VCI Has Lost TV Pilots, Boris Karloff & Giallo Fun In The Fall

Back in my former life working at the film archive, SabuCat was often mentioned. I won’t mention why we spoke of them, but they were a great resource for us. So it’s a bit of fun to see it mentioned in the press release of VCI Entertainment’s upcoming DVDs and Blu-rays for September and October. The fun starts off early with two volumes of Television’s Lost Classics. The first volume includes early work of John Cassavetes (Killing of a Chinese Bookie) and director Sidney Lumet. Volume 2 includes pilots that starred William Shatner and Lon Chaney, Jr. Another edition of the classic sitcom I Married Joan should make you laugh. The Boris Karloff collection has four films that ought to get you to scream. Finally there’s Blood and Black Lace. Get ready for Giallo and Gelato Night with this early masterpiece from director Mario Bava. Get ready to for a killer loose at a fashion house that holds so many secrets and vices. I recently saw that there was a Giallo and Gelato Night in Holland earlier in August. Here’s more details from VCI Entertainment’s press release:

VCI Entertainment – Fall 2018 Release Schedule

Television’s Lost Classics Volume One on DVD and Blu-ray (9/11)

Television’s Lost Classics Volume 2: Rare Pilots on DVD and Blu-ray (10/9)

I Married Joan: Classic TV Collection Vol 4 (10/9)

The Boris Karloff Collection (9/11)

Blood and Black Lace (Blu-ray/ DVD Combo) (10/9)

Jeff Joseph (SabuCat Productions), film archivist, historian, author and producer, has produced a remarkable collection of rare and “lost” classic television programs. The series has been lovingly restored in high definition from the best archival film elements available; some of the programs have not been seen since they were originally broadcast. The first two volumes are set for release this fall, with Volume One available on September 11, 2018. Volume Two will follow on October 9, 2018. Both will be released on Blu-ray and DVD by VCI Entertainment, with distribution by MVD Entertainment. Additional volumes are planned with the third in the series already in production for release in late 2018.


Ep. 1 – CRIME IN THE STREETS: actors: Robert Preston, John Cassavetes

Ep. 2 – NO RIGHT TO KILL: actors: John Cassavetes, Terry Moore, Robert H. Harris

The 1950s produced a treasure trove of live dramatic programs originating from New York. Top talent from stage and screen were retained for both in front and back of the camera. These two prime examples convey the feeling of watching a Broadway performance, but with the advantage of abundant and intimate close-ups and medium shots. They are surprisingly cinematic, especially considering the impediments those behind the camera had to face – clunky cameras, hot lights, quick set changes, live music and sound effects and always being mindful of keeping microphones out of the frame. Clearly, the highlights of these programs are the intense performances by John Cassavetes, with his variation of method acting displayed in full form.

The first program is titled “Crime in the Streets” and is from The Elgin Hour (Elgin watches) and was broadcast live on ABC, Tuesday, March 8, 1955. It was written by Reginald Rose and directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Robert Preston and a very young John Cassavetes. The second program, “No Right to Kill,” was part of the Climax! series and was presented by the Chrysler Corporation. It is based on Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” and adapted for TV by Victor Wolfson. It was broadcast on CBS, Thursday, August 9, 1956. Nostalgia buffs will enjoy the original commercial messages that are included in the episode. Also included: a bonus blooper reel from the “Defenders” and “The Nurses” series. (120 minutes, B&W, 1955-1956, TV-PG)

Blu-ray Item: #9041 / UPC: 089859904127 / SRP: $29.95

DVD Item: #8821 / UPC: 089859904127 / SRP: $19.95


Volume Two contains 4-rare ‘Pilot’ episodes.

Pilot 1 – “Case of the Sure Thing” actors: Reed Hadley, Louise Currie, Milburn Stone
This introduced the series Racket Squad, which lasted for 3 seasons and was nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. An interesting side-note, reportedly, this program may have inspired parts of the Hollywood hit, “The Sting”. It was first broadcast on CBS, Thursday, June 7, 1951 and starred Reed Hadley as Captain Braddock, and was written by Arthur Orloff. Note: Contains original network commercials as originally broadcast on CBS.

Pilot 2 – “Cool and Lam” actors: Billy Pearson, Benay Venuta, Alison Hayes, Sheila Bromley
A light-hearted, detective yarn featuring characters first created by Erle Stanley Gardner. Bertha Cool runs a detective agency and Donald Lam is her junior partner, hence “Cool and Lam”. Directed by Jacques Tourneur!

Pilot 3 – “The Life of Riley” actors: Lon Chaney, Jr., Rosemary DeCamp, John Brown
A heretofore lost pilot which starred Lon Chaney, Jr. as Chester Riley! This stand-alone episode was produced in 1948 but by the time the first season went into full production in 1949, Chaney had been replaced by no less than Jackie Gleason!

Pilot 4 – “Nero Wolfe” actors: Kurt Kasznar, William Shatner, Alexander Scourby
Based on characters created by Rex Stout, is another one-off production. Kurt Kasznar is Nero Wolfe, with future mega-star, William Shatner co-starring. This is another “lost” pilot, presented here for the first time. (120 minutes / B&W / 1948, 51, 58, 59 / TV-G)

Included on the disc is a bonus CBS Blooper Reel hosted by James Arness.

Blu-ray Item: #9042 / UPC: 089859904226 / SRP: $29.95

DVD Item: #8822 / UPC: 089859882227 / SRP: $19.95

I Married Joan: Classic TV Collection Vol 4
The show centers on Joan, a scatterbrained housewife, and her husband, Bradley Stevens, who was a staid and settled domestic court judge. Beverly Wills, Joan Davis’ real-life daughter, also co-starred on the show playing the part of her sister. The show was cut from the same mold as the I LOVE LUCY series, with Joan Davis’ comedy antics derived from the physical school of humor. 10 episodes!

SKU: VCI8843
UPC: 089859884320
SRP: 19.95
Street Date: 10/09/18
Label: VCI Entertainment
Genre: Comedy
Language: English
Run Time: 260 mins

Boris Karloff – Boris Karloff Collection
A compilation of four rare films on 2 DVDs starring the master of horror, Boris Karloff. Alien Terror, Cult Of The Dead, Dance Of Death, Torture Zone

SKU: VCI8807
UPC: 089859880728
SRP: 19.95
Street Date: 09/11/18
Label: VCI Entertainment
Genre: Horror
Language: English
Run Time: 240 mins

Blood And Black Lace
A Fashion House of Glamorous Models… Becomes a Terror House of BLOOD!
Director Mario Bava’s Giallo Masterpiece! The black shadow of drug dealing falls upon a high-fashion salon when a beautiful model is murdered. Her boyfriend is suspected of the crime. He is an addict to whom the model was supplying dope, but is he guilty’

SKU: VCI9020
UPC: 089859902024
SRP: 29.95
Street Date: 10/23/18
Label: VCI Entertainment
Genre: Horror
Language: English
Run Time: 88 mins

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