Friday, August 8, 2014

NETFLUNKS

The announced demise of the DVD may prove to be a bit premature. Like so many others in the
I LOVE BEING A TV BINGE WATCHER club, I have been trying my hand at streaming TV series on Netflix.  House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and even belatedly catching up on my new
favorite guilty pleasure, the ABC television series Scandal.    Watching three to five episodes back to back at a single sitting has altered my life for the better.  If you haven't tried it, you simply must.  And don't forget to invite in the neighbors.  It's more fun than a book club.


These three shows (compared to Game of Thrones, Deadwood, True Detectives and even Boardwalk Empire all on HBO GO), are all very good, but they are not great.  One of the things keeping the Netflix product from that lofty pinnacle is, unlike HBO GO or even DVR, the sound is rarely in sync with the picture.  If there is a computer in the house that has been left on, or our Vonage phone rings,
it gets really bad.  All other times, it is just bad-to-not-good.  Netflix just hasn't figured out yet that sound travels at a slower speed than light.   Worse than that, they have sold us a system that is (at best) flawed.  And that brings me back to the DVD...literally.


Great picture, synchronized sound and it doesn't matter who is on a computer or a phone or if  it is a dark and stormy night.  DVD technology simply works.  Did I mention you can still buy the entire collection of Cagney & Lacey on DVD?...It's a great Christmas gift, it's still better than the copycats....and you can remind yourself what the world was like, and how the police did their work, before there were spy cameras on every corner or cell phones on every hip.  You'll also see what acting was like when actors moved their lips in sync with the words the were saying.


Barney Rosenzweig
August 6, 2014

Thursday, November 15, 2012

AS PROMISED, AT LONG LAST HERE IT IS


Assurances and disclaimers:

I have been led to believe that somewhere adjacent to this blog will be a banner, or some such thing, that will give you all the pertinent details you could possibly require allowing you to order the 30th anniversary Limited Edition of the complete oeuvre of Cagney & Lacey.

This last month has been frustrating. Our distributor operates out of Toronto, Carole R. Smith operates out of Miami, Jacqueline Danson operates out of London and I have been operated on in New York and Seattle while most of this has transpired.

There is something about anesthetics (and the drugs that go with them) that has a person giving less of a damn about such mundane things as their life’s work or their pride of authorship. Fortunately… much of that for which I am responsible, was completed before I went under either ether or blade.

Credit where it is due: The box… the thing that contains all the elements: the Loretta Swit movie, the episodes with Meg Foster, every episode with Sharon and Tyne (including The Menopause Years), my book in its audio version, the anniversary tribute at the British Film Institute, plus a pamphlet and a personally-autographed-by-the-women classic C&L photo… it is all there and beautifully presented by Jeff Sprigg and his staff in Toronto. It will not be sold in stores and is only guaranteed to be delivered through the official Cagney & Lacey web site.  

The negative side: It has taken far too long for the Toronto branch of this thing to get its act together and mostly because of lack of attention to detail… how to get a web site working on a monetary basis, how to spell the name Gless, how much will shipping cost and when can the entire thing get sent out before the amount of dust on the box weighs too much to mail?

Did I say I was frustrated? See above…. Then imagine all that fed back to you with appropriate expletives from the even more frustrated Carole R. Smith while flat on your back in a hospital room. Perhaps then you will forgive the delay.

This is my swan song. I am content about that. The Limited Edition is beautiful (thanks, again, Mr. Sprigg) and I know all of you will be happy with it. The pressure to get the warehouse cleaned out and sell these boxes elsewhere (I dunno: QVC, Amazon, the black market?) is mounting. Please make your order right away. Sharon and I are buying a bunch as Christmas gifts to children and grandchildren and friends too young to have seen us at our best. Hey… it’s Christmas. We, and Tyne if she wants, are first. What’s left is going out on a first come/first served basis. The Cagney & Lacey website is not Facebook. We are a tiny band and we should be able to serve you all… but better sooner than later. Do make your order as soon as you can.

