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The Bootleg Files: King of the Jungle

BOOTLEG FILES 815: “King of the Jungle” (1933 adventure film starring Buster Crabbe).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO:
None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

In 1932, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer scored a commercial hit by casting former Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller in the title role of “Tarzan the Ape Man.” Paramount Pictures thought it could replicate the rival studio’s success, but rather than acquire the rights to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan character it opted to make a quasi-Tarzan film based on Charles Turley Stoneham’s “The Lion’s Way” – in which a Tarzan-type character was raised in the African jungle by lions rather than apes.
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The Bootleg Files: The Lauren Bacall High Point Coffee Commercials

BOOTLEG FILES 814: “The Lauren Bacall High Point Coffee Commercials” (a series of television advertisements from the early 1980s).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No commercial reissue value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Forty years ago, American television viewers were bombarded with a series of commercials for the High Point brand of instant decaffeinated coffee starring Lauren Bacall. While it was hardly unusual to have recognizable stars pitching coffee in 30- and 60-second spots – Bacall and her then-husband Jason Robards co-starred in a Maxwell House ad during the mid-1960s – the High Point commercials represent a somewhat bizarre realm where marketing and camp overlap. These commercials generated giggles back in the day, and today they are treasured by many as small gems of unintentional humor.
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The Bootleg Files: King of the Pins

BOOTLEG FILES 813: “King of the Pins” (1950 short film).

LAST SEEN:
On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A true obscurity.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Not likely.

When people are asked to identify short films made by Columbia Pictures during Hollywood’s Golden Era, it is safe to assume that the majority of responses will be rooted in comedy – The Three Stooges, Andy Clyde, Buster Keaton, Charley Chase and Vera Vague will probably be cited most often.
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The Bootleg Files: The Plank

BOOTLEG FILES 812: “The Plank” (1967 British comedy film).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It never made it across the Atlantic for a commercial release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Not in the U.S. market.

For every Benny Hill, Monty Python or “Are You Being Served?” that crossed the Atlantic, there are scores of British funnymen who either tried and failed to find an American audience or never gave it a go. Two of the most inventive and delightful British comics to find favor in their country, Eric Sykes and Tommy Cooper, are mostly unknown to Americans – and I might wonder if today’s younger Britons are familiar with these yesteryear stars.
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The Bootleg Files: Olivia Newton-John – Hollywood Nights

BOOTLEG FILES 811: “Olivia Newton-John – Hollywood Nights” (1980 TV special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The expense in clearing the music and performance rights.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There is no great call for this one.

In April 1980, Olivia Newton-John was at a career peak – she ended the 1970s as one of the decade’s most popular recording stars and her first Hollywood movie, the 1978 production of “Grease,” immediately established her as a box office presence. Her star power was so strong that ABC recruited her for a one-hour variety special that would air ahead of its telecast of the Academy Awards ceremony.
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The Bootleg Files: Vinyl

BOOTLEG FILES 810: “Vinyl” (Andy Warhol’s 1965 unofficial adaptation of “A Clockwork Orange”.

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Unauthorized use of Burgess’ book and several classic rock songs.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There is no great call for this one.

Everyone is familiar with Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film version of the Anthony Burgess novel “A Clockwork Orange,” but some people might not realize there was an earlier screen adaptation – by, of all people, Andy Warhol.
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The Bootleg Files: Lambeth Walk – Nazi Style

BOOTLEG FILES 809: “Lambeth Walk – Nazi Style” (1942 short that riffs on “Triumph of the Will” with a soundtrack featuring an instrumental version of “The Lambeth Walk”).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: In public domain anthologies.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Unauthorized use of Leni Riefenstahl’s film coupled with music clearance issues.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
It is out there, rights clearance be damned.

Some humor is timeless – think of Shakespeare’s comedies, Mark Twain’s novels and the Three Stooges’ knockabout. But with some humor, time is not an ally and it can difficult for later generations to appreciate what their predecessors were laughing about.
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The Bootleg Files: Sesame Street Episode 847

BOOTLEG FILES 808: “Sesame Street Episode 847” (1976 offering of the TV classic with guest Margaret Hamilton).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Not yet.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It’s complicated.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Who knows?

In the 1970s, character actress Margaret Hamilton experienced a career upswing. She landed the part of Cora, the New England general store manager, in a long-running series of Maxwell House coffee television commercials. And she had a few opportunities to revisit her beloved film role as the Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz” in several television appearances, including a kindly visit without her green make-up on “Mister Rogers” and in a wacky and ribald riff (with her green hue) in Paul Lynde’s campy Halloween special.
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