Lawyers, DVDs, and Money: Fugitive Musical Scores From a FUGITIVE DVD Release

June 13, 2008

First Richard Kimble found his wife’s dead body.  Then he was convicted of her murder.  Then he found himself on the run with a psychotic nutjob vowing to send him to the death house.

But all of that was a cakewalk compared to what happened when Dr. Kimble fell into the hands of CBS Home Video.

The latest volume of The Fugitive to arrive on DVD, the third such set, has had all of its incidental music stripped out and replaced by an entirely new score composed specifically for that purpose.  This is not the removal of occasional snippets of songs, which has (lamentably) become commonplace in the DVD realm because it’s expensive to clear the rights to popular tunes for home video.  Instead, it’s the wholesale deletion of the entire original musical element of the series – and without any warning to consumers beyond a standard boilerplate disclaimer in tiny print.  This is the first time any television show has arrived on DVD in such an aurally mutilated form.  It’s a very big deal.

“Where did they put my music?  Is it behind this fence?”

I’ve sampled the new music in some episodes on the set and compared them scene-for-scene to tapes of the show with the original score intact.  The results were dire.  To their credit, the new composers have been conservative in their approach, placing the new music for the most part in the same spots as the old – even imitating it note for note in some sections.  Roy Braverman, a music editor who worked on the new score, wrote on his website that the “new music library is being composed ‘in the style of’” the original scores.

Up to a point, that’s true – the new music isn’t quite as obtrusive I expected.  However, it is pedestrian and generic.  As I watched the first act of one of my favorite episodes, “Devil’s Carnival,” my heart sank.  The mournful Pete Rugolo melody used whenever Kimble would amble wearily into a new town, was gone, replaced by new notes that have no emotion at all.  The Rugolo score played under William Conrad’s basso narration, adding a wistful quality to lines like “Richard Kimble: He travels a lot by thumb, makes many a long, lonely hike between rides.”  The new music fades out abruptly as soon as Conrad starts speaking, and pops back in with an annoying two-note sting as soon as he falls silent.  (The main and end titles of all the episodes have their original music intact, although the musical bridges from the teaser into the opening titles have been effaced in a rather jarring way.)

On a technical level, the new music has a tinny, squawky quality and the remixed audio tracks exhibit a lot of abrupt changes in volume.  Even if you’ve never seen The Fugitive before, and aren’t sensitive enough to the styles of sixties music to detect the anachronistic, modern tinges to the new score, this release will hurt your ears.

This week I called Alan A. Armer, the producer of The Fugitive‘s first three seasons, and broke the news to him about the music replacement.  Armer told me that he was “totally in awe of what you’re telling me . . . . I’m a bit staggered.”

Armer had less involvement with scoring The Fugitive than most TV producers do on their shows; at QM Productions, series producers focused on story while the post-production was supervised by other executives (on The Fugitive, Arthur Fellows and John Elizalde).  Nevertheless, Armer expressed dismay that the original cues are gone.  “You just have to wonder how much that will affect the dramatic quality of the shows,” Armer told me.  “I suspect that the show may have suffered as a result of it.”

The Fugitive has a somewhat unusual musical history.  It was, as Jon Burlingame writes in his invaluable TV’s Biggest Hits: Television Themes From Dragnet to Friends, the only major hit series of the sixties for which “no single episode actually received an original score.”  Instead, QM commissioned jazz composer Pete Rugolo (a former arranger for Stan Kenton) to write a library of cues that could be tracked into multiple episodes.  Rugolo composed the theme and basic Fugitive motifs based upon either a screening of the pilot, or possibly just a description of the show’s premise.

To supplement Rugolo’s library (there were “other things they needed that I didn’t write,” Rugolo told Ed Robertson for his book The Fugitive Recaptured), Elizalde and music editor Ken Wilhoit pulled stock cues from outside music companies.  Cues from the Capitol Music catalog were licensed, along with the CBS music library and, eventually, an archive of scores composed by Dominic Frontiere, the Outer Limits composer who became closely associated with QM during the sixties.  The CBS library was an especially important source, and many treasured cues from The Twilight Zone and Gunsmoke (by such famous composers as Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Herrmann) were repurposed for The Fugitive.

(There’s some debate as to whether any of Frontiere’s music appeared in the episodes on this DVD set.  I’m almost certain that the familiar Outer Limits melodies from the Daystar library didn’t begin to crop up until The Fugitive‘s fourth and final season, but it’s possible that Frontiere’s scores for Daystar’s Stoney Burke or an earlier QM show, The New Breed, were sourced.)

Rugolo’s score would have been owned outright by QM and, though there was no connection between The Fugitive (an ABC show produced by QM and United Artists) and CBS Music in 1963, both properties are now owned by the same corporate entity, Viacom.  Naturally, then, there’s ample cause for speculation as to what element of the Fugitive scoring could have triggered the music replacement – especially since the series’ first season, comprised of the same mix of musical elements, arrived on DVD intact last year.

*

Adding insult to injury, CBS has digitally altered the closing credits of each episode to insert the names of the composers of the new score:

It’s a move that reeks of duplicity.  Instead of appending a new card containing the modern names to the end of the titles, as one would see on a film that’s been restored (although, in this case, these would be the “desecration credits,” not the “restoration credits”), CBS has hidden the new names in plain sight to avoid a clear admission that the music was changed.  Here’s how that same card (from the episode “Devil’s Carnival”) is supposed to read:

Nothing personal against Messrs. Heyes, Winans, and Komie, but seeing their names embedded among those of the people who actually worked to create The Fugitive back in the sixties gives me a sense of almost physical revulsion.

