This Turkey Is Flying

Last fall on this blog I wrote about the likelihood—or what seemed to me the unlikelihood—that WKRP in Cincinnati would ever be released on DVD, due to the nearly insurmountable problem of getting permission to use the music that appeared in the original episodes. Well, there’s good news, and there’s bad news. The good news: WKRP is coming out on DVD next week. Bad news: Fox Home Entertainment reportedly overcame the music clearance problem by eliminating it. Much of the original music, and in some cases, entire scenes have been removed to get around the need to clear the music. In effect, what Fox is releasing is not “complete” the way other DVD sets are complete. Says Jaime J. Weinman, a Canadian magazine writer: “[T]his isn’t exactly ‘WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete First Season’ as it says on the box. It’s more like ‘WKRP in Cincinnati: Extended Highlights from the First Season.'” (There’s more on the missing music here.) The same sort of thing is apparently happening with the upcoming Season 2 release of Happy Days by Paramount, which will contain almost none of the original 50s music, not even “Rock Around the Clock.” In that case, it’s because Paramount lost money on Season 1 due to poor sales after ponying up for all the originals. Perhaps Fox feared the same thing: spending a bundle (and it would have cost a bundle to license songs by Pink Floyd and Talking Heads, for example) and having to price the set too high as a result.

Given its truncated nature, it’s probably good that the WKRP set is inexpensive. List price is $39.99 for the three-disc set, and you can find it for less online, if you’ve really got to have it. Based on what I’m reading online, many WKRP fans don’t think they do.

In Case You Have Nothing Better to Do: Check out a few new sites from the blogroll, starting with Ron Smith’s Oldies Music, a Chicago-centric site loaded with trivia and information. (Thanks to Davewillieradio for the tip.) Browsing Ron’s site, I found a couple of others that I’ll be visiting regularly: Catsfield’s Oldies Music Charts and Jukebox, which comes from New Zealand and features a searchable database of the American charts from 1944 to 2000 (!); and The New York Radio Music Survey Site, which has collected weekly charts from WABC, WMCA, and WMGM. Go nuts, everybody.

5 thoughts on “This Turkey Is Flying

  1. I love reading the music charts! Question: why do the charts list only certain positions? For instance, they might show the whole top ten, but it might next show #16, then #22, then #25 then … why is that?

  2. jb

    WABC did that a lot back in the day. I’m not sure why. I know that at WLS in the late 70s, they used to list records on their chart that they weren’t playing. Perhaps that’s what WABC was doing, too—the unlisted positions might have been songs not heard on their air–but that’s just a guess, and I’d be surprised if that explained it.

  3. John Ham

    Man, that sucks about WKRP. I mean, obviously not in the cosmic sense of “sucks.” But what a pain. I picked up the first couple of seasons of my beloved Quantum Leap, and I was so irritated by the replacement of period music with canned sound-alikes that I basically gave up on buying any more of it on DVD, even though I was deeply into the show as a youngster. I hope whatever loophole record companies use to get paid twice for the rights has been closed up, so future collections won’t suffer the same fate.

  4. You’re one of the few people who have accurate info on Orleans/King Harvest. Wells didn’t play on Dancing in the Moonlight, but he brought the song to Paris, France from Ithaca, NY when he started playing with King Harvest in 1970 and suggested we add it to our repetoire. We recorded the song in Paris about a year after Wells returned to the US and formed Orleans with John Hall and Larry Hoppen.

    Rod Novak
    King Harvest

  5. Pingback: _ « The Hits Just Keep On Comin’

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