How Much Would You Pay for Your Holy Grail?

[NOTE: A placeholder for this column accidentally went live yesterday. I apologize for the error.]

I’m sure I’m not the only person who dreams about certain TV shows being released on DVD or, with physical media on the decline, being added to a streaming service like Netflix or Warner Archive Instant. At the top of my list is The New People. The short-lived ABC drama, which ran for 17 episodes during the 1969-1970 season, is my Holy Grail of television.

I’ll Open My Wallet…

Over the years, I’ve given some thought to how much money I’m willing to spend to own The New People on DVD. I think I’ll be okay with shelling out around $100. That might seem like a lot for just 17 episodes. It comes out to almost $6 per episode. Also, recall that The New People ran in a 45-minute time slot. The episodes should clock in at roughly 38 minutes without commercials. That adds up to around 10.5 hours of content.

Last year, Shout! Factory released the first season of The Defenders on DVD with a suggested retail price of $44.99. That’s around $1.40 for each of the 32 episodes. At around 50 minutes each, they add up to about 26.5 hours of content.

In this fantasy world, I’m getting uncut, pristine new transfers of The New People for my $100. Maybe even a Blu-ray set with high definition transfers. The alternate, unaired hour-long version of the pilot episode is included, of course. Perhaps some bonus features, like a documentary exploring Rod Serling’s involvement with The New People.

Let’s be honest: to own The New People, I’ll gladly spend $100 for lousy VHS copies of the episodes.

Uncut Episodes or No Sale?

When it comes to obscure television shows, it’s hard to be picky. A perfect DVD release may not be possible. Earlier this month, Kino Lorber announced plans to release Coronet Blue on DVD. No details are available yet but I’m hopeful the episodes will be uncut and the quality will be decent if not great. I’m planning on lifting my self-imposed moratorium on buying classic TV on DVD for this show.

In terms of price, let’s go back to Shout! Factory and The Defenders. If Shout! can offer 32 episodes for $44.99, I’d like to think Kino Lorber can put out 13 episodes of Coronet Blue for considerably less. But who knows. The DVD set may very well end up with a high price tag due to licensing fees and costs to transfer the episodes. Do I want to pay $45 for Coronet Blue? No, but I will.

What happens if the episodes aren’t uncut? Is that a deal breaker? Uncut episodes are important to me, as both a viewer and an amateur historian, but if the only way to own Coronet Blue on DVD is to accept edited episodes, am I okay with that? The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams is only available on DVD with edited episodes. It will probably never be available uncut. Fans either have to suck it up and purchase the edited DVDs or go without the show entirely.

There’s also the issue of music replacements. I doubt it will be a problem with Coronet Blue but many TV shows, popular and forgotten, are released on DVD with music replaced. For some people, that may be a deal breaker.

Streaming

Given the choice, I’d much rather own obscure TV shows on DVD rather than stream them. DVDs are mine forever, at least until they’re too scratched to play properly. Streaming availability lasts until a license expires and then the episodes disappear. Currently, I subscribe to both Netflix and Amazon Prime. Let’s say Hulu announces it has acquired all 17 episodes of The New People. Would I spend $7.99 a month to subscribe to Hulu to watch The New People. You bet. I’d even pay $11.99 a month to watch them without commercials.

Actually, I’d probably sign up for the 30-day free trial, watch the episodes, and then cancel my subscription.


How much are you willing to pay for your holy grail on DVD? Will you subscribe to a streaming service if it acquires your holy grail? Are edited episodes or music replacements a deal breaker? Hit the comments with your thoughts.


38 Comments

  • charles perry says:

    I would love to see the old P&G soaps streamed. There was such a service on AOL about 10 years ago. It should include Search For Tomorrow, As The World Turns, Another World, Guiding Light, and my all-time P&G fave The Edge of Night.

  • michael s says:

    I have been able to find many TV series on my wish lists at YouTube or with the collector’s markets. But many may not exist such as AMAZING MR MALONE (ABC, 51-52) that was done live. Usually it takes patience, luck and lots of shopping to find one on your want list. Age doesn’t matter. 21 BEACON STREET is hard to find but so is GOOD TIME HARRY and LEAVING L.A.

    Price in the black market varies but I try to limit myself to under $40 just as I do for official DVDs. I like streaming but times I want to own so I pay to download or DVD such as I did with WB’s THE ELEVENTH HOUR.

    DELPHI BUREAU is high on my list but I refuse to buy the official release of the TV Movie pilot because WB edited it. Luckily I have an old Video Tape copy of the full TV movie. I have found one of the TV episodes and still am desperate for the rest of the series episodes.

