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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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James FitzPatrick TravelTalks shorts


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#1 mickeyfender

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 04:23 PM

I added it to the MGM shorts list on the other thread here.

 

Just the British Film Institute discusses it. http://www.bfi.org.u...e/4ce2b79305dc9

 

The US copyright listings don't include MGM's promotional shorts, this one being a soft sell of Quo Vadis.

 

Thanks, Jlewis! I knew someone would come through. I hadn't actually watched it yet, so I wasn't aware of the Quo Vadis connection. I wonder why my searches never turned up the BFI listing.


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#2 Jlewis

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 03:55 PM

I added it to the MGM shorts list on the other thread here.

 

Just the British Film Institute discusses it. http://www.bfi.org.u...e/4ce2b79305dc9

 

The US copyright listings don't include MGM's promotional shorts, this one being a soft sell of Quo Vadis.


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#3 mickeyfender

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 03:48 PM

I'm a bit tardy posting, but I finally got my set, and I cannot describe how pleased I am that I now have the complete run. Still haven't watched them all yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the cut-off-a-few-seconds-before-the-end problem that plagued a number of titles on the first two sets isn't prevalent here.

 

I'd personally never run across "Memories of Australia", and yes, it is a compilation of footage from "Glimpses of Australia" and "Sydney, Pride of Australia", but for the sake of completeness, not to mention Jimmy's narration evoking his feelings regarding Australia, both before and during the war, I'm glad that it was included. It does make me wonder, though, why "Rome, the Eternal City", a film that seemingly has no connection with FitzPatrick, was included, when "Memories of Europe", a FitzPatrick Miniature similar to "Memories of Australia", presumably could have been included instead.

 

But there you have it, which is certainly more than I'd ever hoped for.

 

Speaking of "Rome, the Eternal City", do any of the experts here know anything about this picture other than what can be seen on screen? There doesn't seem to be any information regarding it anywhere that I can find. It does have an MPAA number, which suggests that it was released, and its number also suggests that it was released in 1952 (which happens to be the copyright year shown in the credits). But there's no listing for it on the IMDb, on citwf.com, or in the LoC motion picture copyright catalogue. There is another "Rome, the Eternal City" from 1948 listed in the catalogue and on CITWF, but it's obviously a different picture. The one on the dvd has all the proper MGM logos and text in the credits, plus it's in color, which the 1948 title is not. So if anybody can find anything on this title, feel free to post it here.


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#4 Jlewis

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 09:20 AM

OK... going through Volume 3 and skipping some titles that I have seen more than enough times.

 

Here is my critical review... lol!

 

What all of yee Traveltalk buffs will notice right away with Volume 3 is a noticeable decline in pictorial quality. This is not the fault of the DVD, although some of us were willing to wait another year or two for some digital improvement. It is just that the films themselves are fuzzier and all of the dirt (hair, dust) is more noticeable than before.

 

Why? Well... there is a reason. By the time of Jimmy's 1944 Central American tour (and films from this period are found on all three sets), 16mm pretty much replaced replaced 35mm as the preferred format for most travel film-makers including Jimmy. This was also the format usually used by the combat cameramen documenting World War II in color, along with most nature documentaries of the forties and fifties (including Walt Disney's True Life Adventures) and virtually every school film you saw in the classroom between the 1930s and 1980s. All the Technicolor labs did was blow up Kodachrome's smaller size for the theater screen. The 1950-51 trips to SPRINGTIME IN HOLLAND and SEEING CEYLON will likely not impress you as much as 1930s HOLLAND IN TULIP TIME and GLIMPSES OF JAVA AND CEYLON in the earlier volumes and may, in fact, look like older films. On the plus side, however, 16mm Kodachrome still retains its original colors rather well (especially after Technicolor reprocessed it), in contrast to 35mm Eastmancolor (used a lot in the 1950s and '60s) which deteriorated into a sea of Valentine pink.