If you miss out… or you want something smaller or whatever…. There are mini versions, one with all 119 episodes of Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly and that’s it, even smaller packages with Sharon’s favorite episodes and another with Tyne’s. These should all be something you can acquire through Amazon or Sam’s Club.  Details to follow.

Retailers in general are not so interested. Their management is an average age of 19 or something and they don’t want “old TV.” We tell them it is not “old”… not “vintage”…. But “iconic” and they talk to us about real estate (shelf space). You want to do battle? Go to your local Target, Best Buy, Costco, and BJ’S and ask for the manager, and then yell at him/her. I take back that last piece of political correctness. I bet it’s just a him.

It would be lovely if this were all a success, but whatever, thank you for your interest and support and your caring so much about this work of ours.

For those still reading…. I am finished with the three surgeries I have had this year and I am fine. I feel a bit like I have been in a knife fight, but then I realize… I have been in a knife fight. The prognosis for me to be around long after all these boxes of DVDs have sold is good…. Unless (and this should be construed as a warning against further sloppy spelling and misinformation from the North) I am convicted of murdering our distributor.

Barney Rosenzweig

November 15, 2012



   

Sunday, October 14, 2012

WE'RE ALMOST THERE....from Barney via Carole

Dear All

Barney is currently in Seattle, recuperating from his second shoulder replacement, and attending the USC Washington football game (USC won).  It's difficult to type with one's arm in a sling so he has asked me to let you know the distributor has published the "official" press release for the Cagney & Lacey DVDs -- both the LIMITED EDITION and the boxed set of 119 episodes. 

The LIMITED EDITION can only be purchased through the Cagney & Lacey official website and the order form will be posted on the site no later than Tuesday, October 16th (we believe).  It will give you all the information you need re purchase price and shipping,  but the boxed set is available for pre-order on-line through Amazon USA and Amazon Canada.

Both women will be doing radio, television and print interviews and we will keep you up to date on www.cagneyandlacey.com.

It has been a long struggle, but well worth it!   Best wishes to family and friends with special thanks from me to Jackie Danson, Gail Reese, Ann Wilson, John V. Fahey and the fan clubs.

Enjoy with all good wishes from us all. 

Carole R Smith
Assistant to Barney Rosenzweig
October 14, 2012



Monday, September 10, 2012

FIRST COME/FIRST SERVED


Now begins a potential flurry of blogs as the waters begin to part and things are revealed to us all. We ….. That is not the royal we… that is you, Carole R. Smith, Jackie Danson, Gail Reese, Ann Wilson and a plethora of other folks… a real WEEEEE have done it. 30 years of work will now appear in a Limited Edition Collection for the truly faithful. The rest of the world can pick up individual seasons of Cagney & Lacey and even all 119 episodes featuring Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly as the Dynamic Duo from Amazon in the USA and Canada and other retail outlets, but for those who want it all…. The original movie with Loretta Swit and Tyne Daly, the six episodes where Tyne Daly partnered with Meg Foster as Cagney, the aforementioned 119 with Tyne and Sharon, as well as the four reunion movies, known collectively as The Menopause Years, they are about to be available and ready for your purchase via this website or directly through the distributor only.   All the information on how to purchase will be on www.cagneyandlacey.com  this week. It is truly a limited first come/first served proposition so do let us have your orders right away.

 There are some extras. First time ever or anywhere audio version of my book (Cagney & Lacey…. and Me) narrated by the author, a featurette made by MGM some five years ago and previously seen by those of you who bought their limited DVD release of “True Beginnings,” the British Film Institute tribute taped last November in London, a personally autographed photo of Tyne and Sharon signed by each of them, as well as archival interviews with Tyne, Sharon, series creator Barbara Corday as well as yours truly. There is also a booklet authored by me and it all comes in a very handsome box at less than half what many of you said you would pay for such a bonanza..for the price of
$139.00 plus shipping.  That is the good news. The bad? Well, it is only in the US system and postage out of the country is not included. We went on and on about this over here as long as we could and could not win this fight for our UK fans. I can only remind you of what you all said you might pay and ask that you take the savings from that and invest in a converter that will allow you to play this collection on your home systems. You’ll still have money left over for postage. I have to say to you there is no telling when… if ever… MGM will ever allow this to be done again for other markets outside the US and Canada.  

