Unsold TV Pilots

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by JozefK, Jul 15, 2018.

  1. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Rockhopper (1985)

    Parker Stevenson as an agent for the National Security Agency traveling around the world solving crimes

    Co-stars Janis Paige, Pat Carroll, a young Robert Wuhl and an even younger Amy Yasbeck.The only thing more '80s than Amy's hair is the opening theme music.

     
  2. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    The Solarnauts (1967)

    UK sci-fi, starring John Garfield Jr (!?), Derek Fowlds, and Martine Beswick

     
  3. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    The Nut House (1964)

    Kovacsish, Hellzapoppin-influenced comedy, four years before Laugh-In. Produced by Bullwinkle's Jaw Ward and Bill Scott.

    [​IMG]

    The Nut House!! : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

    In His Own Words: Bill Scott on UnSold Jay Ward Pilots |

    Jim Korkis: I know Jay Ward made a live action pilot.

    Bill Scott: It was called The Nut House (1964). It was originally going to be an hour but we wound up with about a half hour as I remember. CBS wanted an all-comedy show that was fast and sharp, similar to the later Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

    Jay brought in some of the finest comedy writers like Paul Mazursky (“Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, “Down and Out in Beverly Hills”) and Allan Burns (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “The Munsters”). Burns was a good writer with a wild sense of humor. We did some song parodies for a Bullwinkle songbook. He’s very good and a pleasure to work with because he’s such a sweet guy.

    JK: I had heard that The Nut House was initially conceived as a combination of live action and animation.

    BS: There were some animation bits but they had to be kept to a minimum because of budget. We knew if the series sold we wouldn’t be able to produce a lot of animation on a weekly schedule, so we stuck primarily to short jokes and live action. Some were very funny and some were simple shaggy dog stories. We had some fine young talents in the thing like Ron Carey, Jack Sheldon, Alan Sues and Anthony Holland.

    JK: Why didn’t it sell as a series?

    BS: The network people just did not buy it. They never told us why. I don’t know if it was because it tested poorly or if they didn’t like the material. I just don’t know. I do know that one of the things that hurt us was we didn’t have a host. We needed a central figure like Steve Allen.

    Laugh In had Rowan and Martin as an anchor for all the wackiness. The host of The Nut House was an animated squirrel. He was sort of like the Playboy bunny, a symbol of the show rather than being an active part. We certainly could have changed that if somebody had told us.​
     
  4. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    thanks for the link! Nice book!
     
  5. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Daddy-O (1961)

    ‘Daddy-O,’ the incredible failed TV pilot that broke the fourth wall 25 years before Garry Shandling

    Wow. I recently discovered a show that was up for consideration by CBS in 1961 that was as subversive and as “meta” as anything on the air now, but for understandable reasons never got picked up. Thank god the pilot still exists, anyway. It was called Daddy-O, and that title ought to signal that something was a little “off” about the show. It was developed by Max Shulman, whose main previous credit was consonant with the title of Daddy-O, the beatnik hit The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which had been a success for CBS since 1959.

    The first scene of Daddy-O is by far the most mind-blowing. We start in medias res, as the dopey father of a typical television suburban family, “Daddy-O” himself, seeking to explain to his sassy children what a great foxtrot he was once capable of, strides out into the living room and promptly steps on a carelessly placed roller skate, after which his startled wife drops a meringue pie on his head. Cut to a TV control room, where an executive fervently cries, “No no no, you call that a laugh?” It turns out that HE would prefer “MH-9” at that juncture (“Mad Howl-9”), a tumultuous uproar on the laugh track that will really sell the scene. (If your mind blipped to a key scene in Annie Hall in which the Tony Roberts character does much the same thing, you’re not alone. The whole thing also reminds me of the old Olsen and Johnson musical Hellzapoppin’, in which the hectic action of the movie is governed from decisions made in the projection booth.)

    We then get a scene in which a handful of TV professionals tinker with the sequence, including a soundman’s trenchant query “How do you know it’s that funny?” It turns out that Don DeFore, who was best known for playing Ozzie and Harriet’s neighbor “Thorny” on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and would later find a home as a key player on Hazel, is here playing “Ben Cousins,” a TV actor paid to portray “Daddy-O,” the castrated father figure in an anodyne TV series in the style of Leave It to Beaver or Father Knows Best. In perfect Brechtian fashion the episode features, in addition to the distancing debate over the laugh track, a lengthy (comic) demonstration of stunt techniques as well as a key character’s removal of makeup.​

    ---

    This pilot was produced as a proposed series for the network’s 1961-‘62 schedule. I think even Max Shulman knew CBS was going to pass on it because it made fun of the kind of sitcoms the network (and their competition) were scheduling at the time.

