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Old 12-28-2011, 03:53 PM   #1
Marshall
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Default Why is the Jackie Gleason Show/American Scene Magazine not on DVD or Blu-ray?

Hello all,

I apologize if I have this in the wrong section. I recently wrote an article on my Hubpage about five classic TV shows that remain unavailable on home video. One I listed was The Jackie Gleason Show/American Scene Magazine that featured Jackie performing characters like Reginald Van Gleason, The Poor Soul, Joe the Bartender, etc. Why aren't those shows out on DVD, Blu-ray, etc.? We have the Classic 39, The Lost Episodes, and The Color Honeymooners out on home video, but not the Miami variety shows/American Scene Magazine. Do you have any idea why?

Marshall


My list of five classic U.S. TV shows still unavailable on home video (not spam):

http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Fi...-on-home-video

and

My list of George Harrison's top five music videos (also not spam):

http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Th...eorge-Harrison
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall
We have the Classic 39, The Lost Episodes, and The Color Honeymooners out on home video, but not the Miami variety shows/American Scene Magazine. Do you have any idea why?
Probably not enough public interest. Unfortunately, at this point, it seems The Honeymooners is more profitable than Gleason himself.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill S.
Probably not enough public interest. Unfortunately, at this point, it seems The Honeymooners is more profitable than Gleason himself.
Bill,

Thanks for the reply. While understandable, that's too bad that The Honeymooners shows are more profitable than Gleason and his characters. I guess I'm fortunate to have a couple of DVD-R's of the half hour edited reruns of The American Scene Magazine/Jackie Gleason Show. These were syndicated, I believe, around the time that The Lost Episodes had been "discovered" in the 1980's.

Marshall


My list of five classic U.S. TV shows still unavailable on home video (not spam):

http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Fi...-on-home-video
and

My list of George Harrison's top five music videos (also not spam):

http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Th...eorge-Harrison
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:53 PM   #4
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I read online, perhaps on this board, that Paul Brownstein, who holds distribution rights to the American Scene Magazine, was not able to generate any interest in the material.

The ASM episodes were syndicated in 1979, but in their truncated form, were not successful. Once the opening production numbers and musical guests were excised, the remaining material was formatted to edited monologue, blackouts, and the Joe the Bartender sketches, lending a certain predictability to the syndicated package. Only 3 Christmas installments and a New Year's show wandered from the formula. Certainly, the fact that the show tried to comment on current events dates the material, too. It's a shame as I like what I have seen of the content.

The other attempt to package non-Honeymooners Gleason material, Gleason: He's The Greatest in 1989, also suffered from the editing of musical material. With only the Gleason character sketches remaining for the most part, one critic at the time wrote that the predictable sketch format did the impossible: it made Gleason boring.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall
Bill,

Thanks for the reply. While understandable, that's too bad that The Honeymooners shows are more profitable than Gleason and his characters. I guess I'm fortunate to have a couple of DVD-R's of the half hour edited reruns of The American Scene Magazine/Jackie Gleason Show. These were syndicated, I believe, around the time that The Lost Episodes had been "discovered" in the 1980's.

Marshall


My list of five classic U.S. TV shows still unavailable on home video (not spam):

http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Fi...-on-home-video
and

My list of George Harrison's top five music videos (also not spam):

http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Th...eorge-Harrison
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:49 PM   #5
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I'll add that I'm sure what is holding up a lot of other variety shows is also holding up Gleason shows as well: licensing issues and fees. Music seems to be a tricky situation and in order to get a show like this to look and feel like it did originally on, the original music needs to be included in my opinion. (Look at the DVD release of WKRP using "fake" music or editing out music all together, and how successful was that?)

With that said, I would still like to see MPI (or anyone) release some of the stuff on DVD. A "Jackie Gleason Christmas Collection" would be nice with all of the Christmas shows from his variety series packaged together would be a nice thing to have. I would especially like to see the Poor Soul Christmas be released. Again, I have not seen this show so I do not know what kind of music is included but that could possibly hold up a release. (Somewhere, maybe it was here or elsewhere on the web, I read a speculation that the reason the 1977 Christmas special was not released was due to license issues with the Burger King jingle being sung by Alice and Trixie. Seems silly that a ditty like that could hold up a release, but it is possible. I also seem to think MPI did plan to release both Christmas shows as "The Second Honeymoon" release has "Christmas SpecialS" on it.)

Plus, like Bill said, there just isn't enough interest in Gleason's non-Honeymooners work.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:12 PM   #6
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I'm not familiar with the Gleason: He's The Greatest shows. Did they include Joe the Bartender's sketches with Crazy Guggenheim (Frank Fontaine)? Sounds like a lot of the segments were from the 50's Gleason variety shows?

It's interesting that one American Scene Magazine Show from 1962 or so was sold on VHS years ago. I'm guessing it somehow was in the public domain, as it was on a non major label at a discount price.

