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The Bootleg Files: The Calgon ‘Ancient Chinese Secret’ Commercial

BOOTLEG FILES 769: “Calgon ‘Ancient Chinese Secret’ Commercial” (1970s commercial that made an extraordinary impression).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No commercial reissue value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Maybe in an anthology of vintage commercials, but that’s unlikely.

During the 1970s, Asian Americans received minimal screen time on television. The series “Hawaii Five-O.” “Kung Fu” and M*A*S*H* kept its Asian American actors in supporting roles while giving the leads to White actors, while comic actors Pat Morita and Jack Soo were also stuck in supporting parts in “Happy Days” and “Barney Miller,” respectively. (Morita scored the lead in a sitcom called “Mr. T and Tina,” but that effort was so atrocious that it was canceled after five episodes.) There was an animated Hanna-Barbera series “The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan” based on the Charlie Chan mysteries, but a mix of White and Asian American actors did the voice performances (including a young Jodie Foster).
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The Bootleg Files: Crazy Eddie Commercials

BOOTLEG FILES 768: “Crazy Eddie Commercials” (long-running campaign on New York City-area television for an electronics retailer).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No commercial reissue value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Maybe in an anthology of vintage commercials, but that’s unlikely.

If you were living in the New York City metropolitan area in the 1970s and 1980s, then you had to be familiar with the advertisements for the Crazy Eddie electronics retailer chain. These promotional spots could be found in publications, on billboards and on radio, but most people would clearly remember them from the 7,500 television commercials produced for the company.
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The Bootleg Files: Laurence Olivier Polaroid Commercials

BOOTLEG FILES 767: “Laurence Olivier Polaroid Commercials” (1973-74 television commercial campaign).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No commercial reissue value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Maybe in an anthology of vintage commercials, but that’s unlikely.

Have you tried sitting through television commercials lately? Really, who creates this crap? Either they are dismally unfunny (particularly for the insurance companies) or they are hard-sell to the point of discomfort or they are so vague and hazy (especially for medical products) that you wonder what exactly is being sold.
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The Bootleg Files: Our Job in Japan

BOOTLEG FILES 766: “Our Job in Japan” (1946 U.S. Army propaganda film.).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube and Internet Archive.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: In collections of U.S. World War II military films.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
No copyright was ever filed on this film, so it can be duped endlessly.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: A digital restoration for commercial home entertainment release is unlikely.

One of the most bizarre news stories of this year involved the decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to discontinue the publication of six books by the beloved children’s author due to racially insensitive illustrations of Africans and Asians. The books in question were minor additions to the author’s canon and were never adapted into films or television productions, but for many people the idea that a Dr. Seuss book would be taken off the shelves due to political correctness was the epitome of cancel culture run amok.
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The Bootleg Files: Tin Pan Alley Cats

BOOTLEG FILES 765: “Tin Pan Alley Cats” (1943 Warner Bros. animated short).

LAST SEEN: On DailyMotion.com.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Withheld from release due to politically incorrect humor.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

In today’s woke environment, the possibility of giving a second chance to the long-banned racially insensitive Warner Bros. cartoons collectively known as the “Censored Eleven” is nil. At least one of these cartoons, the 1943 “Tin Pan Alley Cats,” is certainly deserving to be kept out of circulation – but not so much for its broadly demeaning caricatures as for the laziness and sloppiness that went into its creation.
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The Bootleg Files: Popcorn

BOOTLEG FILES 764: “Popcorn” (1974 animated short by Hanna-Barbera on behalf of the U.S. Air Force Reserve).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Fell through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Hanna-Barbera animation studio supplemented its television and film production output with contracted work on behalf of government agencies and nonprofits. One of the strangest of these works was “Popcorn,” made in 1974 on behalf of the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
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The Bootleg Files: Ship’s Reporter

BOOTLEG FILES 763: “Ship’s Reporter” (1948-1952 celebrity interview television series).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: A few episodes have turned up as special features on VHS and DVD releases, but the complete series has not.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Fell through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Jack Mangan’s name is mostly unknown to today’s entertainment news aficionados, but back in the day he was a pioneer in television’s celebrity interview genre. Mangan’s specialty was not a studio-bound tête-à-tête or an on-location chat. Instead, Mangan brought his camera crew to New York City’s piers and on board the luxury liners traveling to and from Europe, where he would seek out prominent passengers for quickie interviews.
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The Bootleg Files: The Hollywood Greats – Groucho Marx

BOOTLEG FILES 762: “The Hollywood Greats – Groucho Marx” (1979 episode of a British television series).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Fell through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Zeppo Marx is one of the most mysterious figures in film history. He appeared with his brothers Groucho, Harpo and Chico in their first five feature films at Paramount (and in a segment of a promotional film for the studio), but the union within his zany siblings’ antics was always tenuous. He was barely on screen in their first film, “The Cocoanuts,” and snagged a single memorable segment with Groucho in “Animal Crackers.” Zeppo got more screen time as the romantic interest in “Monkey Business” and “Horse Feathers,” but by their final film “Duck Soup” he was back to being an elusive on-screen presence.
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