CBS "The Judy Garland Show" auctioned off: Anyone got $1.5 M?*

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Lawrence Schulman, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Vidiot

    Vidiot Death to Film Terrorists!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    That's what I thought when I saw some of her 1964 shows when I was a little kid. Even critics of the time talk about the "train wreck" nature of those broadcasts. Garland seemed very strange and weirded-out to me.

    She was definitely a very talented person, but also extremely erratic. This clip with Streisand shows how good Garland could sometimes be:

     
  2. MLutthans

    MLutthans 70mm Gort Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Not trying to be contrarian, but can you clarify why you think this is true? IIRC, these are mono recordings, and "hi-fi" in the TV sense (plenty of mid-fi "boom" miking, less than ideal pickups, etc.), not "hi-fi" in the golden-age-of-Capitol-Records sense. Was the audio on the Pioneer audio transfer defective or something?

    I would think (and maybe Vidiot can either confirm or counter this, since he actually knows what he's talking about, and I, admittedly, do not) that there is more potential for improvement on the video end of things.

    Just curious, and I'll happily stand corrected.

    Matt
     
  3. No need to defend her, but Garland had a pill problem, not a drinking problem. Saying she was a drunk is historically inaccurate.
     
  4. The Pioneer DVDs's sound was remastered into 5.1, and sound terrific. All I am saying is that there are enough talented audio engineers - Steve Hoffman, et al. - who are capable of improving sound, even if the Garland Show's sound is in mono. I am not an expert, though, even if I have known enough talented remasterers over the years who have convinced me that the art of remastering is an evolving process.
     
  5. Back in 2000, I wrote a review of 32 Records' box-set JUDY for The ARSC Journal (http://www.jgdb.com/arsc2.htm) wherein I talk briefly about the history of the tapes for the Garland series in an endnote, which states:

    "On July 7, 1997, Sid Luft, producer of the 1954 A Star Is Born, Garland's husband from 1952 to 1965, and her manager for a good many of those years, sold the worldwide audio, video and broadcast rights to the series for $1.65 million to music producer Darryl Payne of Classic World, which made an initial payment of $900,000 to Luft. Classic World then resold them to Cakewalk Productions Inc. (d.b.a. 32 Records) for $3 million. Considered hoodwinked, Luft refused further payment from Classic World and to render all the masters. He took 32 Records and Classic World to court in July 1998, claiming he had never been paid for the shows and therefore still owned them. Classic World then chose not to complete further payment to Luft, claiming that in so doing they still owned the U.S. rights. He also contacted various audio-video outlets (i.e. Tower Records, QVC) and performers who had guested on The Judy Garland Show, claiming copyright infringement. When, on October 13, 1998, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled Classic World the rightful owner of the U.S. rights without further payment, Luft was ordered to deliver the rest of the tapes to Cakewalk or be subject to sanctions. The Manhattan court also issued an injunction barring him from claiming ownership of the U.S. rights to the tapes. The 32 Records Judy box set was released on October 13, 1998. (For a complete discussion of the Classic World/Cakewalk/Sid Luft dispute, see Collins, Wallace. "Pitfalls in Judy Garland Tapes Dispute" in Entertainment Law & Finance. November 1998 (Vol.XIV,No.8))."
     
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  6. The Entertainment Law & Finance article on the Garland case can be found online at: http://www.wallacecollins.com/ml/garland.html .
     
  7. ridernyc

    ridernyc Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida, USA
    Yeah I was going to say something like that, but really this really really splitting hairs at this point.
     
  8. Vidiot

    Vidiot Death to Film Terrorists!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Given that the audio was straight mono on the 2" quad videotapes, I don't think there's a heckuva lot you can do short of band-splitting the output to multiple channels to create "quasi" surround. Frankly, I think 2.1 would be better (same sound to left and right, no surround) and more honest, and maybe just a little judicious EQ and level controlling.

    From a picture point of view, there's a ton that you can do to improve apparent contrast and sharpness and reduce noise. 75% of it is just to get the original master tapes and play them back well on a perfectly-adjusted tape machine and not screw up the transfer too much. The rest would just be to line-double what's there to get some kind of quasi HD output that would look acceptable on 1080p monitors. If it were up to me, I'd send it to the guys at Lowry Digital and let them try to tweak it and get the hum, noise, and crud out of the tapes -- those old analog composite videotapes always had a whole slew of problems, as did the Marconi B&W cameras I think CBS-TV was using in 1964. (I don't think they switched to Norelco color cameras for at least 2 more years.)

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. MLutthans

    MLutthans 70mm Gort Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    I'm always amazed that "back in the day" they could achieve ANY gain before feedback for the PA system going out to the studio audience.
     
  10. MLutthans

    MLutthans 70mm Gort Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    By the way, early E-V boom mics had something like a 24 db/octave (!) roll-off starting around 10 or 11 kHz!
     
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  11. chadbang

    chadbang Forum Resident

    Location:
    Beryllium
    More like "faces of meth." I didn't remember until Vidiot mentioned it, but I remember watching the show as a kid, too, and she seemed "weird."
     
  12. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Only A Northern Song

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Yeah, she definately is weird. Watching Wizard of Oz yesterday, she was perfectly normal, didn't look the slightest odd at all, just like a really nice down to earth, happy person.

    Sounds like she was a victim of fame.
     
  13. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort Staff

    Judy was a complicated, intense, mercurial and eccentric person. Some of that is also what made her so unique as a performing artist.

