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The Abbott & Costello Complete Universal Pictures Sets: Could A Blu-Ray Version Be Next?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Tony Bensley, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    While the first version of this set has actually been in existence for quite some time (Since 2008), the second reissue was issued earlier this year, and features slightly more compact outer casing. It's total width is only about 1 and a half times that of the previously issued Universal THE BEST OF ABBOTT AND COSTELLO 4 Volume Series stacked together, though it contains nearly double the discs!

    The main purpose of this thread (Besides the Blu-Ray question!) is primarily to demonstrate what both versions of this set has to offer. Perhaps these can also serve as a comparison to the aforementioned Universal THE BEST OF ABBOTT AND COSTELLO 4 Volume Series (A total of 8 double-sided DVDs Issued during 2004-2005) , which didn't include their 1943 Feature IT AIN'T HAY, due to the then still ongoing rights issues with the Damon Runyon estate.

    For further reference to the "Best Of" series, I highly recommend reading up on the following HTF Archive Thread: http://cplt20official.com/topic/147933-8-abbott-costello-films-coming-21004/

    Please note that with the above being an archive thread, no new posts can be added. Otherwise, posting there would have been my last ditch effort to inquire about a possible existing thread for the complete Abbott & Costello Universal Set! Please also note that the final fourth volume had not yet been released at the time that the final post (November, 2004.) was made.

    A Few Fast Facts About " Abbott & Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection":
    - 15 DVD Set that contains all 28 Abbott & Costello Features that were released by Universal Pictures/Universal International from 1940 to 1955. They made 8 other Features for various Movie Studios from 1942 to 1956, which are of course, not a part of this collection.
    - Though their last two pictures in this collection (ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE KEYSTONE KOPS and MEET THE MUMMY.) were originally released to Theaters in Widescreen Format, they've never been issued that way to Home Video. The versions that appear in this set (And elsewhere!) are the 1.37:1 Matte "Protected for Standard Screen" transfers.
    - In addition to the first ever Home Video issue of IT AIN'T HAY, 6 Features have had commentary tracks added! BUCK PRIVATES features commentary by the Home Theater Forum's own Film Preservationist and Cinematic Expert, Bob Furmanek!
    - Includes a 44 page Booklet that contains Abbott & Costello's Universal Filmography, along with other valuable information about Bud & Lou's lives and career!

    Anthony Bensley


    The First Complete Universal Pictures "Open Trunk" 15 DVD Set (2008):
    51l1CZuowiL.

    The Second, Slightly More Compact Reissued Universal DVD Set (2014):
    91gFcHCKnRL._SL1500_.
     
  2. albert_m2

    albert_m2 Second Unit

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    I have the one in the first picture. Had no idea it was reissued differently, but I did notice that the separate "best of" sets were updated to standard dvd cases with individual discs.
     
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  3. williampl7@aol.com

    [email protected] Stunt Coordinator

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    I wonder how the two A&C Blu-Rays, Buck Privates and Meet Frankenstein did in sales.
     
  4. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    I think if they do more Abbott and Costello on Blu Ray it will be more single titles or double features.
     
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  5. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Albert!

    I wasn't aware of the BEST OF ABBOTT & COSTELLO Volumes having been upgraded in any way! Do you know whether IT AIN'T HAY is also included in this upgrade?

    The second set is what I received in the mail from Canadian Amazon (At $52.99, I simply couldn't pass it up, and it's already back up to $91.98!) only yesterday. I still have the original 4 "Best Of" Volumes that are, unfortunately double-sided. Also, I always thought that the blank side on the final disc on Volume 4 was a waste of space. I mean, if double-sided discs must be used, there might as well be some content on every side!

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony
     
  6. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Randy!

    I'm not too sure that I agree regarding this, as BUCK PRIVATES and ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN seem to be their two individual titles that receive the Lion's share of attention. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that Universal didn't offer up a Blu-Ray version of the recently reissued Complete Universal Pictures Collection, as this surely would have provided an extra incentive to upgrade, though I suppose they may not have have wanted to spring for re-scanning all of their Abbott & Costello Films in HD Format.

    As an added footnote, I just recently discovered that there was a Blu-Ray issued of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK by Blu-rayOnly.com that is now listed as unavailable on Amazon, which I assume to mean that it's out of print. As far as I know, this is the only other Abbott & Costello Film to have been issued to Blu-Ray.

    412PJ8DsspL.

    I for one, am pretty satisfied with the existing DVD format (Though I do kind of wish that the last 2 Universals had been issued in their original Widescreen Format!), though I'm sure there are plenty of viewers who would love to have all of Bud & Lou's Film Library see Blu-Ray issue!