 The DVD era is all but over. This Limited Edition is for all of us who want this collection on our shelves… for those folks who remember this show as part of their own personal history. I am proud to present it to you all… as proud as I am of the original work itself. I wish we could reproduce this in the hundreds of thousands, but we cannot. It is truly a limited first come/first served proposition so do let us have your orders right away. Thank you, in advance, for your interest in all of this. And please continue to watch this space for updates.

 

Barney Rosenzweig
September 10, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

THE WEEK THAT WAS

I have held off composing yet another blog, waiting for even more updated information on the forthcoming (honest, folks, it is coming) Limited Edition of the entire Cagney & Lacey series. I don’t, as yet, have enough of those facts, but am expecting same in the very near future. Time keeps passing and I am more and more remiss about keeping in touch. What this amounts to then is … well… two things: a head’s up to watch this space on a more regular basis in the coming days/weeks as “stuff” should be happening pretty quickly now, and two… just a blog because some stuff has happened that I wanted to share.

One thing about the new Limited Edition is that I have just completed recording an audio version of the entire book, Cagney & Lacey… and Me. This recording by the author will be included as part of the package that we, even as I write, are finalizing. So far the beautifully designed Limited Edition box will have the Loretta Swit Movie for Television, all the Meg Foster episodes, all 119 episodes with Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly as Cagney and Lacey, a tape of the entire 30th anniversary tribute evening put on by the British Film Institute and the aforementioned audio book. More to be added and announced very soon but, as promised earlier, the Limited Edition will also be personally autographed by Sharon, Tyne and yours truly. 
 
As to the “sharing” thing: Sharon lost a long time friend with the death of Andy Griffith. She had talked to him by phone shortly before his unexpected passing. They exchanged birthday greetings and he was talking about also moving down to Florida from his home in North Carolina. Andy was a terrific talent and a wonderful… and very funny… gentle man. His passing is a major loss to this world. Whoever said these things run in threes doesn’t know much about my address book. In the last week or so Celeste Holm, who starred for me in This Girl for Hire, a movie of the week/back door pilot I had made years ago with a great cast of character actors now mostly passed on that included Jose Ferrer, Howard Duff, Ray Walston, and Elisha Cook, Jr.  That tongue-in-cheek homage to film noir is only note worthy because of the cast I assembled and Ms Holm led that group wonderfully well. As a boy I had worshipped her talent as Adoo Annie in Oklahoma and in some pretty wonderful motion pictures including All About Eve. It was a thrill for me to actually get to know her and to work with her. This week she joined former studio head Richard Zanuck, William “Billy” Asher and then Frank Pierson to complete the loss of five very solid citizens in one week.

I had seen “Billy” Asher only once since he retired to Palm Springs, California. He was a fun pal to have during my early days in the Malibu Movie Colony out at that California beach community in the 1960’s and 70’s. In those days he was the celebrated creator/director of the television series Bewitched and was married to that show’s star, Elizabeth Montgomery. One would have to travel a very long way to find a better drinking companion or a funnier, more generous and talented man than he. I will never forget the time spent with him and one of his greatest pals, the late, great award winning actor Jack Warden who was also a Colony resident in those days.


