those would have received royal treatment).

    Both studios love to release WS movies in P&S versions. Disney went so far as to call those abominations "Family Friendly." I have a Fox release of a color film that received a BW pressing!

    If this were Sony we're talking about I'd say there's a possibility of a release on BR with it licensed to Mill Creek. It's not. It's from two of the worst studios out there for even basic releases, much less upgrades.

    I'd say the best you can hope for is a HD remaster for Disney + and even then I'd not hold my breath.

    I wish I could disagree with you on Fox and Disney's track records with their TV libraries — especially the latter with the glacial pace at which Wonderful World of Disney releases come out and the scattershot venues by which they do that you have to seek out actively since they never advertise them — but as long as there are still pre-print film elements, it's technically doable. But if it's on Hulu now, then it will likely stay there since the studio now owns most of it and since this is something that would have been made through Touchstone had they done it themselves and had it existed then.

    IIRC, they don't actually own that Hayley Mills school show; it just aired on The Disney Channel when she was on it. DuckTales didn't get finished until after it got rebooted, and then only through Disney Movie Club, and those analog composite masters look less bad on laserdisc since there wasn't MPEG-2 compression to exacerbate video noise! I remember the days of their rushed-to-market pan-and-scan DVDs. The guy in charge of the department then now runs the theme parks, if you can believe it!

    This is the same mentality that got everybody but Ted Baxter fired in the last episode!

  9. Rick Thompson

    Disney: The film pirate's best friend!

    Yo ho! Doesn't it strike you as odd how vociferously they go after intellectual property piracy while glorifying every other kind with a theme park ride and movies based on it?

    But still, I never thought I'd see the day Disney owned this show. The Fox deal also gave them Nanny and the Professor and Small Wonder, which Fox actually produced* but are more the kind of of shows I'd associate with Disney. Somehow I thought there would be limits to their megalomania, some spark of the old conscience that used to drive the company telling them: "okay that's enough." I should have seen it coming in the second episode, "Today I Am A Ma'am," Ted invited Mary out to a movie: Son of Flubber, and his favorite movie was mentioned as being Snow White. And while Cloris Leachman and Ed Asner were doing this show, they appeared in Charley and the Angel and Gus, respectively.

    *The latter had 12 episodes finished before Fox bought Metromedia.

  10. Like so many 70s contemporaries, it suffers from 70s-itis. Parts of it can be kind of depressing. I think that held back a whole decade of sitcoms. The least depressing 70s sitcom-Brady Bunch-is most likely for blu.

  11. I can’t see this happening. Surely the MAIN draw for MTM fans and it’s continued popularity was the script quality? Would having these shows in HD make THAT much of a difference? Enough of a difference to persuade Studios and customers to shell-out yet again for a clearer view of Mary? Very nice that would be though!

  12. JoeDoakes

    Like so many 70s contemporaries, it suffers from 70s-itis. Parts of it can be kind of depressing. I think that held back a whole decade of sitcoms. The least depressing 70s sitcom-Brady Bunch-is most likely for blu.

    I have no idea what you are referring to here. What in heaven's name is the least bit depressing about MARY TYLER MOORE? It's one of the best written shows in television history and stands along side her former co-star, Dick Van Dyke's iconic sitcom as an evergreen. The only thing "70's" about it are the fashions and occasional pop culture references. Please elaborate.

  13. JoeDoakes
    Parts of it can be kind of depressing./QUOTE]

    I really want Gilligan’s Island on Blu-ray ‘cause it’s not sad.
    Shot on film I want all the details.

    MTM is a groundbreaking series that deserves a Blu-ray release- those DVDs look bad. I only wish there was a way to remove that awful laugh track. That wasn’t live was it?

  14. noel aguirre

    JoeDoakes
    Parts of it can be kind of depressing./QUOTE]

    I really want Gilligan’s Island on Blu-ray ‘cause it’s not sad.
    Shot on film I want all the details.