Somewhat overlooked, given the magnitude of the score-replacement problem, is the fact that CBS sliced out portions of the image in the “Ballad For a Ghost” episode, in which Janis Paige plays a chanteuse who bears a haunting resemblance to Richard Kimble’s late wife.  The two songs that Paige performs on-camera have been changed on the audio track, and so all of the closeups and medium shots during her numbers were deleted (a total of about a minute of footage).  One of the missing shots is a fast-dolly into a closeup of Paige immediately after Kimble (David Janssen) sees her for the first time.  The camera move emphasizes Kimble’s shock upon discovering his wife’s doppelganger; without it, the scene loses much of its power.

I didn’t realize this because I haven’t been watching any of the affected shows, but CBS has been taking this approach to some of its other classic television releases as well.  Often when Jim Nabors sings in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., or when Jack Klugman or Tony Randall belt out a few bars of a pop tune during the banter of The Odd Couple, those moments have been excised from the DVDs.

Look what they did to my song, Dr. Kimble: Janis Paige in a shot you won’t see on the new Fugitive DVD

The high costs of clearing popular music are widely known and many fans have been quick to forgive the studio and buy into the argument that paying the license fees for these songs would give the DVDs a prohibitive pricetag.  I won’t take a position on that except to suggest that cynicism rather than blind trust would be a more productive attitude toward any issue of corporate accounting.

One fact made clear by the extensive song deletions on various DVDs is the fact that CBS has an active corps of intellectual property lawyers scrutinizing the musical history of their television properties.  In off-the-record remarks to me, several people with recent experience in the home video world have characterized both the CBS/Paramount legal staff, and their counterparts at other studios, as inexpert, inconsistent, and overcautious.  (As an example, when you hear long stretches of silence in a Paramount or Warner Bros. DVD audio commentary, it’s usually not because “these people got caught up in watching something . . . they hadn’t seen in over 40 years,” as Jeffrey Kauffman suggests in his review of the recent Mannix DVD.  It’s because the lawyers have scissored out any material that could in theory trigger some kind of defamation claim.)  The convoluted nature of The Fugitive‘s underscoring raises the possibility that CBS’ attorneys scrutinized the show’s cue sheets, found some unfamilar names, and made a hasty decision to replace the score without fully or accurately investigating the ownership of the music.

(Before publishing this piece I attempted to solicit a comment from CBS, but calls and e-mails to several CBS home video personnel, as well as a Paramount media relations representative, were not returned.  Roy Braverman and one of the credited composers of the new Fugitive score also did not respond to interview requests.)

*

A separate, but very much related, issue is the ignorance and/or sympathy that on-line DVD reviewers exhibit for this sort of nonsense.  Ronald Epstein, proprietor of the widely-read Home Theater Forum website, praised Paramount for its “wise decision” regarding the Fugitive music replacement.  Both DVDTalk and DVDBeaver, well-respected sites among cinephiles, gave the Fugitive DVD set high marks without noticing the music substitution.

Now, I have some sympathy for DVD reviewers in this situation, because nobody can be an expert on every TV show or movie that’s thrown over the transom.  And as we’ve seen above, the studios will do everything they can to disguise the alterations they’ve made to their product – so each DVD is a little trap for the unsuspecting DVD reviewer to step into.  But I feel that the ignorance displayed by DVDTalk’s Paul Mavis in this case is inexcusable.

Two days before publishing his review of the altered Season 2 set, Mavis posted a review of the largely unchanged Season 1, Volume 2 Fugitive DVD.  How could any remotely competent film historian or “Fugitive fanatic” (Mavis identifies himself as both) watch parts of these two collections back-to-back without immediately noticing the radical changes to the sound of the series’ music?  After being alerted to his error, Mavis posted a defense of CBS’ decision: “I know it feels good to bitch out the studios for doing this . . .  but I also know this is a business – pure and simple . . . . I’m not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I’m going to enjoy the show.”  As of this writing, Mavis has yet to substantially amend his review, which still claims that the audio on the DVD set “accurately represents the original broadcast presentation.”  This is not consumer reporting as I understand the concept.

And speaking of consumer reporting, I vowed after February’s Route 66 debacle that I wasn’t going to turn this into a DVD blog.  I also wrote that I was going to balance my reporting with some positive posts about successful DVD editions of early TV shows.  But before I’ve gotten around to doing that, we have yet another crisis to address – another essential series of the sixties that’s being butchered in its initial videodisc release.  It’s ironic that The Fugitive should join Route 66 in the virtual wastebin (and the wastebin, make no mistake about it, is exactly where I’m recommending you file your Fugitive Season 2 discs).  The two series have always been paired in my mind because of their peripatetic structure, and because they featured protagonists who were anti-heroes of a sort – social dropouts at a time when television typically celebrated establishment figures (doctors, lawyers, policemen) and looked askance at nonconformists.  In this regard The Fugitive, which arrived on the air as Route 66 began its final season, can be seen as a natural continuation of the earlier show – Richard Kimble was a forced exile from society while Route 66‘s Tod and Buz had left on their own accord and could re-enter the mainstream at any time.  Both of them were prescient hints of the years ahead when “dropping out” became a widespread credo for disaffected young people.