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony
     
  7. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Hi Tony
    It would be very costly for Universal to remaster in HD another 26 films which would result in a much higher list price than the DVD set. How many fans would pay a high price to upgrade to HD. I'm about as die hard a fan as they come and I have the 2 films and think they are only a mild upgrade so I would have to wait for a good sale.
    So Universal would have to consider this as well. Their monster films are bigger home video sellers and so far they have only done a 8 film set of those on blu-ray.
    Also consider CBS just remastered I Love Lucy and Andy Griffith show season 1 for Blu-ray last year and those had a high cost as well and I don't think they sold well as there are no signs of them continuing after 1 year. I'm sure Universal would look at those sales as well.
     
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  8. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Randy!

    Considering that the above aforementioned sets were only issued this past May, I think the jury might still be out regarding future release of more seasons. With that said, based on the current price points for both Blu-Ray sets, as listed on Amazon ($68.15 and $59.78, respectively!), I'd say it's no wonder if sales are low for these!

    Regarding the 26 Abbott & Costello Universal Features, it does sound to me like further upgrade to the currently common 1080p standard might be a bit pointless, assuming that the Blu-Rays for BUCK PRIVATES and ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN weren't merely digitally re-scanned SD transfers, which I'd think would explain the mild upgrade as you stated!

    CHEERS!

    Tony
     
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  9. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Albert!

    Do you remember where you saw these? The closest that I was able to find listed is a PAL Region 2 UK Box Set from 2006 with very similar artwork that's listed on Amazon UK as having 13 DVD's. This set contains 24 of Bud & Lou's Universal Features, plus the largely maligned Jack E. Leonard narrated THE WORLD OF ABBOTT AND COSTELLO, from 1965. I find it interesting that in addition to the then still rights plagued IT AIN'T HAY, 3 of their other Universal Features were left off (THE WISTFUL WOMAN OF WAGON GAP, MEXICAN HAYRIDE, and "MEET DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.") of this collection! Also, why was only ONE title included on the bonus DVD, when three (Including the "MEET JERRY SEINFELD," and "MEET THE MONSTERS" Featurettes!) appear on ALL of the U.S. based Abbott & Costello Universal Sets?

    Abbott And Costello - The Collection (13 Disc Box Set) [DVD]:
    51VAKBWTSCL.

    Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000GKHM0A/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_lc?tag=bulpoirev-21&camp=2902&creative=19466&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=B000GKHM0A&adid=072MZJ60ECTXYP7NMY4B&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dvdcompare.net%2Fcomparisons%2Ffilm.php%3Ffid%3D22947

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony

    P.S. Abbott & Costello - The Collection (13 Disc Box Set) Content Listing (Source: Amazon UK.):
    Includes: 'Pardon My Sarong', 'Keep 'Em Flying', 'Who Done It?', 'Ride Em Cowboy' 'Hold That Ghost', 'Buck Privates', 'In The Navy', 'One Night In The Tropics', 'Meet The Killer Boris Karloff', 'Meet Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde', 'In The Foreign Legion', 'Meet The Keystone Cops', 'Meet Frankenstein', 'Meet The Mummy', 'Meet The Invisible Man', 'Go To Mars', 'Hit The Ice', 'Lost In Alaska', 'Naughty Nineties', 'Time Of Their Lives', 'Buck Privates', 'Come Home', 'Comin' Round the Mountain', 'Here Come The Co-Eds', 'In Society' and 'World of Abbott & Costello' (Documentary)
     
  10. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    I just discovered that the individual Universal Vault Series DVD-R of IT AIN'T HAY, which was for several years, available only on U.S. based sites, such as Amazon, finally became available on Canadian Amazon in early October of this year! The cost of international shipping kept me from adding this to my 4 THE BEST OF ABBOTT AND COSTELLO Volumes during a very lengthy period when their ABBOTT & COSTELLO: THE COMPLETE UNIVERSAL PICTURES COLLECTION ran near or over $100 (At Canadian Amazon!) on a consistent basis!

    The IT AIN'T HAY Universal Vault Series (No Menu!) DVD-R, Released in January, 2011:
    511tT4bcD1L.

    It just strikes me as a bit oddly ironic that I would discover the above only days after ordering ABBOTT & COSTELLO: THE COMPLETE UNIVERSAL PICTURES COLLECTION. Thankfully, I was able to get this for the relatively low price of $62 CDN (Including taxes, et al!) and change! Of course, the price didn't stay low (It's current Canadian Amazon listing is $89.99!) for long!