 

My guess is that the Royal Family touring OVER THE SEAS TO BELFAST and the handicapped fisherman and artist in ON THE SHORES OF NOVA SCOTIA didn't look impressive even to Jimmy himself in the economized format. Therefore, we see a dramatic increase in the number of buildings, statues and landscapes and a decrease in people and critter shots. Sadly this makes the Traveltalks post-war a bit duller than pre-war. The two titles covering Virginia are especially boring since so many landmarks like Mt. Vernon are little different than picture postcards transmitted to film. Fortunately the Chicago and Canadian reels have more life in them and are as equally entertaining as anything we expect from Jimmy.

 

And there are some amusing critter shots. We once again get our elephants in SEEING CEYLON along with some talented German Shepherds in IN THE LAND OF DIAMONDS. Of course, Jimmy loves his bears and deer more than any other non-human mammalian group, so ROAMING THROUGH MICHIGAN gives us both black bears and white tailed fawns to add the Volume 1 and 2 selection of grizzlies (and more black bears) featured in the earlier National Park reels (and this volume's JASPER NATIONAL PARK), the Grand Canyon Mule Deer, the Japanese Sika in ORIENTAL PARADISE, the Swedish zoo bears and (although they are technically related to raccoons and not bears) St. Louis pandas. MEMORIES OF AUSTRALIA (1943) lifts footage from the two 1938 trips there that features the cute “bear-like” marsupial koalas. Sadly, the Hamburg Zoo in GLIMPSES OF WESTERN GERMANY has no bears, but it does have lions, elephants and one especially photogenic Indian Rhino who literally gives the cameraman Hone M. Glendining a great big kiss. (Yup, Jimmy ended his MGM contract with one of his all-time best offerings.)

 

Oh... I have to add that IN THE LAND OF DIAMONDS also has a half lion, half tiger. Oh yeah, I like the South African group here. Better than average cinematography, with great aerials in CALLING ON CAPE TOWN. Also lots of fun in their political "in-correctness" relating to the native men and their multiple wives.

 

The United Kingdom does get loads of attention. Planning a trip there? Here you go! Practically every statue and castle gets documented even if the only movement you sometimes see on screen are tourists and the clouds in the sky. The original plan was to just make an overall tour in August 1945 as the country was rebuilding after the war (with LOOKING AT LONDON showcasing much rubble near St. Paul's), but their popularity prompted Jimmy's team to return twice in addition to covering more of Scotland and Ireland. According to the Film Daily articles, there was also a Jimmy-backed TV show broadcast on the BBC during the fall of '49 and my guess is that some of the same material winds up in a few titles here (in color, of course). Overall, these are among the best looking of the later films, particularly LIFE ON THE THAMES which can hold its own with anything done in the thirties in terms of Technicolor beauty.

 

My guess is that there must have been some complaints that Jimmy's stuff was looking too “economized” during this later period. Thus, we have the brief “People on Parade” face-lift for the 1950-51 season with added sound-bytes a.k.a. EGYPT SPEAKS and VOICES OF VENICE (narrated by various Italians instead of Jimmy for a change). Apparently only two titles sport the snappy new title cards, although vintage BoxOffice magazine lists more under that umbrella than there may have been in reality. Too bad the camerawork is lackluster in these (with the Venice one looking like somebody's home movie with one little girl struggling with her outfit shown twice) because they could have potentially ranked among his best.

 

In addition to the 2-reel Traveltalk Special on MIGHTY MANHATTAN (which is probably my favorite here, along with the South African reels), we also get a tour of Rome with a some lovely ladies who also get a backstage pass to see Cinecittà and the production of MGM's QUO VADIS. This is called ROME THE ETERNAL CITY and is directed by Morgan Hudgins instead of Jimmy, but blends rather nicely with Jimmy's films. It reminds me of the contemporary JUNGLE SAFARI that was also one half African scenics and one half behind-the-scenes with the KING SOLOMON'S MINES crew.


