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What kind of action will get SW's attention?

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by Rosewood, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo Well-Known Member

    Classic DVDs are on the horizon

    For years fans have been wondering if Sesame Workshop will release classic episodes, or even a collection of the classic segments of Sesame Street on DVD. And for years, the prospect of ever seeing such releases has looked grim. However there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for nostalgic fans. I recently e-mailed Sesame Workshop about releasing the classic material in a box set or other forum – as these types of products are becoming more common and more desired. They responded with some hopeful news.

    “Releasing past, "classic" episodes and/or segments in a collective boxed set of DVDs is something we are striving for...Unfortuently there is a lot of legal work and other clearances needed to make such a product a reality for consumers. We hope to get some of the “classic” material out on DVD as early as 2007... I hope that this is has been helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us with further questions, comments, or concerns on Sesame DVDs...”

    As of right now, there are plans for classic materail on DVD releases. However there is no news to report on the specifics or details of what these products will be (full seasons, collection of uncut episodes, classic clip collections similar to a “best of”, …) when such a product be released, if there will be any bonus features, or how many releases to expect (a single box set, many single-discs, many box sets,…). Details on the specifics of the releases of classic material are not available, and probably won’t be until much closer to the release(s). Things are being worked on, and a lot will depend on the demand and success of initial release(s).

    However that does not mean we should just sit contently silent until the first release. We should still voice our desire to help show there is a demand. Your letters and calls will cause Sesame to fell more confident in releasing classic material – this will cause releases to come quicker, have more content, more features, more releases, and more of what you want and the way you want it.. History has shown us that when a company is considering and working a release this type of classic program, such as this one, that letters from fans can go a long way. By sending a letter, making a phone call, or shooting them an e-mail can show them that there is a demand for material, that people want it – and they want it ASAP. So I urge everyone to write and call Sesame Workshop and ask for DVD box sets of the “classic” material. Together we can relive, reexperience, and reintroduce ourselves to the Street of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. Together we have a voice – let’s have it be heard. Something is coming as soon as possible (two+ years from now), but we should still encourage and reinforce their work on such products.

    You can call them at: 212-595-3456

    You can write them a letter at:
    Sesame Workshop
    1 Lincoln Plaza (Attention: Classic Sesame on DVD)
    New York, NY 10023

    You can send an e-mail here: sesameworkshop@sesameworkshop.org
  2. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Classic Sesame Street material has been released on video and DVD. Most of the videos released between 1986 and 1991 have featured many classic segments, and many of these are currently available on DVD. There have also been many videos made after 1991 that featured classic material, but classic segments haven't been included on videos as frequently as they were in the 1980s. Some of the best videos for fans of classic segments include Learning About Letters, Learning About Numbers, Getting Ready To Read, Play-Along Games And Songs, Monster Hits, Rock & Roll, and Sing-Along, among others.

    Of course, I would much rather have new DVD releases of just classic segments, without any new material. Maybe there could be all-new documentaries included, or maybe they could include complete episodes of the show (or at least the street stories from the early years), the pitch film featuring Kermit and Rowlf, some of the failed test pilots (has anybody here ever seen them?), or een some of the really rare specials, such as Julie On Sesame Street, Out To Lunch, Sesame Street At Night?, A Special Sesame Street Christmas, A Walking Tour of Sesame Street with James Earl Jones, or Sesame Street Unpaved. I'm not sure if Sesame Workshop has ever considered releasing any of those specials on DVD, whether on their own or as bonus features.
  3. Rosewood

    Rosewood Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Gelfling-Waldo!

    Thanks, Gelfling-Waldo!
    Your help on this is most appreciated! I, too, just got through e-mailing SW (again) but this time it was no meek and mild request they received from me. I simply let them know what they may be expecting here in the near future and to brace themselves: for alot of voices that are going to start letting themselves be heard, one way or another! I not only sent a letter to SW, but a personal E-mail to the SW president, Mr. Gary E. Knell himself! I simply decided today that I am sick and tired of being ignored and put on hold, and I won't take it any more.

    And as for these "legal issues" they continually refere to? It's all bunk! They are just stalling for time. There are no "legal issues" I can see them faceing when it comes to releasing episodes, or they wouldn't have all the releases they have currently made so far. They claim to have legal stipulations (concerning copyrights) that are tying them up at the moment. How convenient - for them! I'm telling you this "legal work and other clearances needed to make such a product" was already addressed and taken care of long ago before they ever made the first video release. The problem they seem to be trying to conjure up at the moment is claiming that, once a clip or song has been released on video, it can't be used again on the program itself. It's all a smoke screen. If that were, indeed, the case than they'd have a ton of litigations (on their part) to explain, because I have seen clip after clip used on video, only to be shown again on later episodes. The fact is, they know an uprising is in the wind, and it's scaring them to death! And any little delay (or, as our lawyer puts it, "legal technicality") they can possibly think up, they will use, in order to be able to sell as many videos as possible before this great revolt actually becomes a reality. But look on the bright side; we've called their bluff and I think we've got em' on the run!!!!!
    Let's not give them time to catch a second wind!:D
  4. Rosewood

    Rosewood Well-Known Member

    And thanks also to Rumtar.........