Because of that, although I’m not sure that I’d call The Fugitive or Route 66 my favorite television drama of the sixties, I would argue that the two of them have to be considered the most signifant.  It’s beyond dispiriting that both shows are in real peril of being utterly ruined in their first (and likely only) complete home video release.

It is of – pardon the pun – paramount importance that CBS undo its error, untangle whatever legal or financial morass underlies the music substitution, and give us the real Fugitive.  With the release of this DVD set, if not before, I’ve become convinced that large-scale music replacement is a form of aesthetic butchery that’s the equal of panning-and-scanning or colorization during the days of VHS.  It took a long time, but those battles have largely been won by videophiles.  Now those of us who care about television and movies know what the next fight will be.

Update (4/20/2013): After more than four years of further gaffes – more numerous than I could attempt to report along the way - CBS/Paramount issued a definitive box set with all of Pete Rugolo’s music and the vast majority of stock cues intact. For the most part, replacement copies were not provided to consumers who purchased the mutilated sets, and no official explanation for the music replacement was ever offered.

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39 Responses to “Lawyers, DVDs, and Money: Fugitive Musical Scores From a FUGITIVE DVD Release”

  1. Stephen Bowie Says:

    It’s been suggested that I took Ronald Epstein’s “wise decision” comment out of context. I must disagree. The full text of Epstein’s paragraph reads: “Interesting. A wise decision from Paramount so they don’t get bitten in the ass down the road.” That’s quite clearly an endorsement of Paramount’s action without any qualification that I can detect which would mitigate the adjective “wise.”

    It’s true that in the same post Epstein is mildly critical of Paramount on a secondary issue (its lack of disclosure about the changes on the DVD packaging). I chose to emphasize the portion of Epstein’s comment that I excerpted simply because that’s the part I felt warranted closer scrutiny: Epstein’s approval of the idea that CBS placed legal expediency ahead of its customers’ desires or its respect for a work of art under its control. He’s entitled to that opinion, of course, but I felt obliged to suggest that it’s troubling to hear coming from the operator of a website whose focus implies a) some degree of consumer advocacy and b) some level of appreciation for the works of popular culture that pass through one’s home theater.

    It’s also true that, like any quote one pulls, this one was part of a conversation; that’s why I included a link so that readers could backtrack and follow the other posts in that thread. However, if you examine the context there – that Epstein was jumping in to defend CBS even before the facts are known, in response to a unconfirmed supposition as to why the music was replaced – it tends to make Epstein’s remark seem more irresponsible, not less.

    I thought carefully about the phrasing of this and every other sentence in this piece and I stand by it. Although if my criticism of Ron Epstein ends up drawing attention away from the main issue, then I regret including it for that reason.

  2. Bob Lamm Says:

    Stephen–

    Many, many thanks for this incredibly valuable, profoundly disturbing piece. I stand with you completely on the issues raised. And let me add: your criticism of Ron Epstein is absolutely worth raising and does NOT detract from the main issue. It is related and relevant. We are in trouble if TV treasures are handled as ROUTE 66 and THE FUGITIVE have been. And we’re in even more trouble if reviewers don’t notice, don’t understand, or become cheerleaders for the horrendous “wide decisions” of CBS and others.

    Let me add one completely unrelated observation. I agree entirely with your insightful analysis of the parallels between ROUTE 66 and THE FUGITIVE in terms of favorably presenting anti-heroes at a time when TV typically celebrated establishment figures who conformed to mainstream values.

    But there’s one more parallel between these two memorable shows. Richard Kimble, Tod Stiles, and Buz Murdoch were all functioning essentially as unlicensed, migrant social workers. Each week, they landed in a new city or town, became involved with the problems–in many cases, rather serious problems–of complete strangers (guest stars), were remarkably successful in helping to resolve many of these problems (especially remarkable for Richard Kimble, who while playing social worker was also running from Lt. Gerard!), and then moved on to a new community for a new round of social work.

    Of course, thanks to Sterling Silliphant, the school of social work favored by Tod and Buz virtually always involved at least one fistfight!

    Great work, Stephen.

  3. Professor Echo Says:

    Stephen, I too was very disappointed by the apparent lack of perception evidenced by Mr. Mavis, and even more surprising, Gary Tooze at DVD Beaver. I’ve used both in the past for very reliable, incisive, insightful reviewing and, while no one is infallible, it’s been very disconcerting to see each one retreat on this issue instead of substantially addressing it.

    I’ll be honest, although I have enjoyed reading some of Mr. Mavis’ reviews for vintage TV, his passion for same seems quite sincere, this would certainly not be the first time he has misrepresented something and not gone back to amend his comments in the slightest. His review of the picture quality on the first season of DANIEL BOONE was grossly inaccurate and when this was brought to his attention, nothing happened, the review stood as is. This seems to be somewhat of a unwritten practice with the alleged critics at DVD TALK, most notably Stuart Galbraith and Glenn Erickson. From the former I received outright hostility in pointing out a glaring error in a review and from the latter there is usually a well intentioned promise of correction, but not necessarily a follow through. Since all DVD TALK critics work for nothing perhaps we should simply apply the adage of you get what you pay for and not expect much else.