    CHEERS! :)
     
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  11. albert_m2

    albert_m2 Second Unit

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    I believe that they are essentially reissues other than (admittingly important) upgrade to single sided discs and the standard dvd packaging. Note, that the newer releases don't have the "Franchise" wording on the front covers. You should be able to find them on Amazon. I have seen the reissued first volume at more than one Barnes and Noble and even at Target (though a few months ago). I wish that they had done that before the box. I like the "best of" packaging (especially in a standard dvd case) and limited space that it eats up.
     
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  12. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    I'm pretty sure that NBCUniversal has HD masters of all the A&C films.

    Of course, getting them released onto blu-ray is another question.
     
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  13. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Albert!

    First, thank you very much for kindly enlightening me to the existence of this reissued set's existence!

    From what I could dig up from searching Canadian and U.S. Amazon, THE BEST OF ABBOTT & COSTELLO Volume 1 set was the only one that I could find that's minus "The Franchise Collection" titling. It's Canadian Amazon page does indeed, list 4 discs for this October, 2012 release. Incredibly, a thorough search on U.S. Amazon didn't even uncover this Volume!

    THE BEST OF ABBOTT & COSTELLO October, 2, 2012 Reissued Volume 1 Set As Pictured At Amazon.ca:
    81rQRT3izQL._SL1500_.
    http://www.amazon.ca/Best-Bud-Abbott-Lou-Costello/dp/B008M4C1CG/ref=sr_1_18?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1417646637&sr=1-18

    In my opinion, this reissue was a day late and a few bucks short, especially in light of the apparent fact that Volume 2 (Which would have presumably included the no longer rights issue plagued IT AIN'T HAY!) has to date, NOT been reissued!

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony

    P.S. To be more thorough, I've also checked the Barnes & Noble website. There is no Revised "Best Of" Volume 2 listed there, either! The more that I think of this, in my opinion, Universal should have just replaced ALL of the double-sided junk Volumes at once, and pulled whatever was left of these prone to playback error discs from the Home Video market! Not only that, but even while Universal doesn't reissue Volumes 2 -4 (And, in the process probably ticking off anticipating Fans who double dipped for the first Revised Abbott & Costello Volume!), they reissue the Complete Universal Pictures Collection! While I'm personally grateful for scoring a decent deal for this set, this just doesn't make sense on so many levels!
     
  14. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    There was no original VHS version of IT AIN'T HAY. The legal issues with the Runyon Estate were cleared for the first time with the DVD release.
     
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  15. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    There is, in fact, a VHS Tape of IT AIN'T HAY currently for sale by a Canadian third party merchant (Far Out Flicks, located in Kitchener, Ontario.) on Canadian Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.ca/It-Aint-Hay/dp/B00004TDLJ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417683612&sr=8-2&keywords=it+ain%27t+hay

    IT AIN'T HAY's VHS Cover
    511RTQ77BWL.

    I'm thinking this may likely be the Tape that Richard is talking about! I have actually seen this listed on Canadian Amazon (Though NEVER on the U.S. Amazon site!) for years, though it's typically listed as unavailable. Perhaps for some reason, the rights issues regarding the Damon Runyan Estate didn't cover Canada?

    CHEERS! :)
     
  16. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    The Blu's of Buck Privates and Meet Frankenstein are definitely better than "mild upgrades" and certainly not rescanned sd versions. Imo, there is a major difference between the two. Would LOVE to have all the A&C films on blu!
     
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  17. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Valentino!

    As I haven't viewed either of these on Blu-Ray, I cannot comment other than to state that a proper HD upgrade can't help but be at least somewhat of an improvement. To be honest, I also wouldn't mind if Universal replaced the 1.37:1 Academy Ratio Matte Print Transfers for their final 2 Abbott & Costello Features ("Meet The Keystone Kops" and "Meet The Mummy") with their original Widescreen Theatrical Presentations!

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony
     
  18. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Being such an A&C fan, why don't you already own those two on Blu???
     
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  19. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Basically because of limited funds, coupled with a general satisfaction with their DVD quality. We also only have one Blu-Ray Player Vs. Several DVD Players! I do however, recognize that there are those who can and will shell out for quality Blu-Ray upgrades!

    CHEERS! :)
     
  20. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Richard!

    Do you have any idea whether the VHS packaging indicates release outside of the U.S? I ask this as rights issues with the Damon Runyan Estate had supposedly prevented Home Video issue prior to 2008, and I'm thinking that the same rights issues might not have applied to certain nations. Perhaps the year of IT AIN'T HAY's VHS release might also provide a clue?

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony
     

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