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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: Heil Honey I’m Home!

BOOTLEG FILES 653: “Heil Honey I’m Home!” (1990 British sitcom that ran for one episode before being cancelled).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: One of the most notoriously bad productions in British television history.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Nein.

Imagine “I Love Lucy” with Adolf Hitler as Ricky Ricardo, Eva Braun as Lucy and an obnoxious Jewish couple as the Mertzes. Welcome to the production that makes “The Day the Clown Cried” seem like the pinnacle of fine art: the 1990 British sitcom “Heil Honey I’m Home!”
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The Bootleg Files: Freddie and Max

BOOTLEG FILES 650: “Freddie & Max” (1990 British sitcom starring Anne Bancroft and Charlotte Coleman).

LAST SEEN: Three of the series’ six episodes are on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A flop that never turned up in America.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

In the spring of 1990, the British newspapers were aflutter over some extraordinary news: Thames Television had signed Hollywood legend Anne Bancroft to star in her first sitcom. Bancroft was to receive a $175,000 salary for appearing in six episodes of “Freddie and Max,” a production that carried a budget of $1.4 million, the largest (at the time) for a British television series. And with the writing team of Dick Clement and Ian Le Fresnais – the creative force behind the popular British TV comedy “Porridge” starring Ronnie Barker – the project seemed very promising.
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The Bootleg Files: Odd Man Out

BOOTLEG FILES 647: “Odd Man Out” (1977 British television series starring John Inman and Josephine Tewson).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Never broadcast in the U.S.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

In last week’s column, we considered a failed attempt to Americanize the long-running British comedy series “Are You Being Served?” This week, we stay on the subject by focusing on the unsuccessful effort by one of the stars of “Are You Being Served?” to start his own series.
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