    Gary Tooze’s oversight at DVD BEAVER is a bit more confounding given his reputation for basic, honest reviewing that is more than upfront about a disc’s defects and deficiencies.

    It’s sad to think of all those who based their purchase of this fatally flawed DVD release based on these erroneous reviews. I hope this isn’t a case of making lemonade out of lemons simply to avoid offending the lemon grower for fear his free produce will no longer be forthcoming.

  4. Stephen Bowie Says:

    The other thing that “Route 66″ and “The Fugitive” have in common is a final episode that resolves the show’s ongoing storyline (in the last “Route 66,” Tod gets married and gives the Corvette to Linc, who continues his wandering alone). As far as I can think of, these were the first two American dramatic TV series that had a true ending.

    • TV Fan Says:

      The spoiling of “Route 66″‘s final episode should be edited out of the post. Come on, you should know better than this!

      • Stephen Bowie Says:

        Ah, spoiler-phobia … a relatively new concept into which I do not buy, at all. You can’t discuss art without discussing all of it. And whenever people use the term “spoiler,” they are invariably referring only to plot points — and dwelling primarily on plot reduces art to nothing more than “stories” (in the sense of my grandmother turning on the radio to listen to her “stories”), when something like Route 66 operates on so many other levels, no? And the other thing that irks me about “spoiler” maniacs is the sense of entitlement they so often display, which is certainly evident in the way this particular comment is phrased.

  5. Stephen Bowie Says:

    In fairness, Gary Tooze added a “caveat emptor” warning to his review as soon as somebody alerted him to the problem; my point there was just that he’s a competent guy and still missed a big problem, and that the nature of DVD reviewing seems to invite that. Mavis also added an update to his review, but it’s more problematic, because as I pointed out he has thus far retained the inaccurate info as well (not to mention his three-out-of-five star rating for the DVD audio).

  6. Professor Echo Says:

    I believe you are right about the final episode of ROUTE 66 being the first dramatic show to have a true ending.

    The idea of a last episode in a COMEDY series came about with HANK from 1965. That had a last episode which resolved many of the conflicts established during its one season run. Apparently news of the cancellation came in time for the producers to film a final show.

    Another comedy show one could also argue for having an apparent series finale is LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. In that last episode Wally has just graduated high school and is heading for college while Beaver is about to enter the summer before starting high school. Perhaps not filmed as such, it plays that way regardless.

    Another finale of sorts, albeit within a running series, was the unprecedented killing off of a lead character during the first season of NAKED CITY. The show continued for the rest of the season and then disappeared for a year, returning as an expanded show with a new lead character.

  7. Jeff Willis Says:

    Great posts here. Here’s my 2 cents as a first-time viewer with the previous DVD releases of what’s arguably the best drama that’s aired on U.S. TV:

    From what I’ve read over at HTF (I’ve been a member there since Jan ’05), the wholesale soundtrack substitution of the Fugitive S2V1 release is a first-time occurrence within a TV/DVD set and perhaps sets an ominous precedent for future vintage (pre-70′s) releases.

    The dilemma that I face as a new fan of this series is:

    Do I support this show with a purchase of the S2V1 set and theoretically help continued releases of the series from CBS/P or pass on the purchase to support the disagreement of the soundtrack substitution and therefore remove my sales # from the tally of unit sales thus reducing chances of future releases?

    - Jeff W.

  8. lwayswright Says:

    I didn’t know any of this stuff actually happened. Very interesting!

  9. Stephen Bowie Says:

    Professor Echo, one thing I have to add: While I’m not going to censor anybody or try to inhibit anyone from expressing an opinion, Stuart Galbraith has been a good friend for more than ten years. I read his reviews pretty closely and can vouch for his skill & insight as a critic. If I’d gone further into lecturing DVD reviewers on how to do their jobs, I probably would’ve cited Stuart and his colleague Svet Atasanov (whom I don’t know personally) as positive examples who write passionately about TV & movies AND manage to tell me what I need to know about image & audio quality.

    When he saw your comment Stuart was concerned, mainly because he couldn’t be sure who you were or to what incident you were referring. He asked me to pass along the following response: “Criticism like this doesn’t carry a lot of weight when the attacker a) doesn’t use a real name; b) doesn’t cite the review in question; c) doesn’t say what the error is; nor d) provides no evidence that I was hostile to anybody. If he’s got a beef I’d be happy to address it privately via email or over at DVD Talk discussion board. He obviously has held a grudge but, honestly, I have no idea what he’s referring to. In point of fact I try to respond to every single email I receive from my readers, though it sometimes takes me a month or so to catch up on it all. As you probably know, all the time I amend reviews to note corrections and additional info offered by readers, and can point to dozens of examples.”

    Anyway, I hope you’ll give Stuart’s work at DVDTalk another chance.

  10. Bob Lamm Says:

    I have never had any contact, even electronically, with either “Professor Echo” or Stuart Galbraith. I’ve never read any of Mr. Galbraith’s reviews. I have no way of evaluating the merits of their dispute.

    But I will say the following: barring other considerations, I always feel inclined to stand with the person who uses a real name on the Internet as opposed to the person who doesn’t. Mr. Galbraith apparently posts reviews of DVDs using his own name. He is in the honorable tradition of those who stand publicly behind their own writings with their real names. I do as well, on this website and in my published writings.

