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Compass_Rose

Classic Christmas Movies Not Being Aired on TCM?

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Within the couple of years I have noticed that TCM has not aired such Christmas classics as It's a Wonderful Life or The Christmas Story. For example, if you look at this year's Christmas time schedule, TCM aired such Christmas classics as Shop Around the Corner, Christmas in Connecticut, In the Good Old Summertime, at least 3-4 times during the month of December however, It's a Wonderful Life and The Christmas Story were not aired even once.

 

Does anyone know why this is? I am sure that I am not the only one who would love to see these Christmas Classics aired on TCM especially during the Christmas Time.

 

Thanks

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>however, It's a Wonderful Life and The Christmas Story were not aired even once.

 

These particular films are very expensive to rent, and they are also tied-up with big $ contracts with other networks.

 

TCM usually can not out-bid a major commercial network like NBC to get rights to show IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. That film might cost as much as $100,000 to a million dollars to rent, since NBC shows millions of dollars worth of commercials during the film. NBC makes a lot of money off of that film and has to pay a lot of money to rent it. The same with some other famous Christmas films, such as WHITE CHRISTMAS.

 

We are very lucky that TCM shows some very good and high quality Christmas films and shows them without any commercial breaks. I'm very pleased with this year's TCM selection of Christmas movies, including the 1925 Ben Hur and the silent KING OF KINGS, which is a very strong, powerful, and emotional film, which I like better than the more modern version of KING OF KINGS.

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Compass Rose,

 

NBC has had an exclusive, long-term lease agreement for at least the last ten years on *It's a Wonderful Life* and has a few more years to go on that contract. Until that contract runs out (and providing they don't renew it), NBC is the only network that can air the film.

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Merry Christmas, Izcutter.

 

I still miss Kyle very much. I hope he becomes my personal guardian angel.

 

Merry Christmas, Kyle.

 

Fred

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Thanks for that link, jr., to IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

 

This is a very good print of the film.

 

I'm going to highlight it again for you.

 

*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frXklECPkD0*

 

Fred

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I'd mentioned earlier that I noticed that IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE was not on TCM's December schedule. I was then informed about NBC's current exclusive lease agreement for this film. I must have never seen this movie "commercial free."

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TCM, along with TBS and ABC Family were the only stations showing ANYthing Christmasy yesterday. Last night, TNT showed THE TIME MACHINE, the newer version with Guy Pierce. AMC was showing EL Dorado. So TCM was doing good last night. Don't complain if your all time favorite classic wasn't shown. You at least now know why.

 

Sepiatone

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Thanks for all of the info about the movie rights and the costs, as i was not aware of it.

 

Also thanks to offering up the links to watch It's a Wonderful Life however, I am not a fan of watching movies on my computer. I was forced to watch It's a Wonderful Life on a different channel this year that had commercials; boy do I hate commercials especially if they are cut into the showing of a movie. It sure takes away from the over-all enjoyment!

 

Years ago, I use to be a AMC fan until they started cutting commercials into the showing of their movies, so now I don't even have that channel showing up in my guide. I guess I should be thankful. If it wasn't for AMC doing that, I wouldn't be a big TCM fan now! ;-)

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> I was forced to watch It's a Wonderful Life on a different channel this year that had commercials; boy do I hate commercials especially if they are cut into the showing of a movie. It sure takes away from the over-all enjoyment

 

This is why I have my favorite holiday movies on tape or DVD. I don't have to "make time" for them, or rush home in order to catch them. I can view them at will and at my leisure.

 

Sepiatone

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this thread seems to have evolved into a discussion of rights and It's a Wonderful Life. so my memory and the rights/broadcasts of Life goes like this. corrections, additions and/or answers are most welcome.

 

Life was made by Frank Capra in 1946 and under the rights law at the time the copyright was good for 28 years and one renewal for another 28 years. when it came time for the renewal in 1974, a clerical oversight/error resulted in no renewal/extension for the 2nd 28 years.

 

now all bets are off and Life is open for broadcast by anyone with a copy of the film. many stations took advantage of this and Life was frequently aired free of charge to the broadcaster from 1974 till about 2000 (that's when NBC came into the story.)

 

since Life was shown frequently, it became a favorite to the many who had never seen it before. (TCM type fans already knew about Life. it's all the others, and there were many, who made Life "the most popular Christmas movie of all time.")

 

this was a potential gold mine for a rights holder to Life, but it was in the public domain and looked destined to stay that way until (now this is where the sequence of events as told by others gets murky) some way could be found to reacquire rights control.

 

as i understand it, someone got the bright idea that the music in the film was never copyrighted and so NBC (itself; nobody else) filed for a copyright to the music and it was granted. now, anyone who wanted to show or market Life had to have (paid) authorization from NBC. since NBC now owned the music rights and the original film can't be shown without the music, NBC now had control of any and all forms of Life marketing with music. however, Life had snowballed into such a big "thing" that since acquiring exclusive control, NBC has limited (excluded everyone else in toto?) any use of the film. this even sort of applies to NBC itself, which only shows Life a couple times, once at Thanksgiving and another at Christmas.

 

now, the way Life is being discussed in the TCM forum, it appears that NBC only has a broadcast deal and not ownership. which is correct? if it's a deal with different ownership, how and why?

 

then again, i had the following idea. am i wrongheaded? since the copyright applies to the music, what's to stop anyone from deleting the music from the original, then recording new material and laying it down onto their copy of the movie soundtrack? (i know, this is sort of a colorization situation all over again, but is it possible?)

 

comments?

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allthumbs,

 

The rights issues surrounding *Wonderful Life* has been confusing for many, myself included, over the years.

 

When news of a sequel came out a few months ago, the trade papers had a couple of articles about it and about Paramount squashing the idea as they own the rights to the film. The articles often included info about the rights of the original film.

 

 

In 1993, Republic Pictures relied on the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Stewart v. Abend (which involved another James Stewart film, *Rear Window* ) to enforce its claim to the copyright of *Wonderful Life*.

 

While the film's copyright had not been renewed, Republic still owned the film rights to "The Greatest Gift" (the book the film was based on); thus they were able to argue its status as a derivative work of a work still under copyright.

 

After success with the Supreme Court, Republic then sold their film library to Spelling Entertainment. In 1998, Paramount (via their parent company Viacom) bought Spelling Entertainment and its assets, including the film library.

 

 

With the acquisition of Spelling Entertainment, Paramount became the rights holder of *It's a Wonderful Life* and other films in the Republic film library.

 

NBC contracted with them shortly after that for the long-term, multi-year broadcast lease contract. That contract still has a few years to go before it expires though NBC will likely renew it at that time.

 

(Thanks to wikipedia, the Hollywood Reporter and Variety for use as source material.)

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thanks Iz. my occasional readings and tidbits of info led to a way off the mark conclusion/story. glad you set the record straight.

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A movie with a feel-good message that is in the Christmas spirit if not directly about Christmas is the all but forgotten "Sally and Saint Anne" (1952) starring Ann Blyth by Universal. If Universal would restore that one I think TCM could air it with positive results around Christmas.

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"POOOFFFF.....

 

Here it is:

 

"Sally and Saint Anne" (1952) starring Ann Blyth

 

 

"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Fred! Great movie!

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*Holiday Inn* (1942) and *Miracle on 34th Street* (1947). But getting to see *Scrooge* and *The Lemon Drop Kid* (both 1951) was refreshing.

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