Feb 2000 Random Phone Notes
- Random phone notes on SEARCH
Don & Tom Harden
Feb. 26, 2000
(Some notes made during a phone conversation with my brother Tom over two years ago. Although some of the early points have been mentioned on the list, I thought folks might find some of the later points interesting.)
We noted that there were only 8 members of the SEARCH eGroups mailing list at the time (now known as Yahoo! Groups).
We just received the "Search" tapes, the ones from Australia airings. They are from good prints but with bad reception. Taped off regular antenna, not cable quality. Overall better than the AFN airings. The sound is crisp, clear and in hi-fi.
If we had a choice, we'd rather have Encore's Mystery Channel run "Search" than the Sci-Fi Channel or TVLand. Mystery Channel runs shows uncut without commercials. Sci-Fi cuts shows for more commercials and promos. You don't cut entertainment shows for large numbers of promos. Otherwise, it would be great if we could get Columbia House to sell videos of the series.
The Australian "Search" episodes seem to be "speeded up" slightly by computer. (This is even more notable with "The Bullet.")
Halfway through "Short Circuit," the picture gets fuzzy and fades somewhat into static but it clears up after a few minutes. Since we've had the audios to some of these shows since 1973, it was kind of strange watching especially "Short Circuit" and "Let Us Prey." You knew what the audio would be in terms of dialog and music, but you didn't know quite what to anticipate visually. So it was familiar but different at the same time. Even though we heard the episodes many times, we only saw them once back in '72 or '73. (VCRs didn't come into vogue with the average American until the early 1980s. The earliest Betamaxes didn't come out until 1976 and those cost over $1,000 each.)
The portion at the end of the opening credits of "Murrow Disappearance" is somewhat different from the later episodes. The boxes showing the scenes of the different Probe agents are arranged a little differently, but I think the same scenes appear in the boxes.
The music heard during the opening and closing credits of "Murrow" sounds a little different than the later episodes. There is more of an echo or a richer sound in the "Murrow" opening credits music.
Back in 1986, we found nine "Search" episodes. Jim Alexander of the "Search" group has six of those off eBay. For some reason, "Suffer My Child," "Countdown to Panic," and "Goddess of Destruction" don't show up among the different tape traders we have contacted.
The Australia tapes have the commercials cut out. The closing credits have an announcer with an Australian accent promoting the next show coming up.
In "Let Us Prey," Tom noticed that when Bianco throws the rifle in the water, an oil slick or something appears to rise to the surface. Or it could have been dark muddy sediment that got disturbed as the rifle hit the bottom.
We have filmclips of Grover from "Short Circuit" catching a fish and pulling the hook out of it on the beach. We also have filmclips of Grover driving with a girl in an orange jeep, footage we've never seen in any of the episodes.
On the subject of TV closing credits in general, in the old days, it was a chance to run the show's theme once again as a sort of fade out with a simple voiceover announcing the next show coming up (i.e. Ed McMahon giving the guest list of that night's "Tonight Show.")
Nowadays, the tendency is to have a split screen or small box where the credits appear (generally illegible), while usually a very loud promo dominates the rest of the screen.
Tom said he prefers the old way. Don said it unfortunately makes the networks and stations appear even greedier, desparate to squeeze one last promo during the show's closing credits.
Tom mentioned that shows like "Friends" have dialog scenes that run into and concurrently with the closing credits. But when local stations air the repeats, they put the video in a small box, cut off the audio and run a promo in the rest of the screen.
The way "Friends" was written, generally the punch line for the entire episode was in those scenes during the closing credits, which are always lost when stations do that promo overlay thing. What is frustrating is that you can see the action in that little box in the corner of the screen, but you can't hear what the characters are saying. If you followed the show in it's original run, you knew that often the best lines were during those closing scenes.
Don pointed out that unfortunately the public has brought this on themselves somewhat. How many times have you gone to a movie theatre and just as a hint of closing credits begin, a number of people get up and quickly leave? Very few will sit through a movie's closing credits, even if bloopers, outtakes, bonuses, additional dialogue or a final punch line are included.