    I detest the Internet “etiquette” that allows someone hiding behind a false name to personally attack someone who is NOT hiding.

  11. nwlimited Says:

    This is news to me, although I am in agreeance with the post from my initial scan of it.
    I am going to come back and read more.
    Thank you for this!

  12. Professor Echo Says:

    Well, I didn’t necessarily see what I wrote as an “attack,” but with everyone so sensitive these days, I suppose I can understand that perception rearing its head with any statement online, no matter what the context. I believe Stephen Bowie has encountered as much just in the past few days.

    In any case, it may have been too strongly worded in the heat of a blanket dissatisfaction over the critics at DVD TALK, as per the discussion involving Mr. Mavis. The incident with Stuart Galbraith happened a few years ago and was not brought up to reevaluate, but as an example that Mr. Mavis’ reluctance to amend his review was not an isolated case at DVD TALK. However, just because I remember the incident doesn’t mean I am obsessed with it or that it has plagued my memory in any way, shape or form. Nor was what I posted a personal insult to Stuart Galbraith outside of his profession, it was a reflection of what I considered a less than satisfactory response to a conflict based on MY encounter with him. If it presented itself more as an “attack” I apologize, but that was not my intention. It’s a shame that every little thing that is written as criticism of someone else online must be dissected and discerned to within an inch of its life lest it inordinately prick someone’s fragility too harshly.

    As for hiding behind a Username, one is free to draw whatever conclusions they will from that and I’m not looking to garner support for any of my positions, whether they bear my real name or my pen name. I could understand if I were a raving misanthrope constantly launching personal attacks against people all in the comfort and safety of anonymity, but this is not my method of operation and one could plainly see even in my post about Stuart Galbraith that I was hardly being overly belligerent or obnoxiously vengeful. I have no track record of ever being that way online and Stephen Bowie can at least attest to this if he has ever read my thoughtful posts at HTF or davekehr.com Nothing in my constitution indicates any pattern of destructive posting or writing whereby a username could provide a sanctuary of sorts. I have my own reasons for not using my real name, reasons of privacy that have nothing to do with exploiting anonymity in the sense of being an online troll.

    Stuart Galbraith’s response to my one line criticism of him is valid, but the point of my post was not to veer off into a separate argument, it was to indicate my own experience with critics at DVDTalk and that the possibility of there perhaps being a pattern on the site might exist. I’m sorry it has so ruffled feathers here on this site and taken away from the original blog, but so be it. Feel free to edit out my statement about Stuart Galbraith and if I ever feel that the encounter in question has so irreparably affected my consideration of him, I will take the time to write him and discuss it.

    As it stands now, I will agree that more context could have been applied to the comment, but it was, as I said, a rush to judgment in the heat of the discussion. Sometimes commenting on a blog or a message board is like a conversation and it doesn’t always translate with the specificity of language one might hope for.

    And just for the record: The incident with Stuart Galbraith that I alluded to did not cause me to dismiss him outright and if that was conveyed by my statement, then I am truly sorry. In fact, I own two of Stuart’s books and loved them both. I continue to read his reviews and learn from them and I have never said, here or anywhere, that he is not a good critic worthy of my attention.

  13. Bob Lamm Says:

    Dear Professor Echo–

    If you don’t want to use your real name online for “reasons of privacy,” then I urge you to permanently refrain from attacking by name Stuart Galbraith or anyone else who isn’t hiding as you are. Despite all you’ve written about people being oversensitive and fragile, what you wrote about Mr. Galbraith WAS an attack (speaking of his “outright hostility” when you pointed out an alleged “glaring error” of his). And it looks to me like it was an unfair attack.

    And, by the way, none of us have any means of accurately assessing your “track record” online. At best, we can evaluate your “track record” as the mysterious Professor Echo. But how can we know if that’s the only name/disguise you use in posting?


  14. Kudo’s to the author of this detailed and thoughtful examination of the grievous nature of what’s been done to The Fugitive’s legion of fans and consumers (of which I count myself).

    I too read the first few dvd reviews that said it was ‘not that big a deal’ and ‘give Paramount a break’, purchasing the 2nd season with considerable excitement the very day it was released, only to find the thrilling and mounting excitement of each scene excised by the dvd caretakers like a careless butcher hacking away at meat.

    The Fugitive’s theme, which rose at the close of each Act, heightening the drama to delicious edge -of -your seat excitement replaced with humdrum tinny sounding MUZAK. The fact that the very title cards have been replaced INSIDE THE SHOW , rather than a separate essay of explanation or separate title card, tells me how little regard for the consumer that CBS has.

    The picture transfer is sharp and clear. The acting, writing, directing are (no thanks to the new guys) pitch on. The care that went into the First Season to not fiddle too much with the original elements totally out the window.
    Why not take out the basic plot of Romeo and Juliet and republish it with a frontispiece that reads YOUR name and “with additional help from William Shakespeare” on it?
    What insult would that infer to a hack?