    I have over thirty TV series on my “bucket list.” The collector’s market has existed since fans collected movie memorabilia, but with the internet and you tube it is easier to find your favorite lost show.

  • Devon Rains says:

    Coronet Blue was mine, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear here that it was being released on DVD!!! I’ve been grinning ever since.

  • charles perry says:

    Now that you have corrected and expanded the original post, I will announce my choice for a prime time series. It is a 2005 Fox show called “The Inside”, and it dealt with a young woman joining an organization that searches for extreme criminals. If this sounds like “Criminal Minds”, it actually predated the show, and ironically its lead actress Rachel Nichols spent half a season on CM years later. 13 episodes were produced but only 7 were ever broadcast. I can say with absolute certainty that it is the “Coronet Blue” of the new millennium. I would be as happy as Devon if someone would put the entire series on DVD or streaming.

  • michael s says:

    The entire series is currently on YouTube – all 13 episodes. This series comes and vanishes often due to copyright. But now check out episode one and click on subscribe and you will find the rest of the full episodes. You have good taste.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnyyzAZ1fAg

    • charles perry says:

      Thanks for both the compliment and the advice, Michael. I never thought of doing a YouTube search, proably because Fox keeps such a tight rein on their shows, Clearly, they are transfers from video, but at this late date it’s better than nothing.

  • Karen Martin says:

    $12.99 with free shipping. Back in the late 1980s, when I was one of the last people in the country without a VCR, the cable channel Nostalgia was showing Howard Duff’s 1960 series Dante. It wasn’t silver-plated Classic Television, but I loved it — especially one episode that I longed to own.

    About 25 years after watching my favorite episode I was out of work & in serious financial distress. I vowed to not spend money on anything that wasn’t a necessity, then received a notice that Dante was available on eBay. I gave into temptation, went on eBay & found two different DVD sets. One set had a cheesy looking cover, only 23 episodes, & was several dollars cheaper than the other option.

    I allowed myself to buy the $12.99 Dante DVDs. Not the best quality video reproduction, but the episodes are fun to watch — especially my favorite, which is titled Misfortune Cookie. It cost me several skipped home-cooked meals, but I’m glad I went hungry to get what I’d wanted for a quarter of a century.

    • michael s says:

      DANTE is also on YouTube. I consider it one of the best TV series on American networks in the 60s. The Duff weekly series was based on a recurring character in 1950s TV series FOUR STAR PLAYHOUSE. Created by Blake Edwards snd starred Dick Powell. The Duff version was much better.

      There is always debate over copyrights and the collectors who share or sell shows they do not own. I am of the VCR culture where all I want to do is watch it. If Duff’s DANTE was available officially I would buy the studio version, but if the studio doesn’t want to make it available I will buy it from collectors or download it from YouTube. Many of these shows would not exist if there were not collectors saving them.

      I wish there were more MOD (Made On Demand) where the studio makes copies as fans order. There is less risk for the studio to lose money and for those of us who love and remember the forgotten shows of the past can see those shows again.

      T.H.E. CAT barely survives. One of the best shows TV has ever had is reduced to prints so bad the color has faded to black and white. I would give much to see T.H.E. CAT again in a restored print in beautiful color. Today the series survives with collectors and on YouTube (my favorite episode is “The Sandman”).

      Karen I know why you skipped a few meals to see the shows that mean so much to us. Sometime it is important for us to deal with our other needs beyond our stomach.

      • Karen Martin says:

        Thanks for reminding me about T.H.E. Cat. I recall liking it when I was in grade school, but didn’t remember much beyond once liking it. So I went to YouTube (via my aging Kindle Fire & landlord provided WiFi) and watched To Kill a Priest and The Sandman.

        Way cool! Good music, handsome mystery man who doesn’t flinch when five guns are pointed at him because he knows he’ll escape.

        Would I pay a bunch of money to have a good DVD set of the entire series? Alas, I’m only working part-time hours, and my poor car has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. (Curse you road salt, enemy of all things metal.)

        I can’t sacrifice much for a complete series set, but if I ever find a best-episode single DVD of T.H.E. Cat at a rummage sale I’m emptying out my change purse to buy it.

  • Tom DiMaaggio says:

    My favorite actress is Shirley MacLaine so I would love to have her very short-lived TV series “Shirley’s World” on dvd. I believe, of all the episodes filmed, only a few made it on air. No matter the quality of writing or plot, I’d love to add it to my collection.

  • michael s says:

    Shirley’s World was an ITC production and done in England. Like other such shows (THE SAINT, THE AVENGERS, THE PRISONER) it was sold to air on American TV. It is available on DVD but it is Region 2 Pal and won’t play on American machines unless your DVD player is multi-region. These type players can be cheap ($35 for example) and found on Amazon.