    MTM is a groundbreaking series that deserves a Blu-ray release- those DVDs look bad. I only wish there was a way to remove that awful laugh track. That wasn’t live was it?

    Yes. It was an actual studio audience, so the laugh track is baked in. It's not like MASH, where it was removable.

  15. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions…..but "Depressing" would not be how I would describe "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". "Funny", "Warm" and "Well Written/Acted" would be my description of the show, imo.

  16. The DVD set is fine- as with most TV series. Plus they are going to certain cable channels and streaming. TV series on disc are problematic- dozens of discs to pop in and out and keeping track of which episode you're watching- so much easier with streaming. How many times will you watch a 60 or 600 hour series? They are totally different than movies. IMHO.

  17. Even shows with live audiences (which this show did indeed have) had their audio tracks “sweetened” with additional canned laughter to provide for a more even experience. It’s rare to find any show with a laugh track that’s 100% natural. But I always felt these soundtracks played better when at least some of it was real.

  18. Josh Steinberg

    Even shows with live audiences (which this show did indeed have) had their audio tracks “sweetened” with additional canned laughter to provide for a more even experience. It’s rare to find any show with a laugh track that’s 100% natural. But I always felt these soundtracks played better when at least some of it was real.

    (On a tangent).

    What would be examples of past/current tv shows which used canned laughter which was completely artificial and not live?

  19. The Obsolete Man

    Yeah, they didn't start playing filmed/taped stuff to audiences for a live response until the 70s, did they?

    I Love Lucy I think was the very first sitcom to have a live audience, every laugh from that series was genuine. Lucy may also be the first series to "sweeten" laughter as the season 6 episode "Lucy Does The Tango" which holds the record for having the longest laughs in the history of TV.

  20. darkrock17

    I Love Lucy I think was the very first sitcom to have a live audience, every laugh from that series was genuine. Lucy may also be the first series to "sweeten" laughter as the season 6 episode "Lucy Does The Tango" holds the record for having the longest laughs in the history of TV.

    No, no, I mean filming a show one camera style with no audience, then playing it for a live audience to capture their responses, like when All in the Family started taping the show with no audience then they played it for One Day At A Time audiences to get a live laugh track specific to that episode.

  21. The Obsolete Man

    No, no, I mean filming a show one camera style with no audience, then playing it for a live audience to capture their responses, like when All in the Family started taping the show with no audience then they played it for One Day At A Time audiences to get a live laugh track specific to that episode.

    All In The Family premiered in January 1971. One Day At A Time didn't begin until December 1975 which by that time AITF had been on for 6 years, so I don't think ODAAT was being screened AITF episodes to get a response.

  22. darkrock17

    All In The Family premiered in January 1971. One Day At A Time didn't begin until December 1975 which by that time AITF had been on for 6 years, so I don't think ODAAT was being screened AITF episodes to get a response.

    AITF switched to an audience-less format completely in its final season and for the ABP years. Listen to the end credits. They changed from "taped before a live studio audience" to "played to a studio audience for live responses".

    And even then, they had started doing more pickup shots and audience-less filming starting with the move to Metromedia Square from Television City in season 6. The whole look and filming style of the show changed at that point.

  23. The Obsolete Man

    AITF switched to an audience-less format completely in its final season and for the ABP years. Listen to the end credits. They changed from "taped before a live studio audience" to "played to a studio audience for live responses".

    And even then, they had started doing more pickup shots and audience-less filming starting with the move to Metromedia Square from Television City in season 6. The whole look and filming style of the show changed at that point.

    Barney Miller on ABC did much the same– for the first half of that ABC comedy (up to somewhere in 1978), it was "videotaped before a live audience at ABC Television Center in Hollywood"; after that (with the exception of some episodes that said "video taped at ABC Television Facilities, Hollywood", IIRC), it was simply "video taped at ABC Television Center in Hollywood."