Marshall

Five classic U.S. TV shows unavailable on home video (not spam):
http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Fi...-on-home-video

and

George Harrison's top five music videos (also not spam):
http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Th...eorge-Harrison
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:47 PM   #7
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It does seem silly that the old "Burger King" jingle prevented the "Honeymooners Christmas Carol" from being released. (If MPI was unwilling to pay the musical clearance issues, couldn't they have edited out that part where the girls sing the jingle?)

I do know that there was one episode of ASM that was released onto VHS (and to my surprise, DVD). It had the Honeymooners sketch "Two Below" (aka "Retreat To The Basement.") The VHS copy & and the DVD copy I believe were released by different companies if I am not mistaken due to the original company that released the VHS copy went out of business. I do have this sketch in my collection.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Gannucci
It does seem silly that the old "Burger King" jingle prevented the "Honeymooners Christmas Carol" from being released. (If MPI was unwilling to pay the musical clearance issues, couldn't they have edited out that part where the girls sing the jingle?)

I do know that there was one episode of ASM that was released onto VHS (and to my surprise, DVD). It had the Honeymooners sketch "Two Below" (aka "Retreat To The Basement.") The VHS copy & and the DVD copy I believe were released by different companies if I am not mistaken due to the original company that released the VHS copy went out of business. I do have this sketch in my collection.
The 1962 ASM episode you mention is probably one I remember seeing being sold on the GoodTimes Home Video label. I think GoodTimes was one of those video labels that sold public domain tapes and discs at very inexpensive prices. I'm not sure, but they might be one of those companies that would sell PD tapes and discs of things like The Little Rascals, The Three Stooges cartoons, and the 6 Hours of cartoons type products. So, I was hesitant to buy the one ASM show they sold.

Marshall

Five classic U.S. TV shows unavailable on home video (not spam):

http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Fi...-on-home-video

and

George Harrison's top five music videos (also not spam):

http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Th...eorge-Harrison

Last edited by Marshall; 12-30-2011 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall
I'm not familiar with the Gleason: He's The Greatest shows. Did they include Joe the Bartender's sketches with Crazy Guggenheim (Frank Fontaine)? Sounds like a lot of the segments were from the 50's Gleason variety shows?

It's interesting that one American Scene Magazine Show from 1962 or so was sold on VHS years ago. I'm guessing it somehow was in the public domain, as it was on a non major label at a discount price.

Marshall

Five classic U.S. TV shows unavailable on home video (not spam):
http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Fi...-on-home-video

and

George Harrison's top five music videos (also not spam):
http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Th...eorge-Harrison


Gleason: He's The Greatest was indeed culled from the 1950s Gleason Show. While Joe the Bartender was indeed part of the show, Crazy Guggenheim was only referenced to the unseen Mr. Dennehy. Frank Fontaine was not added until the ASM.

Benno, the Poor Soul Christmas relied heavily on the music of Leroy Anderson with some parts of the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky.
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Old 12-31-2011, 05:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBand
Gleason: He's The Greatest was indeed culled from the 1950s Gleason Show. While Joe the Bartender was indeed part of the show, Crazy Guggenheim was only referenced to the unseen Mr. Dennehy. Frank Fontaine was not added until the ASM.

Benno, the Poor Soul Christmas relied heavily on the music of Leroy Anderson with some parts of the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky.
Thanks for the info MrBand. I appreciate it.

Happy new year!

Marshall

Five classic U.S. TV shows still unavailable on home video (not spam):

http://marshfish.hubpages.com/hub/Fi...-on-home-video

My list of five collectible Paul McCartney compact discs (also not spam):

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Old 10-07-2019, 06:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBand View Post
I read online, perhaps on this board, that Paul Brownstein, who holds distribution rights to the American Scene Magazine, was not able to generate any interest in the material.

The ASM episodes were syndicated in 1979, but in their truncated form, were not successful. Once the opening production numbers and musical guests were excised, the remaining material was formatted to edited monologue, blackouts, and the Joe the Bartender sketches, lending a certain predictability to the syndicated package. Only 3 Christmas installments and a New Year's show wandered from the formula. Certainly, the fact that the show tried to comment on current events dates the material, too. It's a shame as I like what I have seen of the content.
It would appear that ASM's half-hour syndication (as The Jackie Gleason Show) may've been inspired by the success of the half-hour slicing and dicing of Benny Hill's 1969-78 Thames shows (up to that point) for the US syndicated market, to say nothing of Carol Burnett and Friends half-hour edits of her 1972-77 CBS variety shows (to only show the comedy sketches). For a time in fall 1979, WOR-TV in New York ran both Hill and the Gleason ASM half-hour edits back-to-back. But - the "Classic 39" Honeymooners notwithstanding - that ASM was all B&W also worked to its disadvantage.

At the point ASM's run ended in 1966, to give way to The Jackie Gleason Show for its last four years up to CBS's 1970 cancellation, Gleason admitted that some of the last year's shows in that format had the look of something "made on the way to the men's room" - which, ironically, described much of Benny's output after Dennis Kirkland became producer-director in 1979 and added Hill's Angels to the show the next year.
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:14 PM   #12
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Your thread title poses a good question. Certainly the Jackie Gleason show. I remember watching it as a young kid and loved it.
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