    The DVD is from Network DVD. Amazon has it for sale from a seller and I guess others as well. You can buy it direct from here
    http://networkonair.com/shop/820-shirley-s-world-the-complete-series.html

  • Days of Broken Arrows says:

    There was a TV show that starred Ron Howard in between his stints on “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Happy Days.” It was called “The Smith Family” and only ran for one season, 1971-72.

    Not sure how much I’d pay, but I’d definitely throw down some bucks to see it. Not only does it star Howard along with Henry Fonda (who played the father on the show), but it looks like an interesting time capsule of the time period.

    I’m sure there’s not an audience for this, or it would be out on DVD already. But with Howard and Fonda in it, it’s part of history, so I wish someone would bring it back somehow. You listening, GetTV?

    • charles perry says:

      I remember that show. The theme song was “Primrose Lane” and it was sung by Mike Minor, best remembered for “Petticoat Junction”.

      • Jon says:

        There were at least 2 different openings for THE SMITH FAMILY, 1 of them “Primrose Lane” (It makes sense that Mike Minor sang it as he was producer Don Fedderson’s son.) and the other (I think from Season 2) a screeching theme that emphasized Henry Fonda’s character’s law enforcement profession. I’ve seen both openings on You Tube.
        THE SMITH FAMILY lasted 1 1/2 seasons and 39 episodes on ABC-TV. Strangely enough, Wiki states that while ABC aired the show, Fedderson produced it in association with CBS. Fedderson most likely gave Fonda the same production deal that his other series stars Fred MacMurray, Brian Keith, & John Forsythe had, filming around them so that their own scenes could be completed in 13 weeks or less per season.

    • michael s says:

      There are places you can check for bootleg copies. I found a DVD with 5 episodes of THE SMITH FAMILY at iOffer for $17.99. The seller did not mention the quality but it won’t be a great remaster like print you would find on a official studio release.

      iOffer is like eBay where people sell their stuff. I have used them often and have had no problems. While you still will dream of the full season on an studio produced DVD. This could be a good temporary fix.

  • Todd says:

    $118.80, plus $6.95 shipping, will buy you the first half of the first season of The Jimmy Dean Show (15 episodes). For that price, I assume that all of the episodes are intact and there are no missing musical performances. I wouldn’t have a problem paying $250/season for a handful of my absolute favorites that aren’t on DVD (The rest of The Defenders, Mr. Novak, NYPD), but I don’t imagine many would.

    • charles perry says:

      Be careful about bootlegs. they may not play on your machine and may not have the full content of the program!!

    • michael s says:

      The infomercial for that JIMMY DEAN SHOW offer is available to watch at YouTube. YouTube also has many clips from the show including featuring Muppett’s Rowlf (who was a regular) and a clip from the final show where Jimmy tells the audience CBS just cancelled the show. What they are offering for the show seems way over-priced but it does offer enough extras to make it worth it for the willing fan.

      Ebay offers a 3 DVD set of THE BEST OF JIMMY DEAN for $25 + shipping. Cheap but it might be all you need.

      • charles perry says:

        Just a quick clarification: the Jimmy Dean series that Todd seeks out was on ABC. The cancelation announcement that Michael refers to occurred on a daytime series that preceded the variety show. That clip is on YouTube and was included to illustarate how humble Dean was even when something bad happened.

      • michael s says:

        Thanks, Charles for correcting me.

  • Todd says:

    Charles,
    The Jimmy Dean Show release that I referenced is a legitimate release, not a bootleg. I mentioned it, in the spirit of the original post, as an illustration of the price that some might pay for a show that they truly enjoy.

    • charles perry says:

      I apologize for any ill feelings. In my defense, Ebay is notorious for bootlegs, Check TVShowsonDVD.com to establish whether or not a DVD is authorized.

      • Todd says:

        No ill feelings. You are 100% correct about bootlegs, and tvshowsondvd.com is an excellent (though not comprehensive) resource. The Jimmy Dean Show rights are held by Mr. Dean’s widow. She is responsible for the above mentioned release.

  • Patrick McNamara says:

    There is a copy of the pilot for The New People floating around.

    Looking at the preview reminds me not only of Lost but The 100.

    Given that many rarer TV shows are showing up on DVD there’s a good chance that as long as copies exist it will get eventually get a DVD release.

    The shows that I was most interested in, The Fantastic Journey, I was able to get hold of years ago. But there are a few Saturday Morning Preview specials I would like to see, especially the early 70s ABC ones.

    • michael s says:

      There is an article here about THE NEW PEOPLE including some interesting links. I have not found it yet.

