My Friend Flicka & Custer Coming to DVD

A few days ago, Warner Archive revealed it will be releasing The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, McClain’s Law, and the first season of The Eleventh Hour on DVD next month. Now comes word that Shout! Factory is releasing a pair of one season wonders on DVD exclusively through Walmart: My Friend Flicka (CBS, 1956-1957) and Custer (ABC, 1967).

Cover to My Friend Flicka: The Complete Series on DVD

My Friend Flicka: The Complete Series (Courtesy of Shout! Factory/Walmart)

According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, although My Friend Flicka: The Complete Series has a release date of May 24th (that’s today) it might not be available everywhere for a few weeks. Also, an Amazon listing exists for the DVD with an August 23rd release date but TVShowsOnDVD.com has confirmed with Shout! Factory that the Amazon listing is a mistake.

Custer: The Complete Series will be released on June 6th.

Presumably, both of these DVD sets will eventually get a general release outside of Walmart, although I can’t confirm that.

(via Home Theater Forum)

WCBW Schedule, Week of November 16th, 1941

Here’s the schedule for WCBW, the CBS station in New York City, for the week starting Sunday, November 16th, 1941, straight from daily television listings printed in The New York Times. As always, the station was off the air on Sunday.

The only test pattern broadcast by this week was on Saturday. Otherwise, at least based on these TV listings, WCBW was completely test pattern free.

This week’s Children’s Story program featured “A Voyage to Lilliput,” likely an adaptation of the first part of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

Monday’s Men at Work variety show featured acrobats, dancers, the Singing Debs, a comedian, and a tap dancer. I believe comedian Eddie Maye Hoff is the same Eddie Mayehoff who was later one of the hosts of the pioneering NBC variety show Hour Glass from 1946 to 1947.

The station continued to toy with its Friday schedule, this week airing amateur films at 8:15PM.

Sunday, November 16th, 1941
No Programs Scheduled

Monday, November 17th, 1941 [1]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Boys in the Back Room
3:15PM – Children’s Story: A Voyage to Lilliput
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30PM – Variety Show [Men at Work]: Ried and Mack, Acrobats; Franco and Beryle, Dancers; Singing Debs; Eddie Maye Hoff, Comedian; George Church, Tap Dancer.

Tuesday, November 18th, 1941 [2]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Dancing Lesson
3:15PM – Children’s Story: A Voyage to Lilliput
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30PM – Metropolitan Museum of Art
9-9:30PM – Sports–Bob Edge

Wednesday, November 19th, 1941 [3]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Table Talk with Helen Sioussat
3:15PM – Children’s Story: A Voyage to Lilliput
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30-9:30PM – Country Dance

Thursday, November 20th, 1941 [4]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Metropolitan Museum of Art
3:15PM – Children’s Story: A Voyage to Lilliput
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Sports-Bob Edge
8:30-9:30PM – Visual Quiz

Friday, November 21st, 1941 [5]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Film
3:15PM – Children’s Story: A Voyage to Lilliput
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Amateur Films
9-10PM – Sports–Bob Edge: Badminton

Saturday, November 22nd, 1941 [6]
2:00PM – Test Pattern
2:30-4:30PM – Films

Note: Television listings published in newspapers were based on information provided by stations and were subject to change at the last minute. They may not be an accurate representation of what actually aired.

Works Cited:

1 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 17 Nov. 1941: 36.
2 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 18 Nov. 1941: 50.
3 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 19 Nov. 1941: 44.
4 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 20 Nov. 1941: 54.
5 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 21 Nov. 1941: 34.
6 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 22 Nov. 1941: 30.

Nielsen Bottom 10, November 9th-15th, 1987

Week 8 of the 1987-1988 season started on Monday, November 9th, 1987 and ended on Sunday, November 15th, 1987. The highest-rated program was The Cosby Show on NBC with a 33.9/51 Nielsen rating/share and 46.9 million viewers according to AGB Television Research.