I was probably more stunned by the death of Zanuck than any one of the others this week, not only because at 77 he was the youngest of this ensemble, but because of his place in my life and the life of the Hollywood community. Unless you had pretty much grown up in Hollywood as I sort of had, it is hard to imagine the class distinctions of Hollywood royalty and the rest of us. Dick Zanuck was way up there in that firmament and his death is/was like that of the loss of a sovereign in any number of national monarchies. When I first made my move into the class of associate producers in the mid 1960’s, Richard “Dick” Zanuck was the “King” of 20th Century Fox. Lily, his spouse, was his Queen and my then boss, Aaron Rosenberg served as a favored knight. Me? I was the equivalent of a Knight’s squire. It was all amplified for me by the fact that young Zanuck and I were close in age, but our social rank did not really allow us to be friends even though we liked each other. In those days, Zanuck’s pals were all closer to his father’s age than his own. He was a health nut and a good athlete. I don’t know why his heart failed so abruptly, but it hit me hard. On learning the news I Instinctively reached for the phone to call my former 20th Century Fox associate Joe Silver. Joe had worked for me on Daniel Boone and, as someone older than I, and truly a child of Hollywood, was even more integrated into the studio system. Both his father and brother (now long deceased) had been established figures at 20th Century Fox and as someone who had spent his entire working life at that studio, Joe knew more of that class system than most. I hadn’t talked with Joe or his wife Simone in a couple of years but I wanted to reach out to someone with whom I could commiserate regarding this end of an epoch. Joe’s phone number was “no longer in service.” It only took me a moment to do the math… The year 2012 would be Joe Silver’s 95th on the planet… that is assuming he was still here which, in all probability I realized, he was not. Ouch. Once again I faced one of the disadvantages of having moved across the continent from my home town. You lose touch with the home base.

Then yesterday … an “alert” popped up on my Internet connection. Frank Pierson had died. Frank and I once competed for the affections of the same young woman (a then very bright and talented actress by the name of Gail Kobe), before that… and after… when we had moved on in life to our individual marriages, we would occasionally see each other socially. We came close to working together once on a TV series Pierson had created for James Garner, but of course Frank was best known for the feature films he wrote including Cat Ballou, Cool Hand Luke and Dog Day Afternoon. He was so smart, so articulate that it was probably a blessing I didn’t hang around him more often. I am not at all sure my ego could  have withstood the constant onslaught of his brilliance.  

That then was the week that was. I am looking forward to a better one with thanks to you all for allowing this indulgence and for being patient with the soon to be announcements on our Cagney & Lacey 30th anniversary events.


Barney Rosenzweig
July 25, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

CATCHING UP

No need to jump up and down or to even jump at all. There is little news here, I have simply decided that while waiting (I know, I know, it seems forever), I would update you with what little news I have of our upcoming Limited Edition to be followed by a smaller retail version come late fall. Right now, we are researching ways to make this easier for our UK fans. They have been so loyal and so vocal and so much a part of the true success of Cagney & Lacey I want to make sure that everything that can be done to serve them will be done. It is a work in progress… you are not being forgotten (quite the contrary) but it is a bit more complicated than it appears on the surface.

And we are still gathering material for the Limited Edition box that will contain the original movie with Loretta Swit, the Meg Foster-as-Cagney episodes, and all 119 with Sharon and Tyne. Photos, add-on materials… some archival, some new, are being gone through and selected. I can now reveal that the British Film Institute evening which launched our 30th anniversary (taped at the BFI in London last November) will be part of the package.  We have your questions and (hopefully) will get a taping done with the women to include some if not all of them. So far scheduling a taping has been difficult for reasons of personal and work conflicts. We are on the case and will soon (again, hopefully) reveal a guest host for that add-on feature. I have been doing some writing for the Limited Edition and a Hollywood publicist has been given the task of working out some appearances for the women this fall to promote the retail version of the series. (Frankly, I have predicted to all that the Limited Edition with its special autographed and numbered box will sell out through this website and direct contact with the fans so pass the word on to your friends and be conscious of watching this space for when and how to order.)

