Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bijou Bob Answers Back

We really appreciate the reception you’ve given The Bijou Blog, and all the thoughtful input you’ve provided. Comments left on each of our posts often come with questions, and this is an opportunity to provide some answers.

One fan asks when in 2007 will the new series begin, and another noted that his TIVO has no clue about the show and also wonders when it will start broadcasting. The short and simple answer is that the Matinee at the Bijou team is currently seeking sponsorship. PBS has given the green light to the sequel series and is assisting in the sponsor search. As soon as that task is complete we’ll have a firm date for the series’ debut.

“Robert” wants to know if Matinee will air on KAET in Arizona. KAET is based in Phoenix on the campus of Arizona State University and covers 80% of the great state of Arizona. Once the show is funded and produced, PBS will feed the series each week to virtually all its affiliate stations throughout North America. We’re looking forward to bringing our unique content, including a cartoon, a short subject, a serial chapter, and a feature film, to our friends in Arizona and the rest of the country.

Another enthusiast asks whether we plan to show just public domain stuff or will we be including other material as well. This shows you folks are paying attention out there! The original Matinee at the Bijou which first aired back in the early 1980’s did indeed use only films that were in the public domain. However, the sequel series will be a mix of public domain and non-public domain films from private collections, independent studios, and some from the major studios. This will give viewers the advantage of seeing a much wider variety of entertaining film treats than ever before, and all in HD.

One alert commenter noted that we left Singin’ in the Rain out of the piece on our host Debbie Reynolds. OK, our bad. Certainly it’s one of America’s best-loved movies of all time, and it gave Debbie an illustrious beginning to what turned out to be a legendary (and still busy) career. One interesting item about the 1952 classic is that despite its enduring status as an all-time classic and groundbreaking cinematic masterpiece, it only earned two minor Oscar nominations (for supporting actress Jean Hagen and musical score by Lennie Hayton). More than a half-century later, Singin’ in the Rain is ranked as one of the greatest films ever, higher than all the movies that were nominated for best picture that year. The American Film Institute named it the number one movie musical of all time!

Bijou Bob thanks everyone for the comments and questions. We will continue to monitor the blog and will do our best to answer questions as they come up. Keep ’em coming, folks! With your help, the Matinee at the Bijou buzz is building, and the louder the buzz gets the sooner we’ll find that sponsor we need to get back on the air.


Matt Hinrichs said...

Hi. Coming across this blog was the best news I've heard in a long time! The original "Bijou" was part of my childhood film education and I eagerly await the new incarnation. Thanks.

Tory said...

First, I would like to thank you for bringing this program back to PBS as I would probably never have obtained my passion for older films had I not experienced the earlier package in my first four years. I hope to see this on LPB in Louisiana.

Second is a request for Wheeler & Woolsey films. This comedy team has been wrongfully forgotten for far too long and need some attention paid to them so as to reintroduce them to the public consciousness. I know that some of their films may be hard to acquire but Half-Shot at Sunrise, Hook Line & Sinker and Dixiana are in the public domain and of those I strongly recommend Half-Shot at Sunrise for airing. If, per chance you could get Warner to let you air some of their owned films them please consider Diplomaniacs, Peach-o-Reno, Hips Hips Hooray and Cockeyed Cavaliers.

Third, as for Short Subjects, I would love to see some Charley Chase on PBS. Again these may be hard to air but On the Wrong Trek is a talkie in the public domain. If you could get some that are not please consider Snappy Sneezer, The Pip from Pittsburgh, The Nickel Nurser and It Happened One Day.

Will you be airing any silents? Perhaps some Out of the Inkwell shorts?

Festive said...

Hey! Welcome back!

Any chance of seeing another color Roy Rogers film? He made quite a few color ones in the late 1940s, and I think you showed one in the original series. Hey, how about an online listing of your first seasons to refresh my memory on what I enjoyed way back then!?

Anonymous said...

This is very delightful news,although I must say,I have to view this with some trepidation. I too saw the original Matinee at the Bijou in the 80's and enjoyed it for the concept,but not for the execution. It didn't bother me that the show used public domain material. What bugged me was the fact that almost all the films were edited to fit into a 90 minute slot. Serials that were 12 chapters long would run only 8 chapters,and feature films that originally ran around 70 minutes or so would have the guts taken out of them,winding up at about 45 minutes.

When I see a movie,I expect to see the complete,uncut presentation the way the makers intended. Since the new show will be 2 hours in length,I have hope that the movies shown will be complete. Is this going to happen,or will we film buffs get more chop jobs?

BijouBob said...

Yours is a common critique concerning the original series, and one with which Bijou Bob wholeheartedly agrees. The problem, of course, was the 90 minute time constraint. Unfortunately, even a 2 hour time slot makes some editing necessary. You need just add up the running times of a typical cartoon, short, serial chapter and feature to appreciate the dilemma. We petitioned (read "begged") PBS for a 2 1/2 hour time slot, but learned it was not possible for a national PBS continuing series. However, producers control content on the DVD versions, and we promise the DVDs will showcase the complete and unedited versions of each episode.
We hope that the two hour expanded length, as well as the opportunity to see the uncut matinee on DVD, will satisfy both the purists and the pragmatic demands of television.