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Hazel - The Complete First Season

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Old 02-22-2012, 08:00 AM   #1
BuddyHinton
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Default No laugh track on season 2?

At least the first 2 episodes I've watched.. is there supposed to be a laugh track? Is this an oversight?
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:07 AM   #2
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I actually wouldn't have noticed the lack of a laugh track if it hadn't been pointed out here. To me, that shows how good a show is that it can go along without the laugh track and still be very appealing and watchable. Do the rest of the seasons have the standard laugh track?
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:17 AM   #3
Leslie Eckhardt
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Default The Case Of The Missing Laugh Track

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuddyHinton
At least the first 2 episodes I've watched.. is there supposed to be a laugh track? Is this an oversight?
Let me clear this up once and for all. Hazel was originally presented with a laugh track on all five seasons. I saw the original broadcasts of the episodes and also the original 16mm syndication prints as shown on Chicago TV-WGN Channel 9 back in the late 60s. As a kid, I used to collect audio tapes of TV shows and recorded the soundtracks off the air. All these early recordings had the laugh track and early second season shows ended with an applause track. As in the first season, the later shows deleted this applause track. No third to fifth season shows had any applause. When the show was on cable in the late 80s, the laugh track was removed from most of these second to fourth season shows, although a few still came through with them. The fifth season shows mostly had the laugh track. This due to the fact that they were taken from 16mm rather than a 35mm master. I have a very nice DVD set of My Little Margie in which about 50-75% of the episodes are missing their laugh track. Certain other Screen Gems episodes seem to be missing their laugh track as well.


Not sure why any show should be missing this. Why the first season episodes, remastered by Sony in 2006 include the track is anybody's guess.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:10 PM   #4
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I don't think you cleared it up since I don't know what you just said, lol.

DID these originally have a laugh track when they aired in 1962 is all I really want to know. I think this show holds up well enough without it but it just feels barren without it. MASH on DVD "gave" you the option to watch without a LT but it's just not the same.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:16 PM   #5
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Laugh track or not, the main reason to buy this DVD is to see the episodes in their entirety instead of the edited versions currently seen on Antenna TV. The best thing about the Antenna TV airings is the sound quality is loud and clear, the DVD's are probably going to have some audio problems and the sound won't be loud enough.

I'm pretty sure the show originally had a laugh track, Shout Factory was probably given complete episodes with the laugh track removed. I have to check the Antenna TV airings and see if there is a laugh track, to me it really makes no difference laugh track or not. Laugh tracks can be annoying and sometimes shows are better off without them.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Eckhardt
Let me clear this up once and for all. Hazel was originally presented with a laugh track on all five seasons. I saw the original broadcasts of the episodes [snip]

That seems pretty clear to me. In fact I don't understand how that can be taken as unclear.




Quote:
I have a very nice DVD set of My Little Margie in which about 50-75% of the episodes are missing their laugh track.

That's probably about right, as my understanding is that only in the third season did they start using a laugh track on My Little Margie. Opposite the Hazel situation, a raucous laugh track was dubbed into syndicated prints circa the 1970s, so if you have episodes from earlier seasons in your collection that include a (obnoxiously fake) laugh track, those are doctored versions while the non-audience reaction versions are original.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:39 PM   #7
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Simple question --

Did ALL Hazel Season 2 episodes ORIGINALLY HAVE A LAUGHTRACK WHEN AIRED ON NETWORK TV. I'm hearing mixed things on other messageboards, like some did and some didn't.

Here are the choices -- YES or NO.

Please no speeches about kids that collect tapes, or about 16mm films or what WGN did or didn't do - please just answer the question.

[YES] or [NO]
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:41 PM   #8
Leslie Eckhardt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuddyHinton
Simple question --

Did ALL Hazel Season 2 episodes ORIGINALLY HAVE A LAUGHTRACK WHEN AIRED ON NETWORK TV. I'm hearing mixed things on other messageboards, like some did and some didn't.

Here are the choices -- YES or NO.

Please no speeches about kids that collect tapes, or about 16mm films or what WGN did or didn't do - please just answer the question.

[YES] or [NO]
As I said , all five seasons, INCLUDING SEASON TWO!!! had a laugh track, as originally presented, which means ON THE NETWORK!!!
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:57 PM   #9
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Thanks Leslie, sorry for sounding so bitter -- ok, now, why aren't they on the dvd sets that just released - any guesses?
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuddyHinton
Thanks Leslie, sorry for sounding so bitter -- ok, now, why aren't they on the dvd sets that just released - any guesses?
My only guess would be that in the case of some shows, the laugh track would be recorded in post-production for network prints, along with sponsor bumpers. (Here comes another story) In 1966 I read a TV Guide article about Phyllis Diller, then starring in her new show "The Pruitts of Southampton". The author of the article stated that the network brass was less than pleased with the first six shows filmed, but he said that that could be due to the fact that the laugh track had not yet been added to the shows, which led to them playing a bit flat in the comedy area.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:07 PM   #11
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The airings on Antenna TV also seem to be minus a laugh track, so the DVD episodes are probably taken from the same source as seen on Antenna TV, the big difference being that the DVD's have the complete episodes while Antenna TV's airings are edited for syndication.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:41 PM   #12
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Leslie but season one dvds had them..seems like this should too.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuddyHinton
Leslie but season one dvds had them..seems like this should too.
I agree, and Shout! Factory does it's best to get the best possible source prints for their DVDs. I don't think Sony took the care to preserve Hazel as much as they did some of their other, more popular series such as Bewitched, where they even went to the expense to colorize the early black-and-white episodes. I guess we're just lucky to get uncut episodes (unlike the eight first season Mister Ed episodes which were only 22 minutes long.) I've seen Hazel on Antenna TV, where the shows are rather badly cut, and the color can range from pretty good to just plain awful. Don't know why the first season still had the laugh tracks, but those shows were remastered by Sony some years after the color ones. (The b/w eps were not included in the 1980s syndication package and seeing them on DVD was the first time for me since the early 70s.) As you go through your DVDs, you will probably find a handful of second season shows with the laugh track, as there are a few like this showing on Antenna TV.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:18 AM   #14
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Interesting discussion. Leslie, you are a wealth of good information. I was born in the mid-60s so the first time I ever saw Hazel was when it was rerun in syndication in the early 1970s. Of course, I can't remember whether those shows had the laugh track or not. I have only watched four of the S2 episodes so far so will be on the lookout for a few to maybe have the laugh track as you suggested.

Personally, I am just glad to have Hazel on DVD and to have complete episodes is totally terrific. So I am a happy camper. But if one wanted to get nit-picky, to me most any sitcom is better with a well-crafted laugh track. That is, one that is not overly done but tasteful and subdued. However, with or without the laugh track, the main reason we watch these shows is for the show itself, the characters, the plots, etc. and not for the laugh tracks.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:04 PM   #15
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Sony remastered the 1st season episodes for their DVD release. Since Sony discontinued the Hazel DVD's after season 1, the remastering process likely stopped as well. Now with Shout Factory picking up the series, Shout is just a distributor they don't do any remastering that would have to be done by Sony. So the season 2 episodes are probably from the same source as currently seen on Antenna TV, but the DVD's have the uncut versions. Some episodes may have a laugh track and some may not.
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