    Thanks also to rumtar, and anyone else who has sent a letter to SW. If you will send me post or pm letting me know, I will include your number in the count; at the moment it stands at 5 (which, when figured the way
    sw will look at it, equals 5,000 signatures!) Lets keep it going, people!:excited:
  5. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict Well-Known Member

    uh Rose how do you know that they're no leagal issues? I myself am no expert on this but I've read a few examples on other shows where this is the case. here's 1 example. If you remember the original Zoom series from the 70s, I've read at their offical site where a few have inquired about the old episodes and asked if they could be shown, and they've also claimed they do not have the rights to air them and in spite making a best of the 70s collection, they cannot make anymore than that 1. I don't understand this myself but. I'm sure the SW has they same issues with this as well.
  6. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo Well-Known Member

    There are legal issues - lots of them. It’s not just a cover, it is the truth, A little clip here and another old clip there is easy (especially given the type of clips used). Releasing some bits (especially ones bit from a past commercial video release) is a synch. Some stuff is easy (and that’s mainly the stuff we’ve seen commercially released here and there on past VHS and DVDs. But a lot of the old stuff from the '70s is a lot harder than just slapping it on a DVD. I won't go into all the lawyer stuff here, but there is a lot of factors involved - has to do with royalties to people involved, issues with the nature in which the item was funded and produced, and a whole bunch of other things with the production companies and parties involved. A lot of early ‘70s shows (especially public television, variety, and children’s shows – all of which Sesame Street brushes into) have had issues with the legal stuff required for uncut commercial home-video DVD releases now (who would have thought 35 years ago about these types of issues ever coming up?) “The Electric Company” was just given a DVD treatment by Sesame Workshop after 3+ years of legal leg work, head-aches, and piles of paper-work (I've talked with people involved with it). There are things involved to get certain things, it’s not just a cover…they are working on it.
  7. Rosewood

    Rosewood Well-Known Member

    I'm not claiming to know everything..........

    Your right, I don't know all the details. All I am saying is that it seems very strange that their reason for not releasing the old episodes seems to change with every answer they give. If they were to stick with the same explination each time a different person inquired about it, it would make it much more believable. I understand the fact that "Legal Issues" (i.e.- specific copyrights, not to mention residuals) may, indeed, exist. And if that be the case, I would be more than willing to be patient and wait if they are truely working on getting these "old episodes" released. But as long as they keep giving one reason to one person and a different reason to another, SW will need to prove themselves more than just once to gain my full trust again. Also, after what they pulled with Sprout, what they may be refering to as "old episodes" may be nothing more than just the first episodes of the "new format".:smirk: I, personaly, simply can't see them going to all the trouble to restore the old archives, and currantly being able to use these clips in their present episodes today, only to turn around and claim they can't release them due to such a reason as copyright issues alone.

    Another factor to take into account is that many of these "legal issues" might be null and void if they would simply not be so centered on making them to sell and, instead, be willing to re-air these episodes on public T.V. The only thing I can see keeping SW from airing these as re-runs today is their own stubborness to do so. Also, when you really think about it, back in the 70's, donations from the general public was a major factor SS relied on to keep their program alive. Shouldn't that make the public part owners to these? And shouldn't we have some say in what happens to them?
  8. Censored

    Censored Well-Known Member

    Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see.
  9. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member


    Here are some legal issues I can think of, though I don't know for sure about all of them:

    1. Maybe it is hard to track down performers to pay residuals to, though I don't think this is the case. I'm sure thayt Sesame Workshop has some kind of data on who performed in what segment, even if just an extra hand. There are many videos that credit performers that don't provide voices. Jane Henson has been credited with performing in many videos (and I'm not sure if she performed much), and another performer who has been credited on quite a few videos is Brian Meehl, who left Sesame Street before the first Sesame Street video was released (And I don't think his voice has even been heard on any videos, television specials excepted). So I don't think performers residuals are much of a problem. It might be difficult for Sesame Workshop to pay Matt Robinson residuals for the use of any Rosevelt Franklin sketches (or even skits where he played Gordon, though I wouldn't expect those segments to pop up on a video). Perhaps there is some trouble paying certain writers or directors, but I doubt it.

