Se­cur­ing rights can make for in­com­plete view­ing of old series

The Morning Call - - GO - By Rich Heldenfels

Q: I have been try­ing to buy all eight sea­sons of the TV series “In the Heat of the Night” and no one has all the episodes. Some are miss­ing and I was won­der­ing why. Is there con­flict of some kind and will the miss­ing episodes ever be avail­able?

A: There are DVDs of the 1988-1995 drama starring Car­roll O’Connor and Howard Rollins, in­spired by the Sid­ney Poitier movie of the same name. But as you have found, some sets are miss­ing episodes. It ap­pears that not all the rights were se­cured for home-video re­lease of those episodes. In most cases with shows and movies, that is­sue in­volves mu­sic rights. Some shows have been long de­layed while rights were sorted out. In some cases, dis­trib­u­tors sub­sti­tuted mu­sic for the orig­i­nal ma­te­rial to re­lease the show. But I’ve seen no progress with “In the Heat of the Night.”

Q: The other night, I was all set to watch Jamie Lee Cur­tis as a po­lice­woman in a movie on ca­ble called “Blue Steel,” only to find out it was a Western with John Wayne. Aren’t the ti­tles of TV shows and movies reg­is­tered? How is it pos­si­ble for there to be du­pli­cates?

A: A check of the In­ter­net Movie Data­base finds three movies ti­tled “Blue Steel,” in­clud­ing the two you men­tioned. The Guardian pub­li­ca­tion once found 34 dif­fer­ent movies and TV shows called “The Awakening.” Ac­cord­ing to the U.S Copy­right Of­fice, “copy­right does not pro­tect names, ti­tles, slo­gans or short phrases.” Now, that does not mean you can start a band called the Rolling Stones be­cause, the of­fice adds, “in some cases, these things may be pro­tected as trade­marks.”

Q: I en­joyed watch­ing “The Code” this sum­mer and it is no longer on. Will it be con­tin­ued, and if so when? I could hardly wait to see it each week.

A: The CBS mil­i­tary drama drew a mixed re­ac­tion from my read­ers, and rat­ings in­di­cate not many view­ers were as en­thu­si­as­tic as you. The first-sea­son fi­nale on July 22 ap­pears to be the last episode ever since CBS de­cided not to con­tinue the show.

Q: Is the car Tom Hanks drives in the movie “Sleep­less in Seat­tle” the same car given back to him when he re­turns in the movie “Cast Away”?

A: While my files are full of seem­ingly unan­swer­able, ob­scure ques­tions about en­ter­tain­ment, this is one I can an­swer, with help from the In­ter­net Movie Cars Data­base. And the an­swer is yes and no. In “Sleep­less in Seat­tle,” we see Hanks’ char­ac­ter and his son load­ing a Jeep Chero­kee. In “Cast Away,” Hanks’ char­ac­ter also drives a Chero­kee. But the cars are dif­fer­ent col­ors, and IM­ notes the “Sleep­less” model is a 1993 and the one in

“Cast Away” is a 1997.

Q: Is the “Doc Martin” show still be­ing aired? If so, what sta­tion, day and time?

A: “Doc Martin” is a syn­di­cated pro­gram, like “Jeop­ardy,” and sold to in­di­vid­ual sta­tions in­stead of dis­trib­uted via a net­work. The most re­cent sea­son in cir­cu­la­tion is the eighth. Sta­tions’ sched­ules vary, so you would have to con­sult your lo­cal broad­caster on date and time. But be­fore they get to broad­cast, U.S. pre­sen­ta­tions are on the stream­ing ser­vice Acorn TV, which has the first rights. Acorn will present weekly tele­casts of the lat­est, ninth sea­son of “Doc Martin” be­gin­ning in Septem­ber, with each of the eight new episodes ar­riv­ing the day af­ter it pre­mieres in the U.K. You can find out more at, in­clud­ing sub­scrip­tion rates and avail­able pro­grams, among them “Doc Martin” episodes go­ing back to the first sea­son.

Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mo­gadore, OH, 44260, or bren­[email protected] Let­ters may be edited.


Car­roll O’Connor, right, starred along­side his son Hugh O’Connor in TV’s “In the Heat of the Night.”

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