    And if there was one thing James T. Aubrey, the network’s president and chief programmer at the time, DIDN’T want on his schedule, was a comedy that “told the truth”...especially about TV {and situation comedies} in general. What HE wanted was the kind of “fatuous” sitcom that “Daddy O” satirized at the beginning of the episode- where Daddy’s a bumbling idiot- or the wife is scatterbrained- and the plot is nothing more involving than, say, “Hubby invites the boss to dinner, but Wifey burns the roast”. In fact, he objected to “THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW” because he didn’t Rob Petrie to be a New York-based comedy/variety show writer (“Too ‘inside’”, Aubrey told Carl Reiner and Sheldon Leonard,, suggesting “Couldn’t you make Van Dyke a Midwestern insurance salesman, like Robert Young on ‘FATHER KNOWS BEST’?” They refused, and Aubrey [who was virtually forced to schedule the show because its sponsor, Procter & Gamble- CBS’ biggest advertiser- insisted on it] tried to sabotage, then cancel the series by the end of its first season). No, “DADDY O” probably would have been received better as one of Max Shulman’s novels. It’s hilarious, but too far ahead of its time…
     
    Larry Geller likes this.
  6. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Surround sound lunatic

    Location:
    Bayside, NY
    This was freakin' great!
     
  7. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Collector's Item (1957)

    "Mr" Vincent Price and "Mr" Peter Lorre team up as a pair of art appraisers. Thomas Gomez is the guest star.

     
  8. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    The Facts (1982)

    Comedy pilot with Phil Hartman, Emo Phillips, Richard Belzer, Lois Bromfield, Bob Saget, Paul Provenza, and Richard Lewis.

     
  9. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Mason (1977)

    Mason Reese - Wikipedia

    Mason Reese (born April 11, 1965) is an American former child actor who appeared in numerous television commercials in the 1970s, particularly for Underwood Deviled Ham, Post Raisin Bran, and Dunkin' Donuts.​

    [​IMG]

     
  10. altaeria

    altaeria Forum Resident

    There should be a single streaming site/ cable channel that plays only all rejected TV pilots.
     
    ted321 likes this.
  11. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Johnny Garage (1983)

    Ron Carey as a NYC auto mechanic. Co-producer Sonny Grosso was one of the cops on the real life French Connection case -- he has an acting role in The Godfather, as the cop outside the hospital who tells McCluskey that Michael is a war hero.

     
  12. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    On The Run (1966)

    Sitcom pilot starring Jan and Dean as singing college students. Jan had his accident a few months after filming.

    Hal Blaine can be seen briefly, and even has a few lines of dialogue (as "Clobber")

     
    fr in sc likes this.
  13. will_b_free

    will_b_free Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    I’d like to see the 2016 pilot episode “What Goes Around Comes Around” starring Jason Lee and Alyssa Milano, if anyone has it.
     
  14. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    wow so many that did not make it....
     
  15. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    he was a regular on the Mike Douglas Show!
     
    MikeInFla likes this.
  16. Both those visual effects aren’t convincing even by 1967 standards for TV.
     
  17. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I think the problem is that the rights are very questionable, and clearing all this stuff legally is a huge challenge. In some cases, the paperwork has evaporated and nobody really knows who owns the show. Hell, it took them 20 years just to work out the deal to get Batman out on home video, and that was a massive hit show that everybody knew. Obscure pilots are a hundred times more difficult... and I think the potential for commercial success is very low.

    However, as I always say, if it were up to me, every studio would take every scrap of film and videotape ever made, get it all digitized and cleaned-up as much as possible, and make it commercially available for streaming and download. Allowing all these shows and films to disintegrate in warehouses is just sad. The studios and networks and distributors could do it if they really wanted to... but there's a "we don't give a ****" attitude from them on a lot of stuff like this.
     
    showtaper, Chris DeVoe and altaeria like this.
  18. torcan

    torcan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I agree. No matter how obscure the show, *somebody* out there remembers it and would like to see it. What's the point of having it sitting in a vault somewhere if you're never going to use it? There are quite a number of shows I'd like to see again which are nowhere to be found.