    Difference between the two, one from a 1975 show, the other from 1980 (from Shout!'s all-in-one DVD):

    View attachment 64633 View attachment 64634

  24. The Obsolete Man

    Yeah, they didn't start playing filmed/taped stuff to audiences for a live response until the 70s, did they?

    I read once that they showed Car 54, Where Are You? to audiences in some New York theatre to get laugh track responses. (And I believe Abbott & Costello as well.) It always sounded weird to me, sometimes the laughter seemed not related to what was happening, as though some in the audience were reacting to something else. And it sounded at times, like kids fooling aorund, to me. (More the Abbott & Costello show than Car 54, Where Are You?)

    What do you think of recycling the premise for a new series?

  25. If anything, it was another Mary from the same era that deserves the credit from the push away from either laugh tracks or studio audiences: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

    The nadir of the use of sweetening, IMO, was when TV cartoons did it. Please, like they could possibly do them live back then. I can't imagine anyone being fooled by them even then. A live-action show is one thing.

  26. MatthewA

    If anything, it was another Mary from the same era that deserves the credit from the push away from either laugh tracks or studio audiences: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

    The nadir of the use of sweetening, IMO, was when TV cartoons did it. Please, like they could possibly do them live back then. I can't imagine anyone being fooled by them even in the 1960s. A live-action show is one thing.

    They started out doing the cartoons before a live studio audience, but the animators wore out too quick.

  27. JoeDoakes

    Like so many 70s contemporaries, it suffers from 70s-itis. Parts of it can be kind of depressing. I think that held back a whole decade of sitcoms.

    I get what you mean by this. The show itself isn't depressing — it's hilarious, warm and wonderful. But the production suffers from that tacky-looking '70s aura with fashions, sets (except for Mary's first apartment) and filming that feels … dated. Later seasons, especially, have a not-very-vibrant look to them. Not sure if Blu-ray would pretty any of this up. (But I'd buy it, regardless.)

  28. PianoPlayer

    I get what you mean by this. The show itself isn't depressing — it's hilarious, warm and wonderful. But the production suffers from that tacky-looking '70s aura with fashions, sets (except for Mary's first apartment) and filming that feels … dated. Later seasons, especially, have a not-very-vibrant look to them. Not sure if Blu-ray would pretty any of this up. (But I'd buy it, regardless.)

    The film elements probably haven't been remastered in 20 years if not more. I assume the DVD masters were based on what Fox already had on hand at the time of release. The only reason Rhoda S2-onward got remastered is that they handed Shout! a season 1 full of edited, unremastered episodes and people (rightly) kvetched. At least that got released, unlike that other Valerie Harper sitcom…

    I'm scared of what else they managed to lose if they lose a whole season of Lou Grant.

    Heck, I still have episodes of this show in 16mm!

  29. MatthewA

    The film elements probably haven't been remastered in 20 years if not more. I assume the DVD masters were based on what Fox already had on hand at the time of release.

    Curiously, the early-season DVDs of MARY TYLER MOORE (especially season one) look and sound excellent, while the later seasons used significantly poorer elements for the transfers. Don't know why, except that Fox did a Who Cares? effort to complete the series, just to be done with it.

  30. PianoPlayer

    I get what you mean by this. The show itself isn't depressing — it's hilarious, warm and wonderful. But the production suffers from that tacky-looking '70s aura with fashions, sets (except for Mary's first apartment) and filming that feels … dated. Later seasons, especially, have a not-very-vibrant look to them. Not sure if Blu-ray would pretty any of this up. (But I'd buy it, regardless.)

    Most 70s shows felt that they had to be "realistic" like All in the Family or something. Though less than some others, that infected MTM too. Murray is a loser as is played out in a number of episodes, Ted is impotent, Mr. Grant is a lonely alcoholic. There are a lot of times when it's just kind of a downer. Prior to All in the Family, the mantra for sitcoms was Thou Shall not bum out the viewer. I think that ages better.

