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The Bootleg Files: The Carpenters…Space Encounters

BOOTLEG FILES 761: “The Carpenters…Space Encounters” (1978 television variety special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Music clearance rights are probably at the root of the problem.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

When it comes to kitsch, nothing beats the television variety specials of the 1970s. Between the none-too-special guest stars performing musical numbers for which they were ill-suited, the flashy polyester costuming, the overbaked choreography and the manic need to appear hip, these productions often represent the best of the worst elements from the decade that good taste forgot.
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The Bootleg Files: Woody Allen Looks at 1967

BOOTLEG FILES 753: “Woody Allen Looks at 1967” (1967 television special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never released in a home entertainment format.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

It’s safe to say that no one will ever look back on 2020 with any great fondness, except perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Biden, but that now-closed 12-month span was hardly the first year-from-hell experience. Anyone who was around in 1967 will glumly recall the challenges and tragedies that marked the year’s political and social environments.
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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: 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: Mary’s Incredible Dream

BOOTLEG FILES 725: “Mary’s Incredible Dream” (1976 television special starring Mary Tyler Moore).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Too many music and performance rights issues to address, not to mention quality control problems.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Unlikely.

The 1970s represented the pinnacle of bizarre variety programming on American television. Whether it involved regularly scheduled programming – look at “Pink Lady and Jeff,” “The Gong Show” or “The Brady Bunch Hour” – or standalone specials – think of Raquel Welch doing “The Age of Aquarius” on an Aztec pyramid or Ann-Margret joining the Bay City Rollers” in “Saturday Night” before an audience of old ladies or Paul Lynde throwing lavender-scented double entendres at KISS on his Halloween show – the decade represented the alpha and omega of musical-comedy inanity.
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The Bootleg Files – Energy: A National Issue

BOOTLEG FILES 721: “Energy: A National Issue” (1977 educational animated film narrated by Charlton Heston and starring Fred and Wilma Flintstone).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It seems to have fallen through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

Last week’s column served up the worst production in “The Flintstones” canon. This week, we serve up the second worst.
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The Bootleg Files: Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood

BOOTLEG FILES 716: “Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood” (1960 all-star TV special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
No perceived commercial reissue value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

By the time 1960 rolled about, the film industry was in a very strange place. The studio system had mostly crumbled and many of the major Hollywood productions were being shot overseas. The movie studios learned to grudgingly live with television and a few figured out how to profit from the small screen medium.
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The Bootleg Files: The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t

BOOTLEG FILES 707: “The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t” (1979 TV special with Judd Hirsch and Mariette Hartley).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: A VHS video release only.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Something is holding up a DVD and Blu-ray release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not a priority.

So, how was your Halloween? If you wish the holiday could go on a bit longer, then you came to the right place because we are digging up one of the silliest productions centered around October 31.
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