Something else I would like our US fans to do. As interested as I am personally in the Limited Edition, this is really being passed on to the fans at pretty close to cost. The only opportunity for any monetary success is if the retail version does well and the ONLY way that is going to happen is if we win some of those territorial wars for shelf space. Resistance to us is high. As important as Cagney & Lacey may be to me, and to many of you, it is vintage television to the managers of those retail outlets such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Costco and others. Vintage TV is out of fashion so my mission is to convince the sales force working for our distributor (not always an easy thing to do with these jaded folks) that Cagney & Lacey is NOT vintage television… it is ICONIC television; that this retail package (very reasonably priced) will make great gifts, not only for Mom and Grandma, but for their customers to promote as something to donate to local Women’s shelters, the YWCA, libraries, you name it. I am not sure I can get through to them, but history has shown me I sometimes have success getting through to you. Long before I ask you to buy as many of these retail units as you can possibly use/afford/ or want, what I would like you to do is drop in at your local retail outlet sometime this summer. While you are there at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Costco or wherever you sometimes shop… ask to see the manager and tell him or her that you understand that for the first time in over 25 years of waiting there is going to be a release of the entire Cagney & Lacey series and that you hope that this favorite store of yours will be sure to carry it so that you can buy multiple copies for your holiday gift list. If enough of you do that, I can assure you we will get on shelves where we have never been before and once on those shelves, in plain sight, we will have every opportunity to succeed. Again, this is for our US and Canadian audience… those of you abroad will be able to purchase this package through the Amazon outlet in your own country. And…. I repeat… this is NOT about the Limited Edition. That does not go into retail stores. That is a first come/first serve deal for you, our most loyal fans and we are working on ways to make that work internationally as well as domestically. What I am asking for now is help with giving this retail edition a chance to succeed. If we can show there is still an audience in anything like the numbers we once had, there is no telling what could happen, from more materials out there about the original show, to remakes or other reincarnations. No harm can come from our actions and we might be able to do some real good here. Thanks, in advance, for your help.


Barney Rosenzweig
June 10, 2012          

Friday, May 11, 2012

AT LAST...almost

Here is an update on just what is going on with the DVD presentation of the entire Cagney & Lacey series. There will be two releases. The first will be a Limited Edition presentation in what I have been told will be an attractive box, containing the 119 episodes starring Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly PLUS the original TV movie, starring Loretta Swit and the very first episodes where Meg Foster portrayed Christine Cagney. There will be additional add-on material… some of it seen before from various archival sources… and a new feature of Sharon and Tyne being interviewed together specifically for this 30th anniversary celebration. This Limited Edition will be signed by Sharon and Tyne and will be made available this summer, long before the retail version goes on sale in USA stores.

We have already heard from over two thousand of you expressing interest. Based on that, plus my own instincts, I am betting the entire limited run of 3,000 will be sold only to the most stalwart of fans… those of you reading this announcement. In the next few weeks, I will let you know how to order directly from the distributor. I am sorry to report this will not be made available in the UK or anywhere outside of North America, but you very wonderful fans abroad can still make your purchase direct from the North American distributor… and at a low enough price that will allow you to be able to afford to purchase separately your own NTSC player. There will be no PAL release of this package in the foreseeable future.

Understand, please, this is my last hurrah. It has taken me over 25 years to get Orion, MGM, and now their licensee to release this package. By year’s end I am done. Sharon, Tyne and I will participate in the retail promotion nationally in conjunction with the arrival of the package at stores in the US this fall, but this special summer Limited Edition will be pretty much a one-time offer to the tried and true who have been with us for so long.

Okay… how will the retail package differ from the Limited Edition? It will be cheaper by as much as 50% but will not contain most (if any) of the added material and will not have the Swit or Meg Foster work included. It will not be boxed and it will not be signed. It will be a very Spartan presentation of what we call the “true series”… the 119 episodes with Sharon and Tyne. I am going to work on the distributor to spruce it up a bit because I am (naturally) eager that this release be a success, but in no way… no matter what I do… will it be a true collector’s edition. For that you will have to act quickly via the Internet as soon as I give out that information. Watch this space. I will be disseminating all the details in the not too distant future.

Why am I writing this now, when there is nothing I am (as yet) asking you to do? How many times have you noted my paraphrase of the Gloria Steinem admonition to never let a group disperse without telling them what you want them to do? Well, while it is true that the time for action (that is, “purchase”) of the Limited Edition is still weeks away, Tyne Daly, Sharon Gless and I are getting together next week in New York to tape our comments about the 30th anniversary and this special release. Here, at last, is what I want you to do: Send us the questions you would like answered. We will try to answer as many as we can in the hour of tape we will cut together for the Limited Edition. Here’s your chance to play Charlie Rose or Barbara Walters or whomever (albeit off camera), but please understand, in order to participate we need to hear from you right away with your question(s).  Please email your questions to me at contactus@cagneyandlacey.com.

More from me to you very soon...And Happy Mother's Day!

Barney Rosenzweig
May 11, 2012