Oddities, Rareties, Un-Findables, etc

I’ve decided to make a trek to the New York Museum of TV and Radio sometime in the next month–with the main intention of seeing Peckinpah’s TV adaptation of Noon Wine, which seems to be entirely unavailable otherwise. If you had the chance what other TV or film items would you look for–what’s not available currently, even by the wily pirates on ebay??

18 thoughts on “Oddities, Rareties, Un-Findables, etc”

  1. “Family,” BBC miniseries, written by Roddy Doyle, directed by Michael Winterbottom. Never seen it, only heard Doyle talk about it, nowhere to be found.

    “On the Air”–a David Lynch/Mark Frost comedy about a wacky television station. The first episode is astoundingly funny (“If you could see what Blinky can see, . . .”). I recall the rest of the episodes quickly losing my interest, but this is now only to be found in spare beta tapes in David L. Landers’ basement.

  2. “The Jerry Lewis Show” (ABC, 1963) is thought to be one of the greatest flops in TV history. It was conceived as a live, two-hour show in which Jerry would just wing it. He wung it, boy, wha-HOYWOWEEEWOW!

    It lasted 13 shows. Imagine: 26 hours of live, unscripted Jerry. Wow.

  3. I patronized a mom and pop video store in Greeley, Colorado during the early nineties. They had Lynch’s “On the Air” in their collection. That first episode is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on television. I did have good reason to want to laugh.

    I would love to watch that PBS documentary from the seventies about the upper-middle class family–were they called the Loud Family? Lance Loud comes out to his parents during the show among other transgressions and dramatic revelations. What’s the name of that series and why can’t I find it on DVD?

  4. The NY MRTV has viewing cubicles that are fantastically uncomfortable. Plus, the tapes frequently don’t show up as they should, The headphones suck (you can’t hear your own tape, but you can easily hear the tapes of the four people around you), and the bizarre format with its proprietary mechanisms for rewinding and fast-forwarding are just too much like running a 1970s radio station reel to reel.

    That said, last couple of times I was there I got some of the following: Playboy After Dark with Harry Nilsson and Otto Preminger (promoting Skidoo! They phoned up Carol Channing from the show).

    An episode of the Dean Martin Show that had Dean, Flip Wilson, and maybe Sammy Davis Jr. pretending to be gay, which led to Dom Deluise screaming, “I’M the straight one!”

    The episode of Battestar Galactica guest-starring Fred Astaire. He dances while a band with a 6 eyed girl alien plays synth music. Possibly his last acting appearance?

    Previous trips have focused on the Electric Company and early Sesasme Street. Though LA also has one of these museums, I’ve never been to it. There’s just nothing ever to do in NY, so I always end up there.

    I still see tapes of On The Air at a couple video stores out here. Truly, it is just that first episode that’s worth watching. Speaking of which, Lynch has just released a couple DVDs of short films and oddities. I really wish another film was coming out. For a guy that could have easily fallen into awfulness he’s been remarkably good in the later films he’s put out.

  5. By the way, though I want to post on it more, Michael, the film Z Channel – now on DVD – has a lot of good Peckinpah stuff in it. As well as Altman, Paul Verhoeven, Tarantino, and more.

    This film is excellent – one of the best things I’ve seen in a year or more – about the love of film, Los Angeles, and mental illness.

  6. a lot of great indian art cinema is completely unavailable on dvd, as far as i can tell. then there’s stuff that is becoming available slowly on dvd/vcd but with zero restoration, no subtitles, and no extras of any kind. some indian billionaire should look into this. then there’s things that the national film development corporation (nfdc) owns. among these is pradeep krishen’s legendary in which annie gives it those ones–written by and co-starring arundhati roy. this film was never shown in theatres and was shown exactly once anywhere, on doordarshan (the national network) late at night. i was one of perhaps 20 people who watched it–completely by accident in my case. a major formative experience for me (though i was already in college). it is rumored that the idiots who run nfdc accidentally destroyed the film. it is also rumored that krishen and roy have a copy of their own but it has never surfaced. penguin india did publish the screenplay a few years ago–it holds up great, though perhaps the film itself might not.

  7. mmmm, so much to choose from. sorry, but Indian art cinema is out for now, rat pack and jerry lewis are getting consideration, the david lynch I actually taped in the deep dark past and those tapes are likely buried under a pile of dead silverfish somewhere in the basement. I can’t wait for uncomfortable chairs and headphones–it’ll be just like second grade again, when we took those hearing tests. any other adaptations that come to mind? I will also be looking particularly for pre-Brett Sommers Match Game shows, the ones where the green suitjackets and large brown ties caused seizures in the audience and where, oddly enough, every clue was “(blank) you.”

    and, mark–nothing to do in New York??? I always felt LA was the wasteland…unless of course you had a hankering for a starbuck’s or for getting your nails done by middle aged asian women.

  8. I half meant it as a joke. Well, quarter meant it as such. It’s funny you mention Match Game: I probably did intend to watch an episode of that, but Game Show Network, which my parents get, shows them all night lonog, and I recently got my fill of Charles Nelson Reilly.

    I should see if the LA MRTV has any of Paul Lynde’s old sit-com. Or particularly beguiling exchanges with Peter Marshall from the center square.

  9. I don’t remember Paul Lynde’s old sitcom–a major gap in my TV knowledge. as for Match Game, is it really possible to get your fill? those shows are almost hallucinatory now–the colors, the odd pacing, Bowser from Sha Na Na….

  10. I’ve been meaning to put up a a post about Wholpin (and a few other things I’ve seen recently). Alas, been very busy. Will try to get to that soon though, b/c it’s worth talking about.

  11. I’d watch Sybil (1976), the original tv version (198 minutes). The other versions of the Sally Field movie miss out some pivitol scenes.

  12. I loved Sybil. I had such a crush on mid-seventies Sally Field (as did Burt Reynolds, another early-adolescent hero of mine). I also learned about enemas while watching that telelvision series, so there you go. The 30th Anniversary DVD will be released by Warner Home Video in May 2006.

  13. Wholphin vol. 3 anybody??? It’s my least favorite of the three and that’s probably due to anticipation over the Alexander Payne short. But like most student films, I imagine, Payne’s The Passion of Martin should have stayed under covers (for completists only . . . I’m talking to you Mike). I admit that it is well shot and well-edited; there is a lot of craft on display, but the visual nods to Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese and Michael Powell (in particular the film’s loving yet creepy riffs on Peeping Tom) mark this one as strictly film school. And the missteps are monumental. What exactly is the tone of this short supposed to be? Quirky self-reflexive jokes and gags are completely out of place in a narrative centered on an obsessive stalker who just can’t understand why the sexy young woman who fucked him with abandon isn’t going to remain in his arms for a lifetime. And that ending . . . yikes. No wonder the guy no longer writes. There is a very good French short about a woman and a couple of lobsters, but, other than that, there’s little else. Bob Odenkirk’s offering is, unfortunately, nowhere near as funny as the “Holocaust Museum” sequence from vol. 2.

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