Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rock n' Roll Fantasy

I haven't said much more about the WKRP-on-DVD issue because it's kinda depressing. For the sake of the people involved with the show, I hope it sells well. I especially hope that it sells well enough to justify an actual music budget for seasons 2-4, because those seasons often had entire scenes accompanied by music, and if you don't pay for the song, you have to cut the entire scene because the dialogue track doesn't exist in isolation.

There's one episode in the fourth season where a whole scene is underscored by the Beatles' "Come Together." Except for Johnny mentioning John Lennon, the music is so quiet you'd hardly know it's "Come Together," and it's mostly there to make an obscure in-jokey point about the scene. But still, it's the Beatles, and it's there, and I have no idea how this scene will ever make it onto a DVD.

The set seems to be doing OK at Amazon, and I have noticed that people who haven't seen the show in a while don't seem to mind or notice most of the changes, except for the really obvious ones like changing Jennifer's doorbell. But it might be doing better if Fox had ponied up more money to release a better product. There's no reason to feel gratitude to a company for releasing a product that doesn't meet expectations.

Here's a video compilation with some music-related moments and dialogue that either don't make it onto the DVD or make it only with changed music.

One episode that doesn't lose a lot of footage but is kind of weakened by the lack of music is an episode Hugh Wilson wrote called "I Want to Keep My Baby"; it's about a woman leaving her baby at the station, and Johnny's attempt to return the baby to its mother, so most of the songs were chosen for their relationship to the situation:

- "Baby" by Carla Thomas
- "Teach Your Children Well" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
- "Return to Sender" by Elvis Presley
- "Your Smiling Face" by James Taylor (at the end)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Much has been posted about the music replacements on the "official" DVD of WKRP. This puts real fans of the show in a Catch-22 (do we buy an inferior product just to guarantee a season 2? Or do we boycott unless Fox revamps season 1 with the real music?). How about taking a cue from the show itself. In one episode, Johnny Fever tells his listeners that if they are angry about the garbage strike, to take their garbage to the steps of city hall and leave it. How about this: Buy two copies of the season 1 shows. Keep one (as it is destined to be a collector's item); take the other, pack it up with a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope and send it to Fox (we'd need to find the right address) along with a letter stating: "I am returning this sub-standard version of WKRP in Cincinnati to you so that when the show is re-mixed and re-released with the original music and original scenes restored that you will send the corrected version to me via this postage-paid return envelope. I also hope that seasons 2-4 of this fine show are released with the original music and scenes at some point in the near future."
This guarantees good sales numbers, gets the message to Fox that they REALLY dropped the ball on this one and possibly may result in Fox "doing the right thing" and putting together a season one collection that does justice to the creativity of the original show. Maybe it does nothing but tick off the mailroom staff at Fox, but I think it might be worth a try.
BTW, WKRP is not in the list of New Releases on the Fox Home Entertainment web site. A search for "WKRP" returns no results. However, if you go to the Fox Store link, the DVD set of WKRP is for sale there (albeit with no synopsis and no credits, only an episode list). I'm wondering if Fox knows it has a controversy on its hands and is seeking to keep the whole thing quiet?