  31. PianoPlayer

    Curiously, the early-season DVDs of MARY TYLER MOORE (especially season one) look and sound excellent, while the later seasons used significantly poorer elements for the transfers. Don't know why, except that Fox did a Who Cares? effort to complete the series, just to be done with it.

    The first 2 seasons were remastered and cleaned up in preparation for the dvd debut. The poor sales is what prompted them to continue with older, existing transfers on the remaining seasons. One Fox exec opined in an interview that maybe if they hadn’t remastered the first 2 seasons and cut the price the first season set may have sold better.

  32. PianoPlayer

    Curiously, the early-season DVDs of MARY TYLER MOORE (especially season one) look and sound excellent, while the later seasons used significantly poorer elements for the transfers. Don't know why, except that Fox did a Who Cares? effort to complete the series, just to be done with it.

    And that set the standard for a lot of subsequent Fox releases not only of the MTM holdings but of their own TV catalog while the film division continued to produce one excellent restoration after another.

  33. MatthewA

    And that set the standard for a lot of subsequent Fox releases not only of the MTM holdings but of their own TV catalog while the film division continued to produce one excellent restoration after another.

    Even MASH was the 1993 remasters. They didn't give it the full spit and polish until 2018.

  34. Would definitely buy Mary Tyler Moore on Blu in a heart-beat. The DVD's are tragically underwhelming. Would also kill to have the complete St. Elsewhere on Blu – another, superbly written series, so described by TV Guide as 'television's finest hour'. I quite agree, with Mary Tyler Moore being television's finest 'half' hour.

  35. MatthewA

    And that set the standard for a lot of subsequent Fox releases not only of the MTM holdings but of their own TV catalog while the film division continued to produce one excellent restoration after another.

    And I'd be perfectly happy with that for a complete St. Elsewhere.

  36. TV today barely resembles TV of 1970, whether in resolution, aspect ratio, or content. Yet the last episode accurately predicted a grim future for local television journalism. A lot of the other MTM Productions finales seem to follow this template to some degree or another.

    Harry-N

    FOX's remasters of the three Irwin Allen series were exemplary after the disaster of the first LOST IN SPACE bunch.

    True, but once again that was also a show that Fox produced themselves. If they had waited until after the Disney acquisition to do it, would they?

  37. Disney has still not released the de-facto Season 8 of The Golden Girls (a.k.a. The Golden Palace) in any format, despite the fact that GG fans can be a rabid group and would likely snap it up on DVD or blu-ray. They've also shown no inclination to upgrade GG itself to blu-ray, and I'd expect that's one of their best-selling TV titles. So I doubt they're considering any others.

  38. Malcolm R

    Disney has still not released the de-facto Season 8 of The Golden Girls (a.k.a. The Golden Palace) in any format, despite the fact that GG fans can be a rabid group and would likely snap it up on DVD or blu-ray. They've also shown no inclination to upgrade GG itself to blu-ray, and I'd expect that's one of their best-selling TV titles. So I doubt they're considering any others.

    Isn't it all shot on videotape? Has Disney ever released something upscaled on Blu-ray?

  39. I used to believe DVD was the end of the line for stuff shot on analog tape, but Sony’s *Fraggle Rock* Blu-ray set changed my mind. Disney has never taken advantage of this process to my knowledge, but hopefully they will consider it for their tape library.

    Mary is lucky because it’s from the era when TV shows shot on film were also edited that way. Shot in 35mm, it has the potential to look stunning in high-definition.

  40. MatthewA

    Mary is lucky because it’s from the era when TV shows shot on film were also edited that way. Shot in 35mm, it has the potential to look stunning in high-definition.

    Mary, Bob, and Rhoda would look great on Blu. However, Disney would have to make a deal with another company like Shout to first remaster these series and that's not going to come cheap as Disney will want lots of $$$$$$ for licensing.