Here are the 10 lowest-rated programs on TV during Week 8 of the 1987-1988 season:

## Program Network Rating Viewers
61 The Pursuit of Happiness ABC 9.2/15 13,200,000
62 Buck James ABC 9.1/15 9,400,000
63 Ohara ABC 8.8/15 12,400,000
64 Hotel ABC 8.3/16 12,700,000
65 Houston Knights CBS 8.2/12 12,000,000
66 Sable ABC 7.9/14 10,200,000
67 Sledge Hammer! ABC 7.7/12 11,000,000
68 Dead Man’s Folly (movie) CBS 7.5/13 11,800,000
69 West 57th CBS 6.9/13 11,900,000
70 The Charmings ABC 6.3/9 9,600,000

Copyright A.C. Nielsen Co. and AGB Television Research

Note: USA Today did not begin including FOX programming in its weekly rating charts until December 1988.

After four straight weeks with the lowest-rated show on the air, CBS must have been happy to see ABC’s The Charmings sink to the bottom of the Nielsen chart, just below West 57th. It was a pretty bad week for ABC, which placed seven shows in the Bottom 10. The other three were CBS shows.

CBS made big changes to its Saturday lineup beginning November 14th. It put My Sister Sam on hiatus while cancelling Everything’s Relative and Leg Work. Replacing those three shows from 8-10PM was The CBS Saturday Night Movie, which debuted with Dead Man’s Folly. The broadcast just barely out-rated the shows it replaced. West 57th from 10-11 also performed poorly.

As for ABC, its Saturday lineup did almost as bad. Sable, Ohara, and Hotel were all in the Bottom 10.

A special hour-long episode of The Cosby Show on Thursday, November 12th negatively impacted The Charmings on ABC from 8:30-9PM. The sitcom ranked dead last for the week. Sledge Hammer! from 8-8:30PM performed only a little bit better.

ABC also had trouble with The Pursuit of Happiness on Friday, November 13th. The new sitcom was the weakest link in the network’s Friday lineup. Likewise, Buck James was the network’s lowest-rated program on Sunday, November 15th.

Also of note: Frank’s Place (CBS, Monday, November 9th) tied for 47th for the week; “A Special Evening of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” (CBS, Wednesday, November 11th) tied for 57th; I Married Dora (ABC, Friday, November 13th) tied for 56th; and Our House (NBC, Sunday, November 15th) ranked 53rd.

Source:
“Using this chart.” USA Today. 18 Nov. 1987: 03.d

Warner Archive Releasing The Eleventh Hour and McClain’s Law on DVD in June

Yesterday, Warner Archive tweeted a short video of a stack of DVDs that are being released next month. Several may be of interest to fans of short-lived TV shows. Here’s the tweet in question:


As you can see, Warner Archive will be releasing the first season of The Eleventh Hour (1962-1964) as well as McClain’s Law (1981-1982). Also coming out in June will be The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1968-1969). All three shows originally aired on NBC.

Note that the first season of The Eleventh Hour has been split into two half-season sets. Hopefully Warner Archive is already working on preparing the second season for DVD as well.

Both the first season of The Eleventh Hour and McClain’s Law have been available through the Warner Archive Instant streaming service. The Eleventh Hour is currently available for streaming right now; McClain’s Law was removed in April. I don’t believe The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has ever been available for streaming through Warner Archive Instant.

The tweet clearly states that the entire stack of DVDs will be “coming next month” but right now none of three TV titles are showing up on the Warner Archive website or at Amazon.

Meet The Man Who Saved Movin’ On

I may be exaggerating slightly with the title of this post yet to some degree it’s true. If not for Mark Rathaus, Movin’ On would never have returned to television or be available via streaming. For those not familiar with the TV series, it ran for two seasons and 44 episodes on NBC from 1974 to 1976. Claude Akins and Frank Converse starred as truck drivers Sonny Pruitt and Will Chandler. Sonny was a grizzled big rig veteran who owned the truck the pair drove and Will his younger, more educated co-driver.