    2. Although most of the songs from Sesame Street were written especially for the show, there have been quite a few parodies and a small number of cover versions of songs (especially during the early years). Songs like Yello Submarine, Mah Na Mah Na, I Whistle a Happy Tune, and Octopuses Garden were not written especially for Sesame Street and also haven't been included on any Sesame Street videos (Mah na Mah na was even edited from the video release of The Street We Live On). With the exception of Yello Submarine, all of the songs I listed have been performed on The Muppet Show and released on Muppet Show videos (either in compilations or complete episodes) and some were included on the Muppets Magic DVD, but those videos and DVDs were not released by Sesame Workshop. Mah Na Mah Na has also been released on a few Sesame Street albums, but I'm sure that music rights for an album are different from music rights for a video release (I could be wrong). I'm not sure if there are legal problems for certain original songs. It is rare for songs written for productions to be edited from video releases (the only example I cna think of is the song This Is The Life, which untill recently was cut from all video releases of Johnny Dangerously). There are a lot of songs that have frequently been available on albums that I'd like to see on video (or even on TV, for that matter), such as Proud Of Me, One And One make Two, Breakfast Time, and Circles. i don't think there'd be any legal issues with including those songs on DVD (I don't think One And One Make two would be any different from any bert and Ernie song that's been released, nor do I think Proud Of me is any different from any solo Grover song available on video).

    3. There could be issues with character copyrights. Sesame Workshop has made a deal with Disney to continue showing old Kermit The Frog segments on both the show and video releases (though Kermit still hardly ever appears in current episodes, and only a handful of new videos since Henson sold the Sesame Street characters have featured Kermit, but I hear that Kermit still appears frequently on Plaza Sesamo, the spanish Sesame Street). I'm not sure if that deal also applies to Rowlfs cameo in one of the baker films, nor do I know if it applies to the pictures of Dr. Teeth and Miss Piggy that were seen in the background of some skits. However, there have been some other crossovers. C3PO and R2D2 have both appeared on Sesame Street twice, and the Simpsons have appeared in the celebrity version of Monster In The Mirror. The Pink Panther, Jughead, Richie and Fonzie (from Happy Days), and Arnold (from Hey, Arnold) have also appeared on the show, but I'm not sure what Sesame Workshop has to do in order to release those segments.

    4. Maybe it's impossible to get certain celebrities to agree to let their appearances be on video. Some of the celebrities who appeared in Dance Myself To Sleep on The Street We Live On got cut from the video release. Of course, quite a few celebrity appearances have been released on video (especially in recent videos such as What's The Name of That Song? and All-Star Alphabet, those most of those appearances were more recent, so it's possible that Sesame Workshop has started making deals for video releases, but maybe not).

    That's all I could think of for now.
  10. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Well, I e-mailed Sesame Workshop earlier about this topic, but the letter got sent back to me within a few minutes. I'm not too clear on why. I might try again later. I've read here that some people have e-mailed Sesame Workshop about this, and that Sesame Workshop had said to write back if there were any more questions, so it's not like they wouldn't be allowed to read it (unless Sesame Workshop got so many letters about this that they chose not to read any more).
  11. Rosewood

    Rosewood Well-Known Member

    Well, like Gelfling-Waldo said.........

    Like Gelfling-Waldo said, who would have thought 35 years ago that issues like this would be the downfall of releasing a kids show? I guess in the present day world things have just got so technical that it's hard to determine what direction is "up" anymore. I still don't see what the problem would be in simply playing old re-runs on public T.V. Personally, I would rather have it go that rout than have to worry about all this "red tape" that seems to be gumming up the release project. Honestly, if Sesame Workshop really, truely stands for what they say they do, they would have no qualms in showing old re-runs again. I just get the feeling that, unless they are going to make money off of it somehow, they want nothing to do with it. And if, indeed, this is the case, than it's a very selfish act on Sesame Workshop's part. And it's things like this that get the fire going in the hearts of poor peeons like me.
  12. zns

    zns Well-Known Member

    What if you tried emailing castmembers. If you told them what you wanted to do, maybe they could say something to the people at SW. You can try people like Sonia Manzano on her website.

  13. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict Well-Known Member

    I once emailed WTTW witch produces Soundstage and that show originally aired in 70s and 80s and asked them about rerunning the original episodes occasionally and they said the same thing. the episode were broadcast under certain terms witch have long since expired and would have to renew contracts and whatever to air them again. I wrote again asking a little bit more about this and he also mentioned how such things were not thought of such as royalties or well you know what I mean. it's ashame all this stuff prevents either ruruns or home video releases of these shows and it's the audience for these shows that get the short end of the stick.
  14. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I tried

    I used the e-mail link a few times to e-mail sesame Workshop to show my support for a release of classic material, but it kept getting sent back, being undeliverable. It was sent bakc saying, "Your e-mail is undeliverable because you either don't have create permissions on this folder or it is only available to folder owners at this time at this time". What is create permissions and how do I get it? Or, what times are the folders not only available to folder owners?