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#5 Jlewis

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 07:39 PM

Not included, for those keeping score

 

FitzPatrick's independently produced Traveltalks of 1929-31, all in black & white

The MGM Traveltalks of 1931-1934, all in black & white (although Kino Lorber released an assortment on VHS ages ago and could be pressured to do a DVD set)

These MGM Miniature shorts:

  • Viva Mexico (Wilfred Cline) / filmed spring 1940 / Nov 1, 1941

  • People Of Russia (in black & white) (Frank Goodliffe) / filmed Jul 1932 plus footage from “News of the Day” featuring Stalin in 1942 / Dec 26, 1942

  • Wood Goes To War (William Snyder) / filmed winter 1942-43 / May 8, 1943

 

Two non travel FitzPatricks are available on Classic Shorts From The Dream Factory Vol. 2 (Warner Archive) DVD

  • Memories And Melodies / filmed Dec 1934 / Feb 16, 1935

  • Mendelssohn's Wedding March / filmed summer 1939 / Nov 4, 1939

 

The Warner Bros., Paramount and 20th Century Fox shorts will have to wait for later

 

Here is our complete list in chronological order: http://forums.tcm.co...orts/?p=1273343

 

If only Jimmy knew how much we all w-u-v him to be so dedicated to his "filmography". Ha ha!

 

I also want to give thanks to members of the Warner Archive for actually reading our posts on this thread. They boo-booed with Old New Orleans by double-dipping another title, but may not have noticed this had it not been discussion here. SOMEBODY was reading and knew we were actually purchasing sets. So they added it to volume 3. (Also... if SOMEBODY is reading this who has power with Warner's DVD division, a nice set of E.M. Newman and André De La Varre Warner Brothers travelogues would be nice too, along with some of the great Sports Parades, Robert Youngson historicals and Warner Technicolor Specials. You can always start with an Oscar winners and nominees set to test the market first. Just so I can finally see Youngson's Blaze Busters.)


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#6 TravelFilmsFan

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 04:02 PM

The new discs are here. You know that feeling you get when you complete a jigsaw puzzle? Yes, sort of. That is, unless, they missed some of the Traveltalks in this last volume. Still checking. List below.
 
A couple notes:
 
I was curious if "People of Russia" from 1942 would be included. That's a negative. Although a black-and-white retread, I was curious if they would include it just because it's from this same era. Speaking of that one, I bet elderly Jimmy wish he could've taken back giving a shout out to Stalin, with an emphasis on his last name like a boxing ring announcer. But it was the 40s and not the 50s. Anyway.
 
As previewed, included is "Memories of Australia" -- a "miniature" from MGM. Haven't checked yet, but I suspect it will be very similar to the almost-identically named 1939 short.
 
Here we go...
 
Disc 1
1940 - Old New Orleans
1942 - Memories of Australia 
1946 - Land of the Mayas
1946 - Visiting Vera Cruz 
1946 - The Mission Trail 
1946 - Looking at London 
1946 - Over the Seas to Belfast 
1946 - Glimpses of California  
1947 - Calling on Costa Rica 
1947 - Around the World in California 
1947 - On the Shores of Nova Scotia 
1947 - Glimpses of New Scotland 
1947 - Visiting Virginia 
1947 - Cradle of a Nation 
1948 - Cape Breton Island 
1948 - Chicago, the Beautiful 
1948 - Wandering Through Wales 
1948 - Night Life in Chicago
1948 - Scholastic England
1949 - Ontario: Land of Lakes 
1949 - Calling on Michigan
1949 - Playlands of Michigan  
1949 - Quebec in Summertime
 
