A new­fan­gled way to see the oldies

Want to watch Méliès? Or ‘Mu­sic Man’? Stream­ing ser­vices carry them.

Los Angeles Times - - MOVIES - By Su­san King

Want to catch the third sea­son of the award-win­ning “Or­ange Is the New Black”? It just be­gan stream­ing on Net­flix.

Missed episodes of your fa­vorite TV se­ries last sea­son? You can catch up with most of the shows be­fore fall on Hulu.

But what if you’d rather stream episodes of “I Love Lucy”? Or watch a clas­sic Humphrey Bog­art film on your iPad or on Roku?

Most stream­ing sites of­fer vintage films and TV se­ries along the con­tem­po­rary ti­tles, and some cater specif­i­cally to the niche Clas­sic Hol­ly­wood au­di­ence

Warner Archive In­stant (in­stant.warner­ar­chive.com) has been stream­ing for­more than two years and of­fers at any given time some 400 to 500 fea­ture films and hun­dreds of TV pro­gram­ming op­tions.

“There are col­lec­tors and peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in hav­ing per­ma­nent copies of things, then there are peo­ple whow­ill say, ‘Iwant towatch this, but I don’t know if I want to buy this,’” said Ge­orge Fel­tenstein, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of the­atri­cal cat­a­log mar­ket­ing for Warner Bros. Home En­ter­tain­ment. “This gives peo­ple an op­tion.”

Warner Archive In­stant be­gan with a smat­ter­ing of ti­tles from Warner Archive Col­lec­tion, the on-de­mand se­ries that fea­tures movies and TV shows from such sources as Warner Bros., Turner En­ter­tain­ment, HBO and Al­lied Artists. The of­fer­ings have con­tin­ued to build. There are ob­scure ti­tles from Warner Home Video li­brary and TV se­ries like the short-lived 1976-77 Danny Thomas show on NBC, “The Prac­tice.”

“There’s a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt on our part to stay away from the fa­mil­iar,” Fel----

ten­stein said. “We never wanted ‘Casablanca’ or ‘King Kong’ or ‘Gone With the Wind,’ the things that you might find on another ser­vice. There are still oc­ca­sional films in our ser­vice that are fairly well known, like ‘The Mu­sic Man,’ but­the em­pha­sis on is the rare and hard-to-find. We are try­ing to cater to a wide group of tastes within a some­what lim­ited au­di­ence.”

Pre-Code films and film noirs are the most pop­u­lar gen­res on the ser­vice, as are episodes of the ABC de­tec­tive se­ries “77 Sunset Strip” (1958-64) and “Hawai­ian Eye” (1959-63).

The lat­ter aren’t out on DVD be­cause ex­pen­sive mu­sic clear­ances make them cost-pro­hib­i­tive to re­lease. Warner Archive In­stant of­fers what it calls the best of these se­ries and fea­tures episodes that don’t have clear­ance is­sues.

The ser­vice is $9.99 a mon­thor $7.08 a month if you sub­scribe for an en­tire year.

Shout! Fac­tory TV ( www.shoutfac­to­rytv.com) is free and advertiser sup­ported. The ser­vice show­cases films and TV se­ries of­fered on DVD from Shout! Fac­tory, and the mix is eclec­tic. Vintage TV se­ries in­clude “Route 66” (1960-64) and “Dennis the Men­ace” (1959-63), and art-house fare in­cludes Werner Herzog’s 1979 “Nos­fer­atu the Vampyre” and John Cas­savetes’ 1968 in­die drama “Faces.”

“We launched the web­site and on Roku in Fe­bru­ary,” said Gene Pao, vice pres­i­dent of dig­i­tal for Shout! Fac­tory. “We have an app that is in de­vel­op­ment for IOS and An­droid. Our plan is re­ally to of­fer as many ways to watch the con­tent as we pos­si­bly can.”

Shout! Fac­tory went the ad-sup­ported route to en­cour­age peo­ple to ex­plore the con­tent, said Gar­son Foos, co-founder and pres­i­dent. “Down the road we will move to a sub­scrip­tion ser­vice,” Foos said. “We wanted to stake our claim and get our feet wet in the dig­i­tal chan­nel are a and start to see how things are trend­ing and fur­ther re­fine and de­fine who we are. We like to think we are the cu­ra­tors of great con­tent.”

The 1954-60 com­edy se­ries “Fa­ther Knows Best,” the 1988-99 com­edy “Mys­tery Science Theatre 3000” and the 1999-2004 an­i­mated Adult Swim se­ries “Home Movies” are among the most pop­u­lar on the ser­vice.

In Au­gust, Shout! Fac­tory TV will stream a new orig­i­nal se­ries, “Back­lot,” com­posed of ma­te­rial shot for bonus con­tent on its DVDs.

“We hope to do around six episodes a month,” Pao said.

Flicker Al­ley, the bou­tique DVD and Blu-ray com­pany that has re­leased such ti­tles as “Chap­lin’s Mu­tual Comedies” and “This Is Cin­erama,” got into the stream­ing busi­ness two years ago and is part­nered with Vimeo. Users can rent such ti­tles as the 1914 Chap­lin clas­sic “Til­lie’s Punc­tured Ro­mance” and D.W. Grif­fith’s 1920 “Way Down East” at www.flick­er­al­ley.com/stream­ing for $1.95 to $4.95 for one month.

“Weare ex­plor­ing all plat­forms now,” said oper­a­tions man­ager Josh Mor­ri­son.

The re­stored 1902 color ver­sion of Ge­orges Méliès’ “A Trip to the Moon” re­cently joined the Net­flix lineup.

Flicker Al­ley, Mor­ri­son said, is “al­ways try­ing to broaden the scope of our au­di­ence. We knowthat a lot of younger col­lege stu­dents are choos­ing stream­ing to con­sume these types of films. We want to try and reach them. When they switched to Vimeo we did seen an uptick in visi­tors. We know that we do have cus­tomers of all ages.”

Warner Bros.

“THE MU­SIC MAN” (1962), with Robert Pre­ston, can be streamed nowa­days.

NBC Tele­vi­sion / Getty Im­ages

“FA­THER KNOWS BEST,” broad­cast to Amer­i­can house­holds from 1954 to ’60, is­much-re­quested now via Shout! Fac­tory. Robert Young, cen­ter, with the fam­ily.


“77 SUNSET STRIP,” the 1958-64 de­tec­tive se­ries with Efrem Zim­bal­ist Jr., is aWarner Archive ti­tle.

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