A pilot telefilm titled In Tandem, created by Barry J. Weitz and Philip D’Antoni, aired in May 1974. Their company–D’Antoni/Weitz Television Productions–produced both the pilot and Movin’ On. Through the company, the two also retained ownership of the series. Decades later, that ownership would play a pivotal role in Movin’ On being resurrected.

How Movin’ On was rescued from relative obscurity makes for a fascinating story and Mark was kind enough to share some details with me.

A Family Connection

Mark Rathaus just so happens to be Philip D’Antoni’s son-in-law. “I knew that Phil produced Movin’ On,” Mark told me in an e-mail, “but it didn’t mean anything to me until 2006 when he mentioned that he and Barry Weitz had financed the series themselves and owned the rights. I asked had he ever tried to market the shows. One of his sons had once tried to find the original elements but had failed. I asked would it be alright if I tried.”

Mark was given the green light to go ahead and try to track down the film elements. He started making phone calls. It helped that he’s a film editor and knows how to handle and work with film. “I finally found out that Fox had the elements scattered in several of their vaults. Some elements came from Hollywood and some from Kansas City. The last materials I found were the In Tandem elements, which were inventoried under a different name than Movin’ On, so were stored in a different location.”

Movin' On Film Can (Courtesy of Mark Rathaus)

Movin’ On Film Can (Courtesy of Mark Rathaus)

However, collecting the original film elements was only the first step. Before he could start digitizing and remastering the episodes, Mark needed to find a distributor. That’s where Steve Rodgers of the Peter Rodgers Organization (PRO) got involved. “It was essential that Steve make a sale,” Mark explained. No sale meant no money to remaster the series. “The transfer from original negative to digital, dust-busting, color correction, subtitling, and renewing copyrights is very expensive.” Fortunately, PRO was able to make a sale and the remastering process got underway.

Movin’ On Returns To TV & Starts Streaming

It took a long time to finish a set of new masters but in June 2011 Movin’ On began airing on the Retro Television Network and My Family TV (now known as The Family Channel). It was the first time the series had aired on TV in decades. The series also aired on RFD-TV at some point in 2012 or 2013. Movin’ On is no longer airing on Retro TV or RFD-TV but can still be seen every Monday at 8PM and 11PM ET on The Family Channel.

Mark and PRO didn’t stop with television. They wanted to make Movin’ On as widely available as possible. The first season was added to Hulu in May 2012 followed by the second season in September 2014. Episodes were also available via the PRO Classic TV Roku channel around the same time.


In March of this year, PRO launched its own streaming service where Movin’ On and more than a dozen other TV series can be watched commercial free for a small fee.

A Possible DVD Release

The episodes on Hulu look incredible but Mark isn’t entirely satisfied. “I’m extremely happy with both image and sound quality. I still see an occasional imperfection, which I hope to fix when we go to DVD.” At this point, there is no definite plan to release the series on DVD. Mark remains hopeful. “Unfortunately, DVD sales are way down from where they had been, so finding a partner to manufacture, market, and distribute DVDs has been a challenge. I do expect that eventually we will find a way to offer DVDs.”

Likewise, Mark would like to make the pilot telefilm available as well once a significant financial hurdle has been overcome. “We have the original film elements so it’s just a matter of remastering. Again, we are seeking a partner who can offer enough of an advance to allow us to begin the very expensive remastering process.”

Meanwhile, Movin’ On has an official website and Facebook page. The first piece of officially-licensed Movin’ On memorabilia in over 40 years was issued earlier this year and additional merchandise is in the works.