    Anyway, my e-mail was stating that I've heard that they were considering releasing some classic Sesame Street DVD releases, told them that I own some of the Sesame Street DVDs curently available (as well as many past video releases), and told them that I think that $48.99 would be a fair price depending on the amount of material included, how many discs there are, and whetehr there are bonus features, but I'd be willing to pay more if I could afford it at the time. I didn't specifically list any speciffic segments I weanted to see (though I did say that I wanted to see all of the baker films, several Kermit segments, some Rosevelt Franklin segments, and plenty of Monsterpiece Theatre and Miami Mice segments, but I didnt' specifically say which ones). Did I do anything wrong with this?

    I also asked a few additional questions. I asked Sesame Workshop why Random House stopped releasing Sesame Street videos in 1995, if they could supply me with a list of original u.s. release dates for all videos made between 1986 and 1993 (don't ask why), why the video release of The Street We Live On was edited, and how it is decided on which DVDs include bonus segments and how the number of skits are decided on (I also asked if they ever considered including bonus segments on DVD releases of past video releases, and I also pointed out that there are some DVDs, like A Celebration of Me, Grover! and The Street We Live On, that should have had bonus segments. I also pointed out that I own two of the three Sesame Street DVDs that include bonus skits).

    Does anybody see anything wrong with what I wrote to them that would automatically get the e-mail sent back to me so soon?
  15. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Sesame Street has also had many parodies over the years, not just song parodies, but also TV and movie parodies. I don't know if Sesame Workshop has to pay royalties for the use of certain parodies. Some parodies have been released on video, but I'm not sure if there are any legal problems with parodies.

    Also, unlike the muppets, who were always built by The Jim Henson Company (though I've read somewhere that a different puppet company has been making puppets for some non-u.s. versions of the show), various animated segments from the show were animated by different companies, not just one. It might be hard for Sesame Workshop to arrange a deal to release certain animated segments on DVD. This may also apply to film segments.

    There have been quite a few Sesame Street anniversary specials. There's been Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting, Sesame Street's All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Streets Forever, Sesame Street's 25th Birthday: A Musical Celebration (plus a reedited for TV version called Sesame Street Jam: A Musical Celebration), Elmopalooza, The Street We Live On, and What's The name of That Song? Out of those specials, only four have been available on video, only two were made for tv and not made for video, and one of those two specials that was released on video (Elmopalooza) didn't even have any clips, while the other one (The Street We Live On) had many clips that were edited from the video release. I'm not sure if there are legal problems with the first two specials listed, which would prevent them from being on video (or at least prevent them from being uncut). Hopefully theres not. Of course, I think The Jim Henson Company actually owns the rights to Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting.

    There have also been a few specials that aren't really anniversary specials, but are close. Specials like A Walking Tour of Sesame Street (is this an anniversary special or a documentary?), Sesame Street Celebrates Joe raopso, A&E Biography Close-Up: Sesame Street, Sesame Street A-Z, and Sesame Street Unpaved. Out of those specials, only the A&E Biography documentary was released on video. It's possible that legal issues are preventing the others from being released. The rights to Sesame Street A-Z and Sesame Street Unpaved might be owned by/ shared with Viacom, but I'm not sure. There was also a special called Big Birds Birthday, which featuired segments from the show and is not available on video.
  16. Rosewood

    Rosewood Well-Known Member

    So far I have sent e-mails to 2 cast members

    So far I have sent e-mails regarding this to both Bob and Sonia's personal web sites and have never gotten a response from either one. I sometimes wonder if these cast members ever really read there e-mail, or mabey if it gets "screened" first before it gets to them.:confused:
  17. Rosewood

    Rosewood Well-Known Member

    Who would have ever thought.........

  18. zns

    zns Well-Known Member

    They're very busy people. It will probably take awhile. What exactly did you say?
  19. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Many of the words to Sleigh Ride were changed in A Muppet Family Christmas (making it look like it should be titled Bear And A Snowman) and that song was cut from the video and DVD releases.
  20. Rosewood

    Rosewood Well-Known Member

    Well, it was kind of a round-about mannor........

    I didn't want to immediatly "turn them off", so first off I simply let them know how much I had always been a fan of theirs, as well as a die hard SS fan. I let them know how much I admired their work, and how I felt it would be a real honer to personaly meet them some day. That being said, I simply asked at the end of the letter if they might know anything about what may lie in store for all the early episodes made before the "new format" was created, and, if so, if they might be able to simply give us a "heads up", per say, without putting their own jobs in jepordy.

    I feel it was "open" enough that it should have made it possible for them to have responded, one way or another, by now.

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