    What bugs me is that some of the well-connected people on this forum seem to have access to some of these shows but are reluctant and hesitant to share. Other people want to see these just as bad as they do.
     
    Vidiot likes this.
  19. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Active Member

    Location:
    Luton
    Yes, why won't they risk their jobs for us people they've never met! ;)

    But seriously, with patience, a lot of pilots eventually turn up and often they were rejected for a reason!

    Space Force - just a bad idea:



    "Rio" - pilot with batman, not sure what kind of show his wants to be: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7p0xc0
     
  20. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Active Member

    Location:
    Luton
    Similarly, almost all US pilots for remade UK shows have by now turned up, and they're all bad, like this "Are you being served" version:



    Well - the sole exception must the "The Pompeii Way" a Disney/ABC TV pilot for Up Pompeii.
    That has not turned up so far yet - until recently no-one even knew it existed! It is so obscure that it isn't even listed in any books or has anything in any library's repository.
     
  21. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    The Steptoe & Son w/Barnard Hughes and Paul Sorvino has yet to turn up

    IIRC there was also one w/Aldo Ray
     
  22. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Active Member

    Location:
    Luton
    Another one apart from this one then?

    [​IMG]
     
  23. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    I vaguely recalled there was one with Ray, I wasn't certain though. And Lee Tracy! He'd just made his comeback with The Best Man. That's one I'd like to see

    I presume Lear was not involved with the '65. The Hughes-Sorvino is from around 1970 and I believe Lear-Yorkin did it.
     
  24. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Well, if they don't have the legal rights to the show, they'll get sued or arrested if they share what they have. So they may have good reason for staying silent. It's up to the studios, networks, and distributors to make these shows available, not fans. But the apathy among studio execs is the biggest factor. Hell, the crazy fans can't even get Disney to make their entire animated library available on the Disney+ streaming service, and that's just ridiculous. There's no reason all the Disney shorts and features shouldn't be available.

    Pilots are in a weird twilight-zone category, and you have to bear in mind that there are weird rights problems and legal issues with a lot of them. I'm sure @Steve Hoffman can comment on some albums and songs that never got a proper CD release for the simple reason that nobody could figure out who actually owned the rights. Back in the day, Bill Inglot at Rhino told me some stories of some tracks where he discovered the original masters, they were poised to releae them, but then the lawyers came back and said, "we're afraid we only have 3/4 of the rights to this but not 100% of the rights, so we have to drop it from the album." This stalls a lot of releases, sound and film.

    I've told this story before: a 1990s video label got ready to release a multi-volume rock compilation series of some classic 1960s and 1970s performances, got everything cleared, got it all mastered, got the DVDs pressed... and at the last minute, one group came out of the woodwork and killed the whole thing. (It might have even been one member of the group, not even the entire group.) Because they had one song on each volume, the label had no choice but to destroy all the discs and chuck 'em into the landfill. The label was so angry and bitter, they just said, "screw it -- we're scrapping the project." So it only takes one small voice to kill a video release if somebody doesn't want it out.

    And then there are the actors who don't want certain old shows out because they feel it's a bad performance. There are stories that Larry David (currently worth $400 million) dislikes his appearances as a cast member on ABC's Fridays, and won't sign off on a home video release. I was also told the constant cocaine jokes -- very un-PC today -- don't help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  25. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    When YouTube first appeared I uploaded a ton of stuff, and very little of it's been taken down. I covered my butt by creating disposable Gmail addresses for all the different channels.

    Part of the problem is if the network or production company isn't going to make money off of it, the default is to say no.

    For instance one of my most watched videos was Patti Smith on Kids Are People Too singing You Light Up My Life, with its composer Joe Brooks on piano.



    The daughter of director Allison Anders (Grace of My Heart) contacted me through YouTube trying to track down the rights to that clip to include in a movie. I gave her all the information I had and digitized it in the highest resolution that I could.

    But the rights are obscure, and the network, not smelling enough money, blew her off saying that they didn't know who owns the rights to it and weren't going to bother to find out.

    Years later, I'm pretty sure it was actually owned by the host of the show, and his widow could probably have used the money. She might have had a spare bedroom filled with the original 2-inch tapes, but the network wasn't going to be bothered to help out a widow.
     
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