ABC Sucks! Booo!!

The Great Pumpkin is on tonight on ABC, and those jerks at ABC chopped it up! Booo!! They cut the cartoon short so they could pack in more stupid commercials. Why does television even bother with programs, anyway? Why not just broadcast wall-to-wall commercials?

The funny thing is that I remember back in the 1980s when ABC started censoring the violence out of the Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons. Have you ever seen the Road Runner without violence? Predictably, this marked the decline and fall of Saturday morning cartoons....imagine that.

Seriously, broadcast tv can't die fast enough. I'm going to Youtube.

Update: Here's what ABC chopped out of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown":

Lucy and the Football - This is one of the classic Peanuts bits. They cut this out to make way for an SUV commercial?! This scene is removed, and we go straight to Linus writing his letter to the Great Pumpkin.

Shroeder at the Piano - I love this part, when Snoopy dances along to Shroeder's piano tunes. Shroeder, of course, starts screwing around with poor Snoopy's emotions by playing really sad songs. Heh heh.

Did I miss anything? I feel like quick shots were cut here and there, but maybe my memory is playing tricks with me. I think some shots of Snoopy sneaking around were cut, particularly the climax when he rises out of the pumpkin patch. There's also the short bit of Lucy putting Linus in his bed.

Feel free to add in your own two cents to this post. Thank God for Youtube, I say. I'm not paying for a DVD - Charlie Brown cartoons should be free.

7 comments:

Geoff said...

How incredibly, and unsurprisingly, lame. Fortunately for me, I own this

http://www.amazon.com/Peanuts-Holiday-Collection-Thanksgiving-Christmas/dp/B001CO32FI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1256778016&sr=8-1

It has the three main Peanuts holiday cartoons as well as three additional cartoons. (one of which is "It's Christmastime Again Charlie Brown")

What's also great about this collection is that each of the three movies has a 15 - 16 minute making-of featurette on its disc.

David said...

"Why not just broadcast wall-to-wall commercials?"

Daniel, don't give them any ideas. Just wait .

Notice how "half-hour TV specials" have shrunk from 25 minutes of content , to 22 minutes of content, down to maybe ... what ? 17 minutes now ?

Next they'll start filling the bottom third of the screen with adverts during the entire show. (what's left of it) Or do they already do that ?

Can anyone make broadcast TV Specials really "special" again ? I doubt it . Broadcast TV is over. Buy the DVD and watch it at your leisure. (of course, there go all of our communal memories and pop-cultural reference points that those of us 35 and older share from having ritually watched the same shows year after year.)

----

And yes I said "buy the DVD" and I meant it. YouTube doesn't pay the bills, pal. Pretty soon we can all live in fan pirated Nirvana and turn around in a few years to notice no more new content being produced because no one can afford to make it or distribute it . Everything will be "free" and everything will just be the same old shows, with no new material being produced. You might argue that the older Peanuts cartoons have had their original production costs paid for 100 times over in the intervening years from the original broadcast dates, and the Peanuts Inc. empire is still one of the richest merchandising cash cows around, even in the post-Sparky era, so perhaps one could say that they can afford to give it away free , but in principle if everything is reduced to pirated free content on YouTube where is the incentive to produce new work ?

I don't have a problem with posting work to YouTube that is otherwise unavailable for viewing (because the owner has no interest in it and refuses to release it on DVD or BluRay) but if the rightful owner has it available on DVD or BluRay then I'm going to support them by purchasing it legally (because someday that might be my work that's getting pirated on YouTube or bit torrent sites).

