Securing rights can make for incomplete viewing of old series
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 IMCDB.org 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 acorn.tv, 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.”