Ah, the holidays and the post-holidays . . . the time when the shelves of fans swell fit to bursting with newly acquired films and TV series. In the midst of this, a wife (mine) will occasionally ask (make) her husband (me) get to the business of going through their vast library of titles for reasons both practical (er, dusting) and, well, even more practical (“Do you need that if you’re never going to watch it?”). However, a side effect of the whole rearrange and reorganize for me turns out to be the fact that it throws sharp focus on the fact that there are several fan gems still missing from any kind of (legal) DVD or Blu-ray representation. I wanted to talk about some of the titles that we as fans are missing, and invite you to suggest more.
Let’s start with the big one . . .
Batman: Clearly, the non-release of the ‘60s Batman series has been owed to a complicated and well-documented series of legal woes, rights issues and entanglements. Nevertheless, this is just, in fan terms, wrong. Of course, there are people that hate this series and how it presented Batman’s world with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. On the flip-side, there are countless others that loved this series, whether they watched it at the time or discovered it later as a children.
For my part, I was born too late (1973) to see the original airings. However, it ran regularly in syndication in my area and was just about as important to me as Sesame Street in terms of daily viewing. In fact, around 1978, my conception of Batman was owed almost entirely to a) the Super Friends, b) the other Batman animated series that ran on CBS, and c) the live-action show, which, like a shocking amount of other series and movies, I was introduced to by my dad.
Today, it remains an extremely influential show. It broke the regular pattern of airings at the time by doing two episodes in a week for a portion of its run (ah, cliffhangers). It was campy, sure, but it also frequently clever. And yeah, the POW!BAM!ZAP! stuff has annoyed our community for decades hence, but to paraphrase Dr. Venkman, the kids loved it.
Quick Pause: While we ponder the lack of Batman, we should probably show some amazement that Adventures of Superman, Wonder Woman, Incredible Hulk, and Greatest American Hero are all available. Hell, I have Secret Agent/Danger Man and The Prisoner; remember when you used to have to wait for stuff late at night on cable or try to tape it or try to snag it at a convention? Now you can just Netflix most of it. Unreal.
World’s Greatest Super Friends: Though Warner has done a great job of getting as much “Super Friends” to DVD as it can, there are still three crucial pieces missing. First is The World’s Greatest Super Friends, which was the abbreviated season from 1979-1980. The next two following would be the collections of shorts that ran in 1980 and 1981. Only then could you have a truly complete collection of “Super Friends” as it ran in its many incarnations from 1973 to 1986.
The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire: This TV-movie pilot for a series that never was came from Nick Corea, best known for his various writing, producing and directing on The Incredible Hulk series. Released overseas as The Archer and the Sorceress, it’s mainly notable for being an honest attempt at TV fantasy during the cheap fantasy cinema boom of the early ‘80s.
Spider-Man: We’ll call a halt today with Spider-Man, mainly because the Spidey animated shows that aren’t available need some deeper attention.
That’s Part 1, readers; rest assured I have many more. What can you add now?What's on your list of missing DVDs?