Expensive But Worth It

Mark is clearly passionate about Movin’ On. That’s good, because so far the project isn’t making anyone a lot of money. “To date we still have taken very little profit. Nearly every penny of our licensing fees have gone toward repaying the remastering expenses.” That doesn’t mean Movin’ On won’t eventually turn a profit. Hopefully it will, because the more successful it becomes, the more likely it is that others will be inspired to attempt similiar revivals of short-lived and relatively forgotten TV series owned by their original producer(s) or their estate(s).

Although not common, there are a handful of earlier examples like Steve Canyon, My Living Doll, and I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster. All of these have either been entirely or partially released on DVD. In the case of I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster, the sitcom’s creator–Leonard Stern–was instrumental in getting the first half of the series released on DVD.

Fans of Movin’ On can now enjoy the series on television and via streaming–and potentially on DVD at some point–all because Mark Rathaus had a conversation with his father-in-law. So the next time you’re talking to your in-laws, be sure to ask if they own the rights to any TV shows.

WCBW Schedule, Week of November 9th, 1941

Here’s the schedule for WCBW, the CBS station in New York City, for the week starting Sunday, November 9th, 1941, straight from daily television listings printed in The New York Times. As always, the station was off the air on Sunday.

As was the case last week, the listings suggest WCBW was cutting back on the number of test patterns it broadcast every week. There were no test patterns listed Tuesday through Friday.

The daily Children’s Story program this week featured the German legend of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Monday’s Men at Work variety show featured trampoline act the Three Waltons, plus a pair of comics, a singer, dancers, and more. The comics were Hank Henry and Robert Alda (father of M*A*S*H star Alan Alda). In their act, Alda served as straight man to Henry.

Table Talk with Helen Sioussat was back on Wednesday with activist Dorothy Kenyon; lawyer Harrison Tweed; lawyer Helen Lehman Buttenwieser (wife of banker Benjamin Buttenwieser); and Johnson Stoddard. On Friday, the station aired a United China Relief Benefit hosted by Dr. James E. West. That might be the same James E. West who served as the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America.

Sunday, November 9th, 1941
No Programs Scheduled

Monday, November 10th, 1941 [1]
2:00PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Boys in the Back Room
3:15PM – Children’s Story: The Pied Piper of Hamelin
7:30PM – Test Pattern
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30PM – Variety Show [Men at Work]: Three Waltons, Hank Henry and Robert Alda, Comics; Ricco De Sierra, Songs; Carroll and Sherode, Dancers; Others.

Tuesday, November 11th, 1941 [2]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Dancing Lesson
3:15PM – Children’s Story: Pied Piper of Hamelin
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30PM – Metropolitan Museum of Art
9-9:30PM – Sports–Bob Edge

Wednesday, November 12th, 1941 [3]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Table Talk with Helen Sioussat: Dorothy Kenyon, Harrison Tweed, Johnson Stoddard, Mrs. Benjamin Buttenwieser
3:15PM – Children’s Story: Pied Piper of Hamlin
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30-9:30PM – Country Dance

Thursday, November 13th, 1941 [4]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Metropolitan Museum of Art
3:15PM – Children’s Story: Pied Piper of Hamlin
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Sports-Bob Edge
8:30-9:30PM – Visual Quiz

Friday, November 14th, 1941 [5]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Film
3:15PM – Children’s Story: Pied Piper of Hamlin
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – United China Relief Benefit; Dr. James E. West and Others
9-10PM – Sports–Bob Edge: Badminton

Saturday, November 15th, 1941 [6]
2:00PM – Test Pattern
2:30-4:30PM – Films

Note: Television listings published in newspapers were based on information provided by stations and were subject to change at the last minute. They may not be an accurate representation of what actually aired.

Works Cited:

1 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 10 Nov. 1941: 36.
2 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 11 Nov. 1941: 44.
3 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 12 Nov. 1941: 44.
4 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 13 Nov. 1941: 54.
5 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 14 Nov. 1941: 46.
6 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 15 Nov. 1941: C32.