Independent film maker Paul Fierlinger recently wrote about this on an animation forum I frequent, relating his experience of having a highly-praised, award winning animated feature film , "My Dog Tulip" , that apparently no major studio is willing to pick up because it's a "niche film" (like Miyazaki films in North America are) and niche films can't make the gazillions of dollars the opening weekend that justify the costs of a major marketing campaign. Paul's producer of his second in-progress feature just dropped the project because trying to sell "My Dog Tulip" to a distributor has been so frustrating. Paul Fierlinger attributes it directly to piracy ruining the market for smaller films which can't be guaranteed to come out and make back most or all of the film's production costs in a couple of blockbuster weekends before it starts showing up on bit torrent sites or YouTube, etc. He notes how there are now more independent animated films being made than ever, partially because of the easy availability of off-the-shelf software which makes an "animation studio in a box" available to any aspiring film maker (re: the Bakshi righteous rant from Comic-Con a year ago) , but unfortunately no one seems to be able to make a living from these films because film distribution companies aren't buying. These films have become expensive hobbies, destined only for the film festival circuit (which costs money to enter and rarely has enough monetary reward , even for the major award-winners, to make it worth it)

Sorry, I know I'm wandering a bit off the topic here ...

I know you're not really advocating piracy, but the "Thank God for Youtube, I say. I'm not paying for a DVD - Charlie Brown cartoons should be free." comment is getting too close to it in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Maybe this was only an issue with your local ABC channel (although that would be strange) because I watched the special too, and every one of the scenes that you mentioned as having been cut were definitely there.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

@david: No, don't worry about going too long, it's fine. And I think you're right about owning the DVDs. When I write out something like, "Charlie Brown cartoons should be free," I have broadcast television in mind.

The question of copyright, ownership, access, the role of the internet, and the rights of the artists are issues that weigh heavily on my mind. I'm an artist myself, so I feel a kinship with others in these fields. These are very challenging times, and the evolving media is forcing us to rethink everything.

At the end of the day, I come away with two convictions. One, the media conglomerates are too large and too greedy. Two, the rights of the artist must be respected above all.

Thanks for sharing the Bakshi video. I might even post it here on the blog and see if it sparks any discussions.

@geoff: Yeah, I'm seeing those DVD sets of the Peanuts holiday specials. But I've always enjoyed them on tv for free, and I think that's a fine tradition. Charles Shultz managed to do very well with that arrangement.

Greed has pushed so much animation off our tv screens and onto DVD box sets. Many such releases are excellent and welcome - the Disney archives are a key example - but too many programs are being shuffled away from the small screen. There once was a venue for classic animated shows. Now they are sealed off in vaults, all in the name of profits for conglomerates.

I'm thinking of Saturday morning cartoons. I'm thinking of weekday afternoon cartoons. I'm trying to remember the last time I saw Rocky & Bullwinkle, or Popeye, or Tom & Jerry on teevee. And the number of content providers dwindle into fewer and fewer hands.

Blah blah blah...I'm feeling sleepy, so my thoughts are unfocused. But these are pretty big issues and I'm sure everyone has several different opinions. I just wanna watch my Charlie Brown cartoons, uncut, on my teevee for free.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Just as I thought Daniel! They've played it this way ever since they acquired the right to this and several other Peanuts specials back around 2001 or so.

David Said...
Can anyone make broadcast TV Specials really "special" again ? I doubt it . Broadcast TV is over. Buy the DVD and watch it at your leisure. (of course, there go all of our communal memories and pop-cultural reference points that those of us 35 and older share from having ritually watched the same shows year after year.)


Face it, those glory days are over!

Daniel said...
I'm thinking of Saturday morning cartoons. I'm thinking of weekday afternoon cartoons. I'm trying to remember the last time I saw Rocky & Bullwinkle, or Popeye, or Tom & Jerry on teevee. And the number of content providers dwindle into fewer and fewer hands.


We all think this way too. Regular non-cable TV can't even get it straight.

neo1024 said...

Thanks for the link, Geoff. I think I'll be buying it :)

As to commercials running at the bottom of the screen... Well... One Norwegian company, TV2, is really serious about a "new and glorious concept" of split-screen advertising, which sparked some debate. The idea is that we all have so wide TVs that we can easily sacrifice, say, 1/3 of its width to a commercial. They plan sending split-screen ads on low-attention-requirement programmes, such as news and sports. To loosely quote one official from TV2: 'if you have a disaster showing on the news and you wait for an update, a commercial on a part of your screen will not deteriorate from your viewing experience'.
I think this whole idea is just sick!

Chris Sobieniak said...

Why are Europeans following the sickness?

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