    Taking a cue from one of the groups I belong to, I’ve petitioned Paramount to redo the set correctly and refund those hapless few (like me) who purchased the set for his library totally unaware.
    I probably have a better chance of bringing Jannsen back from the dead but it would certainly be a stand-up thing to do. Some of us work very hard for our money – plunking down 30 or 40 bucks for a DVD with a tiny disclaimer on the back, only to find that ALL of the music bed has been excised , is a dirty trick to play on loyal fans.
    A trick that won’t be forgotten next time we head to the store to make a purchase.

    There is one caveat. The show is so terribly brilliant that even the hacks can’t totally destroy it. THE FUGITIVE is still riveting drama. The disagreement between critics (above) doesn’t take away from the fact that you all perform an admirable and necessary service; to keep the merchant honest and hold his feet to the fire when he tries to sell the consumer snake oil.

    If I had never watched The Fugitive, i would still enjoy this release. Much of its dramatic element has been foolishly squandered by people who you would hope would know better, and have a higher regard for the quality of art it releases under its imprimatur. Its especially insulting as Fugitive fans have waited patiently FOR YEARS as they watched Punky Brewster and Alf get their own dvd releases only to see their dream dramatic series – the best ever, per Stephen King and a legion of others – raped and thrown out in the public arena deschevelé . David Jannsen, Barry Morse, etc. deserved much better treatment.

    And so do the consumers.

  15. Stacia Says:

    Here from Thrilling Days of Yesteryear. Terrific blog post, very comprehensive.

    I did want to pick one minor nit: you said that “This is the first time any television show has arrived on DVD in such an aurally mutilated form” which I don’t believe is entirely true.

    The “WKRP” episodes released on DVD have had almost all of the popular music removed and replaced with generic placeholders by CBS. Actually, it started in syndication. For years most of the original music stayed with the show on reruns — I have reruns from about 1998 taped from TV which have the original music — but then the rights ran out and generic placeholders were used in syndication or entire bits of scenes were excised. The damage done to the episodes is extensive as specific pop songs often play a significant role in the plot. You should see the Amazon reviews of the WKRP set. Angry, angry customers.

    I’m not trying to claim the music for “The Fugitive” being replaced isn’t a dire situation, the music on that series is quite important and your analysis is spot on. I’m just mentioning that CBS has a history of this kind of thing, and I have to assume it’s more about money than it is about copyright.

  16. Griff Says:

    I am astonished to read of Paramount’s actions regarding the FUGITIVE scores. I had thought that the music and score replacements on the early video versions of some ’60s and ’70s AIP films were appalling (fortunately MGM has eventually addressed and corrected many of these), but this somehow seems worse. THE FUGITIVE without Rugolo music? Unthinkable. This carelessness (contempt, actually) is almost difficult to believe.

    Another ’60s TV series that apparently have a “last episode” was Cleveland Amory’s short-lived 1965-66 O.K. CRACKERBY!

  17. Stephen Bowie Says:

    Stacia, the “WKRP” release (which was from Fox, not CBS/Paramount) was indeed a travesty, and certainly the most extreme example of song replacement we’ve seen yet. (I’ve heard that “The Fall Guy” was pretty bad, too.) “The Fugitive” is a different animal: the replacement of underscoring, which should (in theory) not have the same kind of clearance issues. It’s worthwhile to bring up “WKRP,” though, because Fox appears not to be moving forward with further releases of the show; one imagines that customer reaction to the music replacement influenced that decision. “The Fugitive” could suffer the same fate.

  18. Chris Peddie Says:

    Just bought series 2 volume 1. Startled by the fact that the only musical semblance of the show that remains in-tact is the opening and the close. All else has been gutted. Very unhappy!! What happened?? Follow the money trail, as usual!! After series one was released, heirs of the estates of those responsible for the original music cried foul, wanting monetary compensation, which CBS wouldn’t or couldn’t fork up. Make sense??

    C. Peddie
    Nashville

  19. Danny Olson Says:

    I too am surprised and extremely disappointed at this news — i just received my Fugitive S2/v1 and am now going to leave it unopened in hope that some pressure can force Paramount to its senses.
    There doesn’t seem to be any regard to the artists’ efforts in creating such a production; what money it may take to secure the ‘underscoring’ would have been peanuts to what a well-restored, greatly reviewed classic could have brought. Now, word will spread, and thanks to you and others, the response will be immediate.
    At times, when restoration is so extensive I can accept some ‘resourcing’ and ‘deconstruction’ of the original, but it has to be done in an honest manner. As you note, there was little to no warning that this was done; they expected the first season’s success to have us eating all they put out, changes and all.
    That they have shown no interest in providing any extras, despite the show’s bearing as a ‘popular request’ and pre-order sell record, is another example of what the producers have in store for us.
    I suggest someone launch a petition pronto so that we can send a message.

  20. Mark Says:

    Until I’ve read reviews at Amazon and elsewhere, FIRST, I’m NOT going to pre-order ANY more DVDs, PERIOD! If I read that music has been altered too much, or too many scenes have been cut out, etc. I could simply watch my own VHS copies I made off-air/off-cable in the 1980s/90s.