Nielsen Bottom 10, November 2nd-8th, 1987

Week 7 of the 1987-1988 season started on Monday, November 2nd, 1987 and ended on Sunday, November 8th, 1987. The highest-rated program was The Cosby Show on NBC with a 31.4/48 Nielsen rating/share and 45.4 million viewers according to AGB Television Research.

Here are the 10 lowest-rated programs on TV during Week 7 of the 1987-1988 season:

## Program Network Rating Viewers
62 Rags to Riches NBC 9.0/16 16,500,000
63 Hotel ABC 8.6/17 9,100,000
64 Houston Knights CBS 8.2/13 10,100,000
  Spenser: For Hire ABC 8.2/12 12,900,000
66 Sledge Hammer! ABC 7.7/12 10,700,000
67 West 57th CBS 7.6/15 14,000,000
  The Pursuit of Happiness ABC 7.6/13 13,100,000
69 My Sister Sam CBS 6.9/13 14,400,000
70 Everything’s Relative CBS 5.6/10 12,800,000
71 Leg Work CBS 5.3/9 11,800,000

Copyright A.C. Nielsen Co. and AGB Television Research

Note: USA Today did not begin including FOX programming in its weekly rating charts until December 1988.

NBC wasn’t able to stay out of the Bottom 10 this week. Rags to Riches (Friday, November 6th) was the tenth lowest-rated program of the week. But the network didn’t have too much to worry about; it had just two shows in the Bottom 20 and six in the Bottom 30.

Yet again, Saturday was the weakest night for both ABC and CBS. All of the shows CBS aired on Saturday, November 7th were in the Bottom 10: My Sister Sam, Everything’s Relative, Leg Work, and West 57th. However this week ABC managed to place Sable and Ohara outside the Top 10 (they ranked 56th and 61st for the week).

On Tuesday, November 3rd, Houston Knights on CBS could not compete with ABC’s Who’s the Boss? and Growing Pains from 8-9PM or NBC’s Matlock.

Likewise, ABC’s Sledge Hammer! on Thursday, November 5th was a weak third behind The Cosby Show on NBC and the first half of Tour of Duty on CBS. The Tuesday movie on ABC (A View to a Kill) perked up slightly at 8:30PM.

ABC also had trouble on Friday, November 6th with its new sitcom The Pursuit of Happiness, which tied for 67th for the week. The series premiere the previous week performed only marginally better.

Also of note: The Law & Harry McGraw (CBS, Tuesday, November 3rd) ranked 58th for the week; The Oldest Rookie (CBS, Wednesday, November 4th) tied for 54th; A Year in the Life (NBC, Wednesda, November 4th) tied for 43rd; Tour of Duty (CBS, Thursday, November 5th) ranked 52nd; I Married Dora (ABC, Friday, November 6th) tied for 46th; and Buck James (ABC, Sunday, November 8th) ranked 60th.

Source:
“Using this chart.” USA Today. 11 Nov. 1987: 03.d

New Obscurities of the 2015-2016 TV Season [Updated]

Remember when we gathered back in September to predict which new fall show would be the first cancellation of the season? If you’ve already forgotten, it was ABC’s Wicked City, which debuted in late October and was yanked off the air three weeks later due to incredibly low ratings.

There are still a few weeks left to go before the 2015-2016 officially comes to an end and with the exception of NBC, the networks have yet to unveil their schedules for next fall. The network upfronts are being held over the next three or four days. But we know enough right now to start discussing the new obscurities of the 2015-2016 season.

Personally, I only watched four or five new network shows that didn’t survive. I really liked The Grinder (FOX), so I’m disappointed it got cancelled. I had high hopes for The Muppets (ABC) but was underwhelmed. If the unaired episodes of Angel from Hell or Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life end up online or On Demand, I’ll probably watch them.