Disc 2
1949 - Roaming Through Northern Ireland  
1949 - From Liverpool to Stratford 
1949 - Glimpses of Old England  
1949 - In Old Amsterdam 
1949 - A Wee Bit of Scotland  
1950 - Land of Tradition  
1950 - Colorful Holland 
1950 - Pastoral Panoramas  
1950 - Roaming Through Michigan
1950 - To the Coast of Devon 
1950 - Touring Northern England
1950 - The Land of Auld Lang Syne 
1950 - Life on the Thames  
1951 - Egypt Speaks 
1951 - Voices of Venice 
1950 - Springtime in the Netherlands  
1951 - Land of the Zuider Zee
1951 - A Word for the Greeks 
1951 - Romantic Riviera 
1951 - Glimpses of Morocco and Algiers
1951 - Visiting Italy
1951 - Glimpses of Argentina
 
Disc 3
1952 - Beautiful Brazil 
1952 - Picturesque New Zealand

1952 - Life in the Andes
1952 - Land of the Taj Mahal 
1952 - Jasper National Park 
1952 - Seeing Ceylon
1952 - Ancient India  
1952 - Pretoria to Durban 
1952 - In the Land of Diamonds 
1952 - Calling on Cape Town
1953 - Land of the Ugly Duckling 
1953 - Beautiful Bavaria 
1953 - Johannesburg: 'City of Gold' 
1953 - Delightful Denmark 
1953 - Copenhagen, City of Towers 
1953 - Seeing Spain
1953 - In the Valley of the Rhine
1953 - Looking at Lisbon 
1954 - Glimpses of Western Germany
Specials:
1949 - Mighty Manhattan, New York's Wonder City
Rome, the Eternal City -- not a FitzPatrick, not sure why it's here, but it's here.
 
To quote Indiana Jones in the third one:
 
"Well, we made it."

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#7 LawrenceA

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 11:29 AM

Wonderful News!

I just ordered from WB SHOP & Amazon

Order says will have it here by 11/16/2016

 

 

I just ordered it, as well!



#8 arty100

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 04:50 AM

http://www.wbshop.co...aign=EWAC161102

 

It says the years covered are 1940 through 1953 (a.k.a. his last for MGM, filmed '52 for the '53-54 season). This may mean that it covers that New Orleans title that got skipped on the other two due to "double dipping" an Australia title. Also included is a 1951 promotional for QUO VADIS that features Italy footage contemporary to the Traveltalks. Probably not included would be the other shorts by Jimmy that were not part of the Traveltalk series like WOOD GOES TO WAR, MEMORIES OF AUSTRALIA and other MGM "Miniatures".

Wonderful News!

I just ordered from WB SHOP & Amazon

Order says will have it here by 11/16/2016

 

Can't wait!

Chris


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#9 Jlewis

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 05:11 PM

http://www.wbshop.co...aign=EWAC161102

 

It says the years covered are 1940 through 1953 (a.k.a. his last for MGM, filmed '52 for the '53-54 season). This may mean that it covers that New Orleans title that got skipped on the other two due to "double dipping" an Australia title. Also included is a 1951 promotional for QUO VADIS that features Italy footage contemporary to the Traveltalks. Probably not included would be the other shorts by Jimmy that were not part of the Traveltalk series like WOOD GOES TO WAR, MEMORIES OF AUSTRALIA and other MGM "Miniatures".


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#10 TravelFilmsFan

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 05:26 PM

So I got great news, and I got terrible news. 

 

The great news is that DVD Volume 3 is now on the WB site. And it includes 66 shorts, not 60. I counted up the totals and knew that another 60 would be just shy of the MGM color grand total. But 66 might get them all.

 

The terrible news is that it has a ship date of 11/15/2020.

 

Uhhhhhhh... Four years from now?!?!? 

 

WB: c'mon, man. This has to be a typo, yeah? Let's change that to 2016 and get the discs a'burnin'.

 

TAKE MY MONEY. TAKE IT.


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#11 Jlewis

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 02:32 PM

Or was it the "Oh Brunhilde, you're so wuvwy"... "Yes I know it, I can't help it."?

 

Nevermind, it was the "Return my wuv..."



#12 TravelFilmsFan

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 01:32 PM

Kill duh waa-bit.