    With what CBS/Viacom/Paramount has done now to FUGITIVE (1st half of 2nd season), it makes me wonder if the next DVD release of UNTOUCHABLES (2nd half of 2nd season) is going to be butchered up any, or what about future released of PERRY, GUSMOKE, RAWHIDE? (and if they ever get around to the 3rd/4th/5th seasons of HAVE GUN)? (all five seasons of TZ have been released already). Perry (except the last season and mabye the 8th season), Gunsmoke (B&W seasons), Rawhide, HGWT, and Twilight Zone all used stock music from the “CBS Music Library” (as did various CBS Radio dramas of the late 50s/early 60s, and 1970s CBS Radio Mystery Theater). A great deal of Fugitive’s music score was all “borrowed” from the “CBS Music Library” back in 1963-67, but if CBS/Viacom/Paramount will today remove even THAT from Fugitive DVDs, I’m very concerned that even the CBS-owned music score on long-time CBS-owned series as Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, and Have Gun Will Travel could suffer the same fate on future DVD releases.

    I usually say that nothing shocks me anymore, but what CBS/Viacom/Paramount did to 1st-half-2nd-Season of Fugitive DOES shock me!

  21. Charles Thaxton Says:

    I can’t even imagine how they managed to do this technically. Aren’t the music elements on older series usually mixed with the sound efx? If not, where on Earth did they access the original separate elements to be able to remove JUST the music? It seems like a whole lotta trouble to go to (plus wrtiting new music and paying the new guys) just to avoid rights clearance issues. It is just detestable. The music of THE FUGITIVE is just as important as Janssen, Morse, Raisch, the guest stars, and the storylines. Quinn Martin must be rolling over in his grave.

  22. Arnie Aronson Says:

    Thank you for your insightful comments. Mavis is a blowhard, pure and simple, and one who has a genetic predisposition against admitting he’s made a mistake. Just a cursory look at his unbelievably defensive answers on the DVDTalk Forums shows that he obviously takes himself way too seriously and does not take kindly to being questioned. He strikes me as probably a frustrated writer whose reviews give him an outlet he wouldn’t otherwise have, hence his extremely thin skin when someone finds fault with him. He also seems to subscribe to the theory of “why use one word when 10,000 will suffice”–another sure sign of someone who’s out to impress, not merely inform. IMHO, of course. ;)

  23. Chris Says:

    I was unaware of this, and it really enlightened me.

  24. stuartgalbraithiv Says:

    As someone who’s pals with both Stephen Bowie and Paul Mavis, I think a lot of the ill will in both directions (and the attacks on Paul, some of which have become personal, straying far from the heart of the matter) could have been avoided. The Internet is a strange animal; it encourages hostility and misunderstanding in a way that would almost never happen if the people involved were in the same room, face-to-face. Under those circumstances I suspect Stephen and Bowie would have been fast friends.

    As I told them, I think Stephen should have given Paul (and the other writers involved) the chance to respond to his essay before posting it and publicly raking him over the coals while Paul has, I think, been overly defensive – though I might have had the same reaction if a thousand angry consumers were coming after me with torches.

    I think Paul makes a fair point, that in some cases it’s better to snip a few seconds of a music cue than stick a movie or TV in a vault never to be seen again. That said, I agree he’s way off base on THE FUGITIVE, a super-extreme case and an ominous taste of Things to Come that requires unanimous condemnation from both critics and consumers so that it doesn’t happen again.

  25. Scott Says:

    The really sad part about this is that the resulting backlash from fans is both a wake-up call and a deal breaker. Sadly, a number of less than mature (or emotionally balanced)directed their venom via profanity loaded emails directed at the one person at CBS/Paramount who wanted to help fans with good bonus features and unaired pilot episode for The Invaders DVD set. Now you can be sure this man will never reach out again.

    CBS/Paramount will also probably look at future releases and will probably conclude it’s just not worth it to release these shows. I’ll lay odds that this is the last release of The Fugitive we’ll see.

    As much as people might think that “one letter won’t make a difference,” all it takes is a couple of nasty basement dwelling children to ruin it for the rest of us. If the changes to the Fugitive were handled with maturity and self-control, they might have been willing to do something about it. I don’t think they’ll be in a hurry this time.

    This is why Kevin Burns at Fox stopped talking to fans about the Irwin Allen releases. It’s a hobby, people. Not a religion.

  26. Danny Olson Says:

    Scott, if that is how they will react, then it goes against what we’ve witnessed elsewhere. Hasn’t public pressure aided in getting a positive response from the Route 66 people? Of course, complaints can go beyond the extremes and those are certainly unwarranted – it’s not like we have access to the person who actually greenlighted this ridiculous development.
    If it is to be that CBS/Paramount’s decision to throw their hands up in the air, i’ll bet dollars to donuts that another company will gladly take on the prospective business – and maybe do a better job, too.

  27. Scott Says:

    Hey Danny,

    Oh, I agree that fans expressing their dissatisfaction is the right thing to do. It’s the tone of the letters, the demanding, the swearing, the jumping on one guy who has nothing to do with it that hurts our cause. It makes us look like lunatics.

    But no way should be sit back and just take whatever is given to us. It’s not like they’re giving us this stuff for free.


  28. Thank You ED for your info and insight on this issue.The death of Barry Morse, Suzanne Pleshette,and Lois Nettleton ,along with the music defamation of the Season 2 episodes,has made this a disappointing year for the Fugitive fan.The public should continue to fight this altering of classic material.The late Sydney Pollack (director of Season 2 episode MAN ON A STRING) would want it that way.