  41. Usually, remastering is the studio’s responsibility. *Rhoda* only got remastered under great duress because they screwed up the first season.

    It’s their 1980s library I’m concerned about the long-term storage of. They followed everybody else into the shoot-on-film-edit on-tape method. Newhart, the Vermont one, is all over the place in terms of picture quality on DVD. Hopefully all the successors in interest to MTM – this means you, Pat Robertson – saved negatives and not just tapes.

  42. MatthewA

    Usually, remastering is the studio’s responsibility. *Rhoda* only got remastered under great duress because they screwed up the first season.

    It’s their 1980s library I’m concerned about the long-term storage of. They followed everybody else into the shoot-on-film-edit on-tape method. Newhart, the Vermont one, is all over the place in terms of picture quality on DVD. Hopefully all the successors in interest to MTM – this means you, Pat Robertson – saved negatives and not just tapes.

    Newhart's first season was shot on tape but from season 2 onward it switched to film. Hill Street Blues got completed by Shout in 2014 where as St. Elsewhere got a one and done release by Fox back in 2006. Between these two 80's MTM series, St. Elsewhere is going to need the most work.

  43. darkrock17

    Newhart's first season was shot on tape but from season 2 onward it switched to film.

    That is true, but in season 5 they switched to a tape-based editing system. You can tell the difference easily; seasons 2-4 always looked drab and washed out, while the last 4 seasons looked brighter and more colorful. Hopefully they can rebuild it in HD.

    St. Elsewhere will sell, that is a given, but the production costs to do it right will be astronomical because:

    —You need to obtain master-quality copies of unedited episodes from all 6 seasons (theoretically doable barring some major archival/storage/lab crisis, but after the total disappearance of Lou Grant* S5 from the Fox archives, I'm seriously scared of what else went missing)
    —You need to clear copyrighted music that was mostly covers to begin with, but also includes character performances from time to time. Even using song lyrics as dialogue counts (ALF, linked to The Bob Newhart Show via Tom Patchett, used to do this fairly regularly).
    —You need to factor in the cost of promotion. You can't spend all this money on a complete series set only to let it sit unannounced by anyone but the usual sites that announce these releases, which is basically preaching to the choir.

    It's also telling that MTM Enterprises launched no hits after 1982, a year they launched those and Remington Steele (the only MTM show besides Mary that Fox finished itself), after Grant Tinker left the company for NBC, and after his marriage to Mary Tyler Moore ended. Even the post-Norman Lear Embassy still had a 227 and a Married with Children in them before Columbia dissolved them altogether after they split it up like King Lear's kingdom**. The decline and fall of MTM was much slower, but once Arthur Price replaced Grant Tinker, you could tell something wasn't quite the same. Bay City Blues tried to extrapolate what worked about Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere onto baseball. Jim Carrey did The Duck Factory, a show that tried to do for animation what MTM and WKRP did for TV news and radio, respectively. And even Mary herself couldn't launch another hit when practically everyone else on her 1970s show could; her late 1985/early 1986 sitcom with Katey Sagal came and went a few months before Lucille Ball's ill-fated Life with Lucy.

    And after Mary sold the company to a UK company called TVS, things didn't improve. Nell Carter and Roger E. Mosley, whose respective shows were both displaced by Bill Cosby's and ended up cancelling each other out when slotted against each other, flopped in You Take the Kids and Sharon Gless did, too, in The Trials of Rosie O'Neill. Even rebooting WKRP in Cincinnati in syndication couldn't even last as long as What's Happening Now!!, showing just how far their prestige had fallen. They seemed more interested in buying other people's shows for distribution. They actually distributed America's Funniest Home Videos in reruns! This pattern continued under International Family Entertainment's ownership — it was they who let most of the music licenses lapse — until News Corp. absorbed it into Fox. What a sad end for a company that produced so many great shows. Maybe being owned by Disney will give some of them a fairy tale ending.

