October 3rd, 2008
01:12 PM ET

Not coming to a store near you

Two disc sets you won’t be seeing any time soon:

In the course of interviewing Tim Reid for the “Tim & Tom” article, I asked Reid about “Frank’s Place,” the terrific New Orleans-set series he starred in during the 1987-88 season. The series has yet to appear on DVD, and I wondered if Reid knew something about its future.

The news wasn’t good.

“Not with the cost of music clearance the way it is today,” he said. “It’s one of those issues that come along with the new world we live in.”

The same issues came up with one of Reid’s other series, “WKRP in Cincinnati.” Though the first season was finally released on DVD in 2007, many songs on the soundtrack were changed or cut entirely. The show still stands up, but without the original music, it can’t help but miss something. (And because of the music issues, none of the subsequent seasons have been released on DVD.)

“Frank’s Place” was unique for its time, and perhaps even for ours: a “dramedy,” as they used to be called, starring African-Americans in many roles, that was notable for its high-quality writing and refusal to engage in stereotypes (trust me: as someone raised in New Orleans, they portrayed the city very well). If it’s not coming out on video, perhaps an enterprising cable channel can have a marathon or something.

The Kinks box that’s coming out in the UK in a couple months? Don’t expect to see it in the U.S. - for now, anyway. I contacted a handful of record company folks and nobody knew anything about a U.S. release of "Picture Book."

As I mentioned in the previous post, the Kinks had a complicated U.S. label history. (They had a complicated UK label history as well, but anyway …) The group was signed by Reprise for the British Invasion years, left for RCA in 1971 and “Muswell Hillbillies,” turned to Arista in 1976, and then came MCA and Columbia in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Sanctuary has re-released some of the band’s classic ‘60s material, to mixed reviews, in this decade.

So if you’re wanting to get a copy of “Picture Book,” you’ll have to pick up the import. Unless there’s an American record company person who knows something I don’t …

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer

Filed under: Music • television

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. john

    We jump up and down when some one makes racial comments but it looks like Jay-z can say anything and no one comments on this why is that?

    January 25, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kate

    Well, that settles it – there's no point to pick up the WKRP on DVD if they aren't going to release the original show or all the seasons.

    It's frustrating when only part of a series gets released – like Sliders or the cartoon series Gargoyles

    it's no small wonder that people find go arounds to the studio releases.

    October 7, 2008 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dinah

    You are incorrect.

    Bruce Springsteen HAS previously endorsed a candidate.

    Four years ago he gave a free street concert, open air
    stage on West Washington Avenue in Madison Wisconsin, endorsing John Kerry.

    The crowd (University of Wisconsin Madison) filled the street for blocks. I can still see that photo of the crowd!

    October 7, 2008 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Benst

    CBS bounced "Frank's Place" all over the schedule until people got tired of looking for it. Then the network cancelled the great show because of "poor ratings".
    ABC did the same thing to "Police Squad"-cancelling it after 4 weeks on the air, because, (to quote a network spokeperson), "You had to watch it in order to appreciate it". NBC cancelled "Second City Television Network", because of poor ratings 12:30 am to 2:00 am Saturday morning.
    "Frank's Place" was an excellent show and it was probably too good for a media that is constanly aiming for the lowest, and cheapest, type of program that appeals to the most amount of people.
    Thank goodness for PBS and TCM!

    October 6, 2008 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. Donna

    You read my mind. I've been fantasizing about having the too few episodes of Frank's Place in my collection for years. Whoever can make it happen–please do it!

    October 5, 2008 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jason

    You people need digital cable.

    October 4, 2008 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Leits

    Another great series doomed into Oblivion by rising music costs was the Hilarious House of Count Frightenstein. When does our "New World" begin to sacrifice their Greed and Money for art and lifestyle? it's a shame...

    October 3, 2008 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    I agree with Lagniappe. We're talking 20 years ago - just 20 years! - since we had such fine, high quality programs as ALF, Mama's Family, and Perfect Strangers. How far we have fallen.

    October 3, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dancinfool

    Anyone know why Dancing With the Satars is not on DVD? Could it be related to the music issues as noted in the article?

    October 3, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Barb

    Dang, I loved "Frank's Place." I had heard before that that was the problem, but I still hope.

    October 3, 2008 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lagniappe

    "Frank's Place" was one of the greatest shows on TV. Maybe it's too good to be released, as it just shows how far the medium has fallen...

    October 3, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |

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