 

KILL DUH WAAA-BITTT!!!

 

KILL DUH WAAAAA-BITTTTT!!!!!


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#13 Jlewis

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 06:52 AM

I have to go back and re-watch, but Jimmy is fairly predictable in his music choices. He absolutely adored Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt and Felix Mendelsohn, making mini-bios of them in the 1920s and flooding his Traveltalks with their music:

 

http://forums.tcm.co...ghts/?p=1369232

 

Several of his musical shorts can be seen here (although you may have to click on the next pages): http://www.travelfil...?filmmaker_id=9

 

The Disney studio was equally obsessed with them in many Silly Symphonies as well. I think Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture probably pops up more frequently than any other, being the second tune in Flowers And Trees. In 1926, the Warner Bros. Vitaphone Orchestra performed this in a popular sound short shown before Don Juan and I have the feeling that this was the moment it became the "go-to" tune for all of Hollywood in the sound era whenever you needed something for mountains and countrysides. Of course, the ultimate rendition was Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny adding words in What's Opera, Doc?

 

 


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#14 FredMertz

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 07:27 PM

Does anyone know the name of the song usually heard during views of “scenic grandeur”, usually mountains or canyons? If you have volume 1 of the Warner Bros. Traveltalks DVD set, a vocal rendition is at the start of “Rainbow Canyons” on disc 1. It is also the opening tune in the early Disney cartoon “Flowers and Trees”.

#15 Jlewis

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 09:20 PM

I have enjoyed Volume 2 even though I have seen many titles before over the years. A few interesting observations...

 

By coincidence, many of the "swimming" titles seem to be clustered here. In Volume 1, there were a few shots of people diving into pools and frolics at beaches. Yet this second set is particularly amusing in that at least one in four films shows somebody in a bathing suit.

 

Volume 1 had many bears and deer among the critters featured. Volume two just has one Mule Deer in GRAND CANYON PRIDE OF CREATION, but black bears in YOSEMITE THE MAGNIFICENT and the Polar Bears and Pandas (actually not bears, but related to raccoons if we need to get nitpicky) at the St. Louis Zoo (a.k.a. VISITING ST. LOUIS). That zoo, by the way, was the most popular one in old shorties made by various studios and also popular in '40s-50s view master toys because, like San Diego's and Detroit's, it was among the few at the time with limited cages. Most of the animals had open enclosures more closely resembling their native habitat, a common feature today but not back then. SYDNEY, PRIDE OF AUSTRALIA, of course, has Koala "bears"... and one "put me down" platypus.

 

LAND OF THE QUINTUPLETS... oh boy, oh boy... *chuckle chuckle* Those little gals were treated just like the critters at the St. Louis Zoo. Loooong line of tourists seeking a glimpse. Most amusing is how they all cheekily grin at the cameras with no shame to their game while waiting to see Ontario's biggest attraction.

 

Of course, ROMANTIC NEVADA remains a favorite of mine since half of the reel shows ladies seeking divorce, not marriage, in sunny Reno. This is a town where there is no wartime rubber shortage. Lots of great vehicles on the road, pre-1942. Speaking of cars, both the Traveltalks and the black and white "Crime Does Not Pay" series that the Warner Archive also put out are excellent viewing for fans of vintage chrome. Both series span the years 1934/35 to 1944/46, a period that saw dramatic changes in Detroit styling that makes each title easy to "date". Even MEXICAN POLICE ON PARADE has all of the '42 models on display.

 

The United States reels showcase all of the segregation of the day. OLD NATCHEZ show the "colored folk" still living in shacks, although a few are living well and in advanced age. The "white folks" are all dressed in their plantation best. In fairness, Jimmy our narrator does his best to view the races as equal. He praises the multi-racial socialization in OVER THE ANDES, suggesting that he was aware there was a... ahem... problem back home in the USA that needed resolved. A few of us discussed this already here. I think Jimmy himself would not be too happy if his daughter brought home Sidney Poitier, but he is progressing gradually in his views. By the early forties, you no longer hear about the "progress of the white man" as you do in the mid thirties. PICTURESQUE SOUTH AFRICA and SUVA, PRIDE OF FIJI are the most dated of the bunch in their commentary since Jimmy was a bit too much in love with British Empirical Rule back then.