    *At least when he got on his soapbox he dropped the pretense of being on a comedy. They tried the reverse — spinning off a sitcom from a drama — 10 years later with Beverly Hills Buntz and it didn't work.
    **Ironically the Embassy TV library has stayed relatively put while the movies have bounced from owner to owner as have their home video rights.

  44. MatthewA

    Mary is lucky because it’s from the era when TV shows shot on film were also edited that way. Shot in 35mm, it has the potential to look stunning in high-definition.

    Like many of CBS' greats (comedy and drama), right?

  45. The Obsolete Man

    Half and half on 70s sitcoms.

    MASH was filmed. Bob Newhart's shows were filmed. Norman Lear's shows were videotaped. WKRP was videotaped.

    Witt-Thomas-Harris, who did the best job of synthesizing the MTM and Embassy philosophies of situation comedy, also used tape. Their shows are split between Disney, Sony, and WB.

    Warner Bros. shot Alice on tape and most of their 1980s comedies as well. Lorimar, which they later acquired, sprang for film for every sitcom of theirs but She's the Sheriff and that show that replaced Webster on Friday nights. By the time they even got into sitcoms, tape post-production was the norm. Valerie premiered around the time Knots Landing switched to a film-to-tape edit workflow.

    Most of Paramount's sitcoms of this era were filmed and they didn't adopt tape for them until the 1980s with Madame's Place, Family Ties, Webster, and Brothers. Screen Gems went into a dry spell for sitcoms when it became Columbia Pictures Television; That's My Mama was on tape but Tabitha was filmed; both flopped, but since Sony actually wants to get as much mileage out of its catalog as they can, they both got released (although the former was riddled with cuts). After The Partridge Family, shot on film, ended, SG/CPT didn't have another hit sitcom until Designing Women, which was shot on film and edited on tape. I can't recall any successful Universal sitcoms from this decade, believe it or not, as many mystery shows and action shows as they had. In the 1980s, they syndicated the two taped comedies from Alan Lansburg*, Gimme A Break! and Kate & Allie, while they hired Al Burton away from Embassy, who was using their soundstages for their shows by that point, to produce that Willie Aames show on tape themselves. MGM also largely seemed to stay out of the sitcom game outside of Danny Thomas's short-lived The Practice, which was apparently on film.

    *He ended up with the last two Jaws movies for some reason since Spielberg didn't want them. Thank goodness Robert Zemeckis insisted on doing the Back to the Future sequels himself.

  46. MatthewA

    Witt-Thomas-Harris, who did the best job of synthesizing the MTM and Embassy philosophies of situation comedy, also used tape. Their shows are split between Disney, Sony, and WB.

    What show of theirs was made by WB? As I only know them for Soap and Benson at Columbia/Sony and The Golden Girls and all of it's spin-offs at Touchstone/Disney.

  47. The Obsolete Man

    Bob Newhart's shows were filmed.

    Bob Newhart's second MTM series known as "NEWHART" (the Vermont one) was videotaped in its first full season. Bob reportedly didn't like the look of it so for the second season onward, it was filmed but processed and edited on videotape, a practice that ultimately plagued STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. If it were ever to be desired and the film elements still exist, then NEWHART could be upgraded to high definition a little easier than TNG since there aren't many special effects in NEWHART.

  48. darkrock17

    What show of theirs was made by WB? As I only know them for Soap and Benson at Columbia/Sony and The Golden Girls and all of it's spin-offs at Touchstone/Disney.

    WB owns It's A Living, which Witt-Thomas made without Susan Harris. They got that from Lorimar along with the TV distribution rights to Mama's Family and ALF, both also on tape.

  49. MatthewA

    WB owns It's A Living, which Witt-Thomas made without Susan Harris. They got that from Lorimar along with the TV distribution rights to Mama's Family and ALF, both also on tape.

    Oh, I only know of the series that Susan was involved with.

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