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Bob Huggins tells us: Regarding Lisa's comment on the region DVDs, specifically 'Honey West'...

According to a print catalog that I received from VCI Entertainment several months ago, 'Honey West' is scheduled to be released by VCI on Region 1 discs sometime during the fourth quarter of this year. I can't provide any additional information about the release (and it doesn't appear on VCI's web site) but I can direct you to a discussion about it at the Home Theater Forum...

Bob also points out that the punk rock collection from Tom Snyder's Tomorrow Show contains entire episodes, further illuminating my ignorance on the subject.

Thursday, August 2, 2007 - 8:47am

Lisa writes: 'On a somewhat related thread, can you comment why it is that certain vintage DVD boxed sets (Honey West) are available for sale in the UK, Region 2 compatible, but not available in U.S. Region 1. Since U.S. Region 1 DVD players can't play Region 2 discs, I cannot purchase. Why not just code the discs Region 0 (all Region compatible) and market to a worldwide audience? I don't get it.
It is not hard to find sites that offer 2nd and 3rd generation bootleg DVD-R boxed sets of classic TV series, but they're not the real deal.

That has to do with the content licensing. Sony (or whatever studio) makes deals for each show in each region separately. Some shows might command a high licensing fee overseas but be virtually worthless here or vice versa, so they can take advantage of that by making sure the hardware is region specific.

In fact, although our DVD players are compatible, Canadian and US DVD releases can be wildly varied, released by separate companies with different extras. For instance, Gimme A Break Season 2 was released by VEI in Canada last year but didn't the light of day in the US until a few months ago; included with VEI's version (but not in the US set) was a season 3 show and one episode of Kate & Allie. VEI released Riptide Season 1 with a bonus episode of Street Justice that's not found on the US version from Sony.

If I'm not mistaken, you can get an all regions DVD player - and there is a way to unlock some machines to play all regions if you just know the code to enter. When I was in living in London we bought an all regions DVD player which was just the regular model - only the salesperson provided us with the region breaking code. I suppose there are web sites that would be more specific, I'm just typing off the top of my head.

Bob Huggins reminds me that there are some excellent Tom Snyder Tomorrow Show DVD compilations. I wish there were entire programs rather than snippets - but I like these bands so I think I'll Netflix them.

punk rock on dvd Tomorrow Showon dvd

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - 11:34am

I get quite a few DVD collections to review and I couldn't be more thrilled. Occasionally I get something I really love, a collection I would have gone out and bought or something that totally takes me by surprise. This next week will see a number of fantastic releases that are real keepers - including the long awaited release of The Muppet Show Season 2.

I honestly didn't think I'd like this one, I never really watched the show when it aired in syndication between 1976 and 1981. I guess I alway caught episodes with boring guest stars. But this second season DVD has some amazing live performances from artists like Cleo Laine, Lou Rawls, Judy Collins, Petula Clark and Teresa Brewer in addition to some hilarious comedy from Steve Martin and Edgar Bergen and others. I've posted a review here.

Dallas Season 7 was another DVD set I devoured but Dallas is my guilty pleasure, I think J.R. is hilarious.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - 10:44am


Jump over to Our Word and Welcome To It for an obit of broadcasting giant Tom Snyder, truly one of the great interviewers of all time. We're long overdue for a Snyder compilation on DVD don't you think?

Monday, July 30, 2007 - 12:44pm


Soul AliveFrom TVparty reader Ray Mora comes an amazing find - an ultra-rare episode of Soul Alive starring WWRL radio DJ 'Golden Voice' Gerry Bledsoe. Soul Alive aired during 1978 in New York City for an hour on WPIX channel 11 Saturday mornings at 11:00am.

A staple of TV markets around the country in the 1960s, local dance shows were rare by the late-seventies; they fell out of favor at the end of the 1960s and we aren't likely to see a revival. (Then again, you never know. Similar in nature, nationally broadcast Dance Party USA was a hit in the 1980s.)

Soul Alive in NYCWith the Disco craze in full swing and nationally syndicated Soul Train still hot on Saturdays, WPIX saw an opportunity to bring that stone cold format back to TV screens.

The main feature on Soul Alive was the heated competition between dancers representing some of the City's top discotheques or local high schools. The winning couple's names were delivered via the 'Mechanical Hand' - they could collect a bounty of prizes including a trip, new sound system or might end up with a package that included Bic disposable shavers. Well, they were new then!

Soul Alive w Cissy Houston discoBig name guest stars frequented the program, after all, this was the number one TV market in the world and a lot of record albums were sold in the city of New York. On this episode, Cissy Houston lip-synced her latest single while the Rolling Stones appeared in a video.

One regular (and unintentionally hilarious) segment of the show had dancers revealing their working life in pictures that were mixed into their solo spots. Similarly, when schools competed, a profile of the student body was aired.

Soul Alive TV in nycElliot V writes, 'I remember my school (John F. Kennedy H.S. in the Bronx) holding internal dance tryouts for our upcoming appearance.' Unfortunately, the show was cancelled before Elliot's school made it on the air.

There was no place in the world where you would find better dancers than in the Big Apple in the 1970s, hence there was no shortage of experienced hoofers with the smooth moves eager to strut their stuff for TV exposure. They even boogied down on roller skates which were also hot again in 1978. The on set DJ worked the hyperkinetic crowd by playing extended remix versions of the hits rather than the singles you'd typically hear on American Bandstand and Soul Train.

Gerry BledsoeSilver-tongued host Gerry Bledsoe was a legendary voice in New York. With a cool on-air demeanor, he was known to break out into effervescent raps about peace, love and soul between the high-energy tunes and he ended every program with, 'Keep your minds together, you're hearts full of love, and keep that thing that we call soul alive.'

Little has been written about Gerald Bledsoe but he was a big influence on a number of present day broadcasters. He died of a heart attack at age 51 on September 27, 1994.

I'll have a page dedicated to Soul Alive soon with more info, pictures and video.

The opening to the show and Cissy Houston is introduced - Quicktime

Dancers are shown on the disco floor and at their glamorous jobs - Quicktime

More examples of 'Golden Voice' Gerry Bledsoe's soulful raps and the close of the show - Quicktime

Whatever you do today - keep your soul alive!

Monday, July 30, 2007 - 8:27am


You may have noticed that TVparty was off-line for Saturday and part of Sunday, felled by a mysterious technical glitch. Was it something I said?!?

Tomorrow I'll have a really cool feature for you - clips from one of the rarest TV dance shows of all. You won't believe it, especially if you lived in New York City in the 1970s. It's one of the last local dance shows anywhere. In the meantime, here are some clips from music / dance shows from yore.

First up a bit from Hullabaloo with the Lovin Spoonful, Sonny & Cher, The Supremes and Sammy Davis, Jr. singing their chart topping hits.

One of my favorite entertainers Jerry Lee Lewis tears it up on Shindig in tandem with the immortal Jackie Wilson.

Here's the first 1/3 of an episode of Where The Action Is, a summer happening hosted by Dick Clark from the mid-sixties. It comes complete with commercials.

Batman was a new show coming to ABC, note the cool exaggerated Batman costume worn by Dick of Dick & Dee Dee as they perform 'Lightning Strikes' from Shindig, January 8, 1966. Actually, Batman replaced Shindig the very next week. Holy cancellation! This one won't embed but it's worth watching.

Sunday, July 29, 2007 - 3:39pm



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