What is with this flood of DVD ads?
Suddenly my email is filled with ads for collections of movies and old television shows on DVD. Someone must have broken into the vaults of some movie studios, or the files of some defunct "air check" company.
Suddenly all those B-movies are considered worthy of DVD treatment. B-movies were those low budget productions made to fill the play list in Double Feature movie houses. Shot on public land, or borrowed sets, the rent was cheap. The talent was too, featuring one fading star on his way down and aspiring young talent just off the list of extras hopefully on their way up. The shooting schedule was, let's say, parsimonious. If nobody blew his lines, "That's a take. Next set up."
Television too. The schedule had to be filled. Something had to be made to appear on the other channels, even when we were all tuned to Lucy. Pity the poor producer who had to film a series or sit-com to run opposite Father Knows Best. Produce it on a shoe string, sell it to a soap company for sponsorship, run it in an unpopular time slot, store it in a film library, move on to the next project.
And there they lie, waiting to be discovered by the DVD industry.
But why now, all of a sudden? Have the copyrights expired, now after fifty years? Did the film libraries burst a seam and the goods spilled out?
Well, I will enjoy this bonanza while it lasts. I just bought thirty-nine episodes of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, the complete series for $12.99. I remember I liked that series way back when. The actor who played Sherlock was no Basil Rathbone, but the character of Dr. Watson was sensible and an improvement over the movie versions. (I'll bet the Basil Rathbone movies will be on DVD too.)
I'll be able to buy movies featuring my own Godfather, Richard Arlen, in his later low-budget years. I will enjoy those. Fifty movies boxed in a set of 13 DVDs for $22,95.
My problem is time. When will I find time to watch all these movies. After all, I have the contemporary television to watch, all hundred channels. I already have DVDs lying about unwatched. I bought some at the 99 cent store.
All this entertainment. And I still like to read.