BOOTLEG FILES 747: “The Laundromat” (1985 HBO drama directed by Robert Altman).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Most likely due to a problem with rights clearance.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely at this time.
During the early 1980s, Robert Altman seemed intent on creating his own version of the American Film Theatre by taking theatrical works and creating adaptations that were closer in style to the original proscenium-framed productions than to works of cinema. With “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” (1982), “Streamers” (1983) and “Secret Ceremony” (1984), Altman was plumbing dramatic emotions from claustrophobic chamber pieces rather than using the widescreen canvas to explore a greater world of tumult and chaos.
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.
People often ask me why I took so long to watch “Game of Thrones,” and it’s pretty simple, really. For one thing, at the time, “The Walking Dead” had premiered, and my attention was completely on its season runs, and number two: I just didn’t want to invest time in it until I understood what it was about. In the past I’d invested time in period series based on source material, and came up with no real rewards for my investment. I spent many years watching “Deadwood” only for HBO to give it the shaft and never deliver the finishing movie that we deserved. “Carnivale” bored me to tears, and despite my best efforts to dig in to the world unfolding, “The Tudors” was just a tedious droning drama that offered nothing in return. I gave up after the second season, and I never tuned in to “The Borgias.”
It’ll be a cold day in hell before I watch a period show on Showtime ever again. No thank you.