  29. Michael Fallon Says:

    I cannot understand why the people who produced S2,V1 changed the music. Season one was virtually left alone in all its original glory. Why the change now? I cannot believe it was for some liability worries. They were not worried about season one obviously. The reason the show is a classic is the burning memories of great writing, acting and the brilliant emmy award winning score of Peter Rugolo. To the suspenseful music to the emotional tingling music that accented a scene like the fine paint strokes of a Rembrant painting. I hope Paramount/CBS gets the message for future volumes-leave the original music and scenes in!

  30. Joho Says:

    What about the complete Fugitive series collection being offered at http://www.TVDVDStore.net. Do they have the original scores in tact?

  31. Joyce Says:

    Regarding the music for the Season 2 DVDs, please see the below link for comments and suggestions from the Administrator of The David Janssen Archives

    http://www.davidjanssen.net/FugitiveMusic.htm

    If you don’t want this current DVD release to “become, by current media standards, the permanent record,” then write those letters!

  32. Guss Holguin Says:

    It’s a shame when the powers that be take the ‘Aw, who’s gonna notice” attitude.

  33. Joyce Says:

    IMPORTANT UPDATE regarding the music replacement on The Fugitive, Season Two, Vol. 1 –

    CBS/Paramount has now restored much of The Fugitive’s original music and is offering a replacement program to those who buy (or already bought) Season Two, Vol. 1. Then, for the price of a stamp, the buyers just mail in the form along with the 2 Proof-of-Purchase tabs, and within 4-6 weeks, they’ll receive 4 replacement discs, plus a new paper insert. Read about it at the below link to TVShowsonDVD.com –
    http://snipurl.com/c2nwq
    And here’s the link to the form:
    http://www.paramount.com/fugitive/FugitiveS2V1_DVDReturnProgram.pdf

    Also, a very knowledgeable fan posting on Home Theater Forum was given a review set of the replacement discs and here’s his opinion:
    “… let me be clear about something. When I said in my review that a “vast amount” of the music had been restored, I was speaking in terms of a comparison to the prior Season Two, Vol. 1 set. And that would be true. Now if you want to compare the replacement discs to the standards of Season One, I would say, roughly, 75-80% of the music in the episodes I have seen has been restored, the bulk of that being Rugolo. But that is just one man’s estimate. Everyone is going to have a different reaction to the set, but I am safe in saying it is a great improvement … The shows feel like The Fugitive again, even if synthesizers ocassionally pop up. But having the show FEEL like The Fugitive is the main thing.
    … No matter to what degree of detail I go, or what conclusions I draw, if you are a Fugitive fan I believe you owe it to yourself to get this new replacement set and give it a chance. Decide for yourself.”
    Home Theater Forum http://snipurl.com/c9lrs

    Thank you very much Stephen Bowie for your excellent article here and cheers to all of us who wrote letters, sent emails, and posted online to Amazon and other websites.
    Here’s to the power of the pen and the Internet!!
    Thanks also to CBS/Paramount for now trying to do the right thing.

  34. Mark in Louisiana Says:

    I finally sent in my form for the replacement discs and received them today (21-August-2009).

    From the two or three episodes I’ve watched so far, it’s like watching Fugitive reruns syndicated on a local station in the 1980s, and on A&E in the 1990s. I was too young to really remember Fugitive when it was originally on ABC-TV 1963-67, although I do seem to remember watching the “water tower” scene in the final episode way back when it originally aired on ABC-TV — and only once, the very last network telecast of the series in August 1967…

    It’s really nice to hear the specific music cuts composed by Rugolo specifically for Fugitive, as well as the cuts from the CBS Music Library (even though QM/UA produced the series which aired on ABC, and NOT CBS Productions for the CBS-TV Network). The Rugolo cuts (based on the theme song) specifically for Fugitive ARE NECESSARY, and so are the “borrowed” cuts from the CBS Music Library! It’s almost like watching CBS-owned Perry, or TZ, or Rawhide, or B&W Gunsmoke, or Have Gun, or listening to CBS Radio dramas of the 1950s/early-60s (Suspense, Johnny Dollar, Radio Gunsmoke, Radio Have Gun, etc), or listening to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater (1974-82), all of which used CBS Music Library cuts, since all were owned in whole or part by the Columbia Broadcasting System.

    With Fugitive, BOTH the Rugolo Fugitive-specific cuts AND the borrowed CBS Music Library are ESSENTIAL to my memory and enjoyment of the series! :-)

    The phony-baloney music in the initial DVD release last Summer (2008) JUST DOESN’T DO IT for me! :(

    Let’s hope that CBS/Viacom/Paramount will return to the original music score for all future releasess, the way they did for Fugitive Season 1 (both 1st and 2nd parts).

    Mark

  35. robert Says:

    Where can I buy fugitive box set with the original music restored ? The series sufferes without peter rugilos music , and the original cues.

    • Joyce Says:

      From a poster on Home Theater Forum regarding pricing for The Fugitive: Most Wanted box set (still probably have to call 1-877-DELUXE-6 and give the box/disc code numbers to the operator for the 5 replacement discs). All the original music has been restored.

      “DVDPlanet has the set for $129.35 plus free shipping. Not bad and it’s a legitimate site. I’ve bought from them before and had no problems.”
      http://is.gd/GpZR7s

      • robert Says:

        Thank you so much. I will go onto the DVD planet site to buy the set. Looking forward to hearing the original music.

        Bob Della Selva


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