    To my perception from this side of the screen, she had gone a ways out there by this TV series, but not like on appearances after this program (which may be blurred in memories). An edgy, out there presence, but that's her - plus the high stress context of constantly being in the hot seat on a live-in-studio TV show. Incidentally I have no idea how anybody can take such a job, but even had she zero pill or other issues and was at her most collected, I would never have thought it a good idea for Judy Garland.

    With regard to the sound, it's not coming from optical kinescopes and while the boom mics are limited, I'd think those only handled voice and they probably had something decent on the orch. So if given a quality transfer from first generation tapes and if nobody mucks it up, I'd expect one should be able to enjoy this show in unusually strong sound quality for vintage TV. Never heard the Pioneer set. I've only ever seen excerpts and pieces of the show and I'm not sure I'd want to see more.

    While I can watch and enjoy quite a bit of vintage TV, I do find TV of the time generally sadly inadequate as a documentation of musical talents. Once in a while it all works great anyway - maybe a moment here, a song there - and it's like striking gold, in quality and scarcity. You don't really need High Def A/V and expensive production for court dramas, mystery or action, but a live acoustically-oriented creative musical production with high caliber talent would always benefit greatly from it. So naturally, we generally have the former in expensive High Def productions and the latter in relatively minimal production via low quality copies of low quality tiny B&W kinescopes & optical mono. Sigh.
     
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  14. Vidiot

    Vidiot Death to Film Terrorists!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Yes, that was the venerable Electro Voice 642 boom mic, very common in the early 1960s. Not a great mic, in my opinion. A lot of super cardioids and interference tube mics have issues with off-axis response, which is kind of the nature of the beast.
    [​IMG]

    By the 1970s, I think Sennheiser pretty much owned the overhead boom mic business in television when they introduced their line of lightweight condensor mics. I can recall seeing all the Norman Lear shows using Sennheiser MKH416's and 816's during the decade. Still very useful microphones even today.
     
  15. For those who might say there is no market on Blu-ray for The Judy Garland Show, I just noticed that on eBay UK the going price for the second volume box set on DVDs of the shows is going for a whopping £413.34 :

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judy-Garlan...qid=1387196871&sr=8-129&keywords=judy garland
     
  16. MLutthans

    MLutthans 70mm Gort Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Well, that's the asking price for a new, sealed copy of an imported dvd set that was in print ten years ago. Hard to say if they'll ever actually get that amount. The most recent sale of this same set, used, on Ebay.co.uk was considerably more down-to-earth:
    Screen shot 2013-12-16 at 4.55.09 AM.jpg
     
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  17. Vidiot

    Vidiot Death to Film Terrorists!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I think a 2- or 3-hour "Best of" collection would've been fine. I don't think hundreds of thousands of people were pining away for a complete boxed set of the entire series, which was extremely uneven at best.

    I don't deny that Judy Garland was a talented person, and she did some classic films in her day, but man, that TV stuff was hard to watch.
     
  18. ky658

    ky658 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Miami, Florida
    Agreed, even her Christmas show was a little "off." Here is the complete CBS broadcast from 12-22-63 (50 years ago this weekend):

     
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  19. I am bewildered by the words "off" and "not all there." Garland was sometimes overdrugged, tired, too thin, too fat, but "off" and "not all there," at least to me, mean off her game, unrelateable, out of it. I agree that for her 1963 Christmas show she was not in the best of voice, as was the case elsewhere in the series. But, "off" and "not all there" are pejorative. I would never use such a word regarding her, and never have. To be frank, I think Judy made some people nervous for a variety of reasons. One of which might be that she had an intensity that could be unnerving. I guess that is what is meant by "off" or "not all there." Judy never makes me nervous. Like all great artists, she had her good days and her bad. I do not think the Christmas show was her worst; one has only to see and hear her in later years. But even in those later years, she had sparks of genius that were astounding. She was a great, and her "off" would be considered "on" by many nowadays.
     
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  20. MLutthans

    MLutthans 70mm Gort Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Fair enough, Lawrence, but to many she certainly "came across" that way, whether or not she actually WAS that way. The image -- which is half of a TV show -- wasn't always very positive.
     
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  21. wildroot indigo

    wildroot indigo Well-Known Member

    Huge talent, one of the best... I think she was a performance genius, typically misunderstood by the entertainment industry.

    I'm not familiar with her TV show, but it seems this is the unaired finale of its final episode: worth watching to the end (wow).

     
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  22. Vidiot

    Vidiot Death to Film Terrorists!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    No, to me "off" and "not all there" means overdrugged and tired to the point where your speech is slurred and you're staring off into space and have real weird timing. Read Mel Torme's book sometime if you want to know a lot of the story.
     
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  23. I read the Torme book when it came out. Contrary to many, I find it an accurate portrayal of the Garland series from his point of view. Garland and Torme both had huge egos, which were bound to come into conflict one day or another. Garland was more a pop singer and Torme a jazz singer, and their differeing musical provenances surely nourished the conflict between them, which, may I recall, was contractual. That is, Torme demanded more guest spots on the series, which Garland was not willing to give him.
     
  24. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment that she was "misunderstood by the entertainment industry." That is why, to this day, her historic and phenomenal 1961 Carnegie Hall show is still, in late 2013, not on SACD.
     
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  25. MLutthans

    MLutthans 70mm Gort Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Geez, how many Sinatra albums are on SACD? Three? How about Elvis or The Beatles? Tony Bennett? Tons of great stuff by tons of great artists remains -- and will remain -- unreleased on SACD, and it's not because they are misunderstood.
     
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