New Obscurities: Fall 2015

Last fall, the networks opted not to cancel some of their under-performing freshman shows–like Minority Report (FOX) and Blood & Oil (ABC)–opting instead to “trim” episode orders and then quietly stop discussing the shows in question. Those informal cancellations are now being made official. There were also a few true cancellations, like the aforementioned Wicked City as well as The Player and Truth Be Told (both NBC).

Other new shows were picked up for the whole season–like The Grinder (FOX), Life in Pieces (CBS), and Blindspot (NBC). Not all the shows that were given full season pickups will be returning next fall. I like to call any show that lasted a full season, or close to a full season, one season wonders.

It doesn’t look like the 2015-2016 season will produce a lot of true one season wonders. Both Grandfathered and The Grinder on FOX were picked up for the entire season only to be cancelled last week. Still in limbo are two CBS dramas–Code Black and Limitless–that may turn out to be one season wonders.

Here’s a list of the new obscurities from Fall 2015:

  • Grandfathered (FOX) – 22 episodes
  • The Grinder (FOX) – 22 episodes
  • Limitless (CBS) – 22 episodes
  • The Muppets (ABC) – 16 episodes
  • Heroes Reborn (NBC) – 13 episodes
  • Blood & Oil (ABC) – 10 episodes
  • Minority Report (FOX) – 10 episodes
  • Truth Be Told (NBC) – 10 episodes
  • The Player (NBC) – 9 episodes
  • Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (NBC) – 8 episodes
  • Wicked City (ABC) – 3 episodes (5 unaired)

I’ll update this list once CBS reveals its plans for Code Black and Limitless. [May 16th, 2016 Update: CBS has renewed Code Black for a second season.] [May 25th, 2016 Update: Limitless has officially been cancelled].]

New Obscurities: Mid-Season 2016

Technically, mid-season replacements with 10 or 13-episode orders can be one season wonders as well if every episode airs. They’re just much shorter one season wonders. Again, there are two CBS mid-season dramas that may be cancelled in the next few days: Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and Rush Hour. Likewise, FOX hasn’t made a decision about the recently introduced Houdini and Doyle.

Here’s a list of all the new obscurities from Mid-Season 2016:

  • Bordertown (FOX) – 13 episodes [still airing]
  • Crowded (NBC) – 13 episodes [still airing]
  • Containment (The CW) – 13 episodes [still airing]
  • Rush Hour (CBS) – 13 episodes [still airing]
  • The Family (ABC) – 12 episodes
  • Telenovela (NBC) – 11 episodes
  • Second Chance (FOX) – 11 episodes
  • Heartbeat (NBC) – 10 episodes [still airing]
  • Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life (FOX) – 10 episodes [3 unaired]
  • You, Me and the Apocalypse (NBC) – 10 episodes
  • Angel from Hell (CBS) – 5 episodes (8 unaired)
  • Of Kings & Prophets (ABC) – 2 episodes (7 unaired)

I’ll revise this list if CBS and FOX decide to cancel Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Rush Hour, and Houdini and Doyle. [May 16th, 2016 Update: CBS has renewed Code Black. Rush Hour, however, has been cancelled.]

Watching New Obscurities of the 2015-2016 Season

It’s unlikely most of these new obscurities will be released on DVD or Blu-ray. Assuming you no longer record shows in the DVR age, that means the only way to own the episodes is to purchase them through Amazon Video or iTunes. For just $2.99 each you can own both aired episodes of ABC’s Of Kings & Prophets uncensored.

Most of these shows will remain available for free online at network websites until they’re removed when the new season starts this fall. All five aired episodes of Angel From Hell can be watched at CBS.com, for example.

If you’ve got cable, On Demand may be another option but at some point shows from the 2015-2016 season will probably be removed. Depending on your cable provider, you may be able to purchase episodes as well.

That leaves streaming services. Hulu has some of these new obscurities right now but you may have to subscribe to get every episode. At some point in the future, some of them may come to Netflix or Amazon Prime (or CBS All Access for CBS shows) and then eventually disappear forever.