Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Look what they’ve done to my song, Ma

I took a temporary respite from the blog yesterday to spend most of the day with the ‘rents; I had those eBay packages to resend and decided that I’d just go over a little sooner rather than hang around my joint all day, which earned me lunch as well as dinner. (On the way back, Dad informed me that he had to stop by KFC—and my little half-assed gourmand started to sing inside, because there’s nothing better on this green Earth than some deep-fried, bad-for-you-in-every-way poultry from the place that my sister’s gal pal Katie calls “the crack cocaine of fast food.” Unfortunately, Dad only needed cole slaw to go with the hot dogs Mom was preparing.) Dinner was a delight: baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, green beans, stuffing, crescent rolls and a small cheesecake for dessert. (Mumsy and I got looped on a bottle of Korbel as well.)

I didn’t watch anything on the tube, so I have no movie reviews to offer—but I did see the blurb over at about how CBS-Paramount is “graciously” fixing the music problem with The Fugitive: Season 2, Volume 1 DVD box set:

In response to fans of the classic TV series THE FUGITIVE, CBS DVD is offering a new version of Season 2, Volume 1 – with much of the original music restored – free to purchasers of the initial release. We hope they concur that we not only put TV DVD on a pedestal, but also our customers. To obtain the new version, go to and follow the instructions.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Ivan,” you’re saying to yourself right now, “you bought one of those Season 2: Volume 1 sets. Don’t tell me you went ahead and did something bone-headedly foolish by selling it on eBay before you got the opportunity to cash in on this deal.” Since you’re already way ahead of me on the narrative, I won’t tell you…but will instead compliment you on your amazing powers of deduction. The good news is, the person that bought my copy will be able to take advantage of this—and I wish them good fortune in doing so. All any customer has to do is send CBS-Paramount the two proof-of-purchase tabs from the DVD artwork (on the back of the box) and tape it to a downloaded PDF form, then send it off to CBS via snail mail.

So, let’s write a new scenario. Let’s suppose I’ve decided to forgive and forget CBS’ botched Fugitive release, and I’ll purchase another copy of the set since they’ve apparently made things right. Will the second release I purchase contain the corrected discs? No, it will not. What I will have to do is buy the set and then go through this exchange program nonsense…and I have to do this by September 1, 2009. Supposing someone buys the Season 2, Volume 1 set after that date, unaware of the problems with the collection? Maybe they missed the announcement on TVShows…or even here, since TDOY was obviously shut out of Time magazine’s Top 25 Blogs of 2009 list? Sounds to me that Joe DVD-Watcher is SOL. For more on this, let’s check in with my esteemed blogging colleague Rick Brooks at Cultureshark:

But why should we do cartwheels just yet? I went to Home Theater Forum yesterday to look at some reaction to the news, and when one poster dared to express a reservation, Lacey responded with a snide post that indicated how thankful we should be Paramount is doing this.

Let's keep some perspective, though. The discs aren't available at retail, meaning someone who wants the set in its "correct" form has to go buy a crappy set and THEN go through the mail process. The sets are still expensive and in ridiculous split-season format, and I won't be surprised if "the cost of clearing this music" makes future sets MORE expensive. Furthermore, as far as I know,
Paramount is still hacking up "My Three Sons."

So, yeah, I'm glad
Paramount seems to be fixing a problem here, but I reserve the right to wait and see. This company lost the benefit of the doubt with the way it handled the issue in the first place. I haven't been back to the Home Theater Forum today--I suspect by now the thread could be 10 pages long--so maybe some of these issues have been addressed. But I'm not as ready as Mr. Lacey to embrace Paramount despite this pleasant surprise.

I agree 100% with Rick on this issue. (I also admire his fearlessness: I won’t go over to HTF anymore unless I’ve got BobH and a couple of Sherpa loaded for bear with me.) What Mr. Lacey calls a “classy move on the part of the studio” is a bit of hyperbole; the situation should never have happened from the get-go, and the replacement program still has a few bugs in it, as both Rick and I have pointed out.

As of this post, I haven’t reached the point of demanding the heads of CBS DVD executives on spikes; I think that with the exception of The Fugitive and My Three Sons music debacles they still do a splendid job with their TV-on-DVD releases and I’ll still support them (in fact, I ordered the Petticoat Junction: Season 1 and The Beverly Hillbillies: Season 3 sets over the weekend). But in the matter of The Fugitive, CBS really screwed the pooch on this one and in an effort to make things right (and even that is still up in the air, with the “much of the original music restored” hedging open to a good deal of interpretation) they’ve opened a window of opportunity that will unfortunately will slam shut come the first of September.

To finish my rant for today, TVShows also had an interesting tidbit about the whereabouts of the Timeless Media Video release of Laramie: The Complete Third Season, which was supposed to be released about a week ago (February 10). I ordered my copy from DVD Pacific (though has the best price, at $32.05) and the street date at both Pacific and is listed as February 24. Since that item was posted, however, a sharp-eyed observer answering to “Gary” has spotted the set at Sam’s Club, so I’ll assume that the set will be on its way to Rancho Yesteryear shortly.


Bobh said...

Ivan, there still will be Mark Heyes' replacement music on these replacement discs . . . . just not as much as exists on the current discs. The speculation (and hope) is that CBS Paramount will restore all but those music cues for which they were unable to secure the rights; presumably, these are the music cues from the Capitol music library that have been in question. See Jon Burlingame's Film Music Society article for, perhaps, the best explanation of "The Fugitive" music debacle at:

Outside of bootleg copies of the show, I don't believe that we'll ever hear all of the original music for this show again . . . . at least in "home entertainment" form.


Bobh said...

The web address is apparently too long for the John Burlingame article so just Google "Jon Burlingame" along with "The Fugitive" and you'll be taken to the appropriate web page.


Rick Brooks said...

I didn't even grasp that September deadline concept at first.

Hey, I still like Paramount, too. After all they did a great job on Bilko. Of course, they ditched it after the best-of set.

And they got all of The Odd Couple out there. Of course, they made a ton of small music-related cuts.

Well, at least they got The Honeymooners (Classic 39) right. Of course, it would have been nice to get some more bonus material--eh, I think I'm just being picky on this one.