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The Bootleg Files: Bobbie Gentry

BOOTLEG FILES 735: “Bobbie Gentry” (1968-71 British television series starring Bobbie Gentry).

LAST SEEN: Bits and pieces can be found on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Most of the episodes from the series are considered lost and the surviving episodes would require restoration and the clearing of music and performance rights.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: None.

This week marked the 78th birthday of Bobbie Gentry, the genre-spanning singer who became a major star in 1967 with her mysteriously melancholic ballad “Ode to Billy Joe.” Gentry was a remarkable vocal talent who was equally at home in the folk, country and pop worlds, and she was also a charming on-camera presence who graced many U.S. television variety programs from the late 1960s into the early 1970s.
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The Bootleg Files: Dolly

BOOTLEG FILES 734: “Dolly” (1976-77 television variety series starring Dolly Parton).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Six of the 26 episodes were released on DVD.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Difficulties in clearing music and performance rights, along with the star’s lack of enthusiasm for the endeavor.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It seems unlikely that the full series will get a release.

Most Americans got their first look at Dolly Parton in her appearances on “The Porter Wagoner Show,” a syndicated TV variety series. Parton joined the program in 1966, two years into its run, and left in 1974 when her star was beginning to rise as she sought to broaden her appeal from a country music fanbase to a wider mainstream audience.
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The Bootleg Files: Hollywood

BOOTLEG FILES 733: “Hollywood” (1980 British television documentary series).

LAST SEEN:
On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS and LaserDisc.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Difficulties in clearing the rights to the films in the series resulted in its absence from DVD and Blu-ray.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Maybe someday it will occur.

One of the most impressive documentaries on film history was Kevin Brownlow and David Gill’s “Hollywood,” which was produced by Britain’s Thames Television for broadcast on ITV. Spanning 13 50-minute episodes, the series included interviews with many of the on-screen and behind-the-camera talent who were active in film production before the coming of the talkies.
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The Bootleg Files: Jesus and Daya Sagar

BOOTLEG FILES 732: “Jesus” and “Daya Sagar” (1973 and 1978 films from India about the life of Jesus).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived commercial value for the U.S. market.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely in the U.S.

India’s film industry never placed great emphasis on Christian-themed films, which is understandable since less than 2.5% of the country’s population identify as Christian and the perceived commercial value of such productions are considered minimal. During the 1970s, a pair of feature films were produced that offered retellings of Jesus’ life through the distinctive spectrum of India’s cinematic styles.
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The Bootleg Files: Salute to Sir Lew – The Master Showman

BOOTLEG FILES 732: “Salute to Sir Lew – The Master Showman” (1975 TV special with John Lennon, Tom Jones, Peter Sellers and Julie Andrews).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Music clearance issues are keeping it out of release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

John Lennon fans know that the ex-Beatle’s last live performance took place in a 1975 television special honoring Sir Lew Grade, the British television executive. Oddly, Lennon’s time on stage seemed strangely out of place in a show that offered an overripe line-up of 1970s kitsch.
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The Bootleg Files: Sneak Previews

BOOTLEG FILES 731: “Sneak Previews” (PBS series starring Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived reissue value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

In 1975, the Chicago public television station WTTW debuted a monthly show with the somewhat awkward title “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You.” The show featured two of Chicago’s most prominent film critics, Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, in a half-hour discussion regarding the merits and flaws of films in release. Clips from the films in question gave audiences a sampling of what they could expect on the big screen.
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The Bootleg Files: Bob Hope on the Road to China

BOOTLEG FILES 730: “Bob Hope on the Road to China” (1979 television special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube in a truncated form.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Out of circulation for many years.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

On January 1, 1979, President Jimmy Carter established U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Two months later, the longtime rivals established embassies in each other’s capitals. Remarkably, the two countries retained their diplomatic ties despite NBCs ‘s broadcast of the astonishingly atrocious “Bob Hope on the Road to China” in September that year.
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The Bootleg Files: Gabe Kaplan as Groucho

BOOTLEG FILES 729: “Gabe Kaplan as Groucho” (1982 television special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS and LaserDisc.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Out of circulation for many years.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

In 1976, the producers of the popular sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter” planned to have Groucho Marx make a cameo appearance in an episode called “Sadie Hawkins Day.” The script called for Gabe Kaplan to do an impression of Groucho, only to have the real Groucho come in and react to the unreasonable facsimile. Unfortunately, the 86-year-old comedy icon was in extremely frail health and it was decided that he would not go on camera. Instead, Groucho posed for publicity photographs with the show’s cast – but these were not released to the media and only surfaced many years later.
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