      FANTASTIC JOURNEY and similar OTHERWORLD are both on YouTube and easy to download.

      There are a few Sat Morn previews on YouTube. The 1974 NBC is a full episodes, others are clips.

      • Patrick McNamara says:

        I believe both Fantastic Journey and Otherworld had DVD releases and aren’t as hard to find as they use to be. Seeing FJ again made me realize just how much of a mess the show was.

        I’ve already got whatever previews YouTube has, although I check every now and then to see if new ones appear. Wikipedia lists the various preview specials but many of them just aren’t available anywhere and may not even exist anymore. I pretty much recorded everything from 1992 onward. The rest I have came from various Internet sources, like YouTube, The Internet Archive and other sites.

  • Jim says:

    I would love to see the complete Run of the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour “Uncut” on TV again

    • charles perry says:

      Shout Factory TV has several episodes, but because of music rights it is highly unlikely the full series will ever show up on DVD.

  • James Shell says:

    My “holy grails” are mostly programs that are thought to be lost forever — episodes of the Steve Allen Tonight Show and early Johnny Carson Tonight Shows, kinescopes of early live shows, and sporting events that are known to have been televised but are not known to have been recorded in any way (especially old World Series games and the NFL games that Dumont broadcast in the early fifties). Probably they will never be found, but there’s always a chance. If any of these are found, I’d hope they would be made available to the public at reasonable prices.

  • Jon says:

    My own “holy grail” wasn’t a tv show but instead a certain edition of an issue of TV Guide. I had always wanted a copy of TV Guide covering program for the week I was born from the home edition for the place I was born. I bought a copy of the issue of my birth week in a used bookstore more than 30 years ago now, but it was from a different edition with different tv stations. A few years ago on EBay I saw someone selling a bunch of TV Guides individually from the summer when I was born, and I bought quite a few of them, but I didn’t find my issue listed there. I sent a message to the seller asking about that issue, and he said he’d already sold that issue to someone else for $9.50. Lo and behold I saw that issue (The issues all had the same subscription label.), so I paid that seller $37 for it, as he’d apparently just bought it to turn around & resell it for a lot more $. I ended up thinking, though, that I got the better of the deal, since I told myself I’d have paid up to $100 for that issue.

    • charles perry says:

      I used to collect TV Guides and I hated it when they switched formats in 2005. I kinda wish I had a Philadelphia edition from November 22nd, 1958.

      • Jon says:

        I ended my own TV Guide subscription, which I’d started back in 1980 as a teenager, after the 2005 format change with no local listings. My subscription at the time finally ran out in Dec. 2006, and I haven’t been a subscriber since.

        Nov. 22, 1958 was the issue with Ronald & Nancy Reagan on the cover, promoting an upcoming tv show of theirs called “A Turkey for the President”, which I thought was somewhat ironic given their future residence at the White House. You can read a nice review of that issue by Mitchell Hadley here:
        http://www.itsabouttv.com/2015/11/this-week-in-tv-guide-november-22-1958.html

  • charles perry says:

    Thanks for the link. It’s interesting to see what things were like back then. Incidentally, my birthday is the 23rd, the same day as “A Turkey For The President” as well as “Shady Deal At Sunny Acres”, the Maverick episode with John Dehner [Also born Nov. 23rd] as an evil banker who swindles Bret, Funny how those titles describe our current state of affairs. Finally. a confession: Although I hate the lack of TV listings, which are usually wrong anyway, I still have a subscription. However, I subscribe through a service which costs less than $10 a year, about the same cost as 2 issues in the supermarket. I can remember when the price was only 15 cents.

  • James Smith says:

    One hundred dollars is a great deal of money when you don’t have a good paying job. For a short lived series such as “The New People,” it should be approximately thirty to fifty dollars. That’s in the best of all possible worlds.

  • Shawn Mulligan says:

    I don’t know if any of you know these shows, but the 1957-1964 “Herge’s Adventures of Tintin” is my holy grail, followed closely by The Paul Lynde Show and Nanny and the Professor. Tintin is indeed available on YouTube, but only in its re-aired 10 minute format or scandalous movie formatting. A true fan such as myself wants it in the original 5 minute format.

    As for Nanny… It’s currently on Hulu but I don’t get Hulu… Paul is on YouTube, but no all the episodes…

  • Tim Lukeman says:

    I’d love to have a complete set (including the 5 unaired episodes) of “Nothing Sacred” from the late 1990s, and an uncut set of “Then Came Bronson” as well.

    • charles perry says:

      I don’t remember “Nothing Sacred”, but I suspect that with Michael Parks’ death [RIP}, there may be some hope for “Bronson”.

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