 

PICTURESQUE SOUTH AFRICA is, despite its racial "age" (after all, it was filmed in 1936), among the best looking of the bunch. Zimbabwe (excuse me, Rhodesia) is showcased with Victoria Falls. The rainbow effects are quite impressive, if more jerky and hand-held in their camera work than the very smooth Cinerama "takes" in SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, shot in 1954. Although the Japan reels vary a bit in their quality, CHERRY BLOSSOM TIME really is just as breathtaking as your favorite Kodachrome slides. I am a bit disappointed that Jimmy didn't really explore Egypt better in those two titles; there is too much focus on urban Cairo and not enough on the familiars of antiquity. The India reels always look good although I still think Jack Cardiff's work for the "World Windows" series was still a bit better. After all, Cardiff had dared to show the Taj Mahal at night in 1938 color, while the Traveltalks are focused almost exclusively with standard daylight shots. Lots of elephants and monkeys in their India reels though. Gotta have plenty of critters, y'know.

 

My pick for the most memorable moment of Volume 2? Probably Mt. Rushmore sporting just two heads in NATURAL WONDERS OF THE WEST (1937).


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#16 Jlewis

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 11:13 PM

... and it would have been ssssooooo nice to see White Christmas DVDs issued with the short shown alongside it back in 1954: VistaVision Visits Norway. Alas... Paramount just assumed your average Wal-Mart shopper who gets it at holiday time just wouldn't be interested in such "extras".



#17 TravelFilmsFan

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 10:30 PM

Appreciate it, TopBilled. Great to be here -- it's one of my favorite topics. 

 

Yeah, Jlewis, I got faked out. Which ordinarily doesn't bother me, but getting faked out by 13 years (1938 vs. 1951) sort of does. So it goes, and all lists are updated. Speaking of which...

 

I had a look, and it appears that one more volume of 60 should just about complete the entire MGM collection of color shorts. 

 

Now if we could just get our hands on some VistaVision Visits...


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#18 Jlewis

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 07:16 PM

Ha ha! I couldn't remember if it was TCM's schedules here or imdb.com without having to recheck. I knew yooooou, TravelFilmsFan, had read that date somewhere because I had too and remembered it was wrong. In fact I think I might have been the one who corrected imdb.com myself (or MickeyFender did since he was busy on imdb.com correcting stuff too... one of us corrected it, anyhoo) and the "elves" in charge forgot to make that other correction.



#19 TopBilled

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 06:16 PM

Zoinks -- for Argentina, I got 1938 from imdb.com. Weird: it has the date in parentheses after the title as 1938, but has the release date as 1 December 1951. That's a bit of a discrepancy. 

 

I threw in my VHS copy (yes, I still use a VCR), and it most definitely looks, and especially sounds like, a later one. 

 

So I guess that means we're totally covered for the 1930s on the DVDs.

 

More good news.

 

Welcome to the message boards. Nice screen name!


"Since I have no past, I have no future. Only the moment, only now. So we can enjoy it without obligations or regrets."-- Jennifer Jones to Joseph Cotten in LOVE LETTERS.


#20 TravelFilmsFan

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 06:13 PM

Zoinks -- for Argentina, I got 1938 from imdb.com. Weird: it has the date in parentheses after the title as 1938, but has the release date as 1 December 1951. That's a bit of a discrepancy. 

 

I threw in my VHS copy (yes, I still use a VCR), and it most definitely looks, and especially sounds like, a later one. 

 

So I guess that means we're totally covered for the 1930s on the DVDs.

 

More good news.


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