Andy Griffith Show DVD travesty. I'M PISSED!

I purchased a 2 DVD set of 16 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show at Wal-Mart the other day (ordinarily I wouldn’t admit to having shopped at Wal-Mart, but I thought it might be relevant). For some reason, none of the episodes have the theme song at the beginning. The opening is the same, with Andy and Opie walking down the road and Opie throwing a rock into the lake, but there is just some hokey piece of music playing over it. The DVDs are copyright 2003 KRB Music Companies Inc., and are produced by Raintree Home Video.
What possible reason could they have had to chop out the theme song? I at first thought that maybe they couldn’t get the rights to it, but that doesn’t make sense. They (presumably) got the rights to release the episodes on DVD, and the music IN the episodes is normal, just no theme song at the beginning.

Funny how small stuff like tgat can piss you off eh?

It does sound like a rights issue. Probably either the writer or performer of the song denied them the right to use it or wanted too much money for it. So they omitted it.

That’s just wrong.

I know Griffith penned the tune himself (“The Old Fishin’ Hole”). Isn’t that him performing it over the titles?

By the way 3Much, is the music on the end credits? If it is I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t put it on the front as well.

You only paid $5.50 for the DVD’s…What do ya want?

One of the insanities of the US entertainment business is that music is more tightly controlled and charged for than video, despite the relative production and duplication costs. I’ve seen movies on DVD cheaper than the soundtrack CD for the movie.

This kind of crap is all over the place. Most rerun packages of “WKRP” have had the original songs replaced by “generic equivalents” since the rights are too expensive for low return reruns. Someday you’ll see a Simpsons episode with cheapo pop replacing Aerosmith and The Ramones.

Who wrote and performed the original doesn’t matter nearly as much as who owns the rights to it.

It’s our old pal Cap’n Public Domain, here to explain what happens when things lose their copyright.

Didn’t need them! These shows have entered the magical happyland called THE PUBLIC DOMAIN!

In the old days, copyrights expired a lot earlier than they do now. In fact, at the grocery store I work at, we’ve got a big wall o’ discount DVDs. Some of them are Canadian. The rest are public domain films, cartoons, and TV episodes.

The copyright holder of Andy Griffith at that time (don’t know who it was, it’s Viacom now) probably figured “there’ll be no need, let’s not renew the copyright,” so they withered away into the public domain. However, there’s still a copyright on The Fishin’ Hole (Sloane/Hagen/Spencer-not Griffith, *Torgo. ©1960 Larrabee Music). Public domain status doesn’t stop the copyright holder from creating new prints-or anyone from releasing the now-out-of-copyright work without getting sued (as long as they don’t use copyrighted music).

Now you know-and knowing is anywhere from one to 50 percent of the battle!

Hold on just one second there mobo!

Many of us on this board are quite familiar with how copyright works. I have a very, very hard time believing that the owners of the AGS did not take the trouble to renew their copyright.* After all, the show has probably been on the air somewhere in the US every day since it first hit sydication, so it’s not exactly some obscure dud gathering dust in a forgotten closet somewhere.

So with all due respect, I’m going to have to ask that you provide a cite for your assertion.

  • I state this knowing that the exec producer of the show was Sheldon Leonard, a graduate of Stuyvesant H.S., which means he was no slouch. [grinny face here]

You dive in the Wal-Mart $5.88/$5.50 DVD bin at your own risk. I’ve bought those AMC Monsterfest 4 movies on 2 DVDs collections with the usual public domain suspects like The Terror, Carnival of Souls, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, etc. on them. The image quality was even worse than I expected, and I had already lower those expectations as a seasoned burrower of cheap DVD bins.

I’ve seen Andy Griffith Show episodes with (probably) the same cheesy generic theme music on low-rent channels (like America One) that provide programming to small independent TV stations. I’ve seen black and white episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies and other classic and popular sitcoms also shown with the themes replaced. I was kind of curious if the ones for sale at Wally World would be like this, you confirmed my suspicions.

ANd WKRP reruns never seem quite the same with the replacement music. I have firm memories of the first song that Johnny played during the format change (although I don’t know the title) and the one played now is not it, just lacks the same musical punch.

They replaced Bono’s voice on the CD-release version of “The Garbageman.”

This was just a hypothesis. I have no idea why these episodes’ copyrights were not renewed.

This site lists and reviews DVD compilations of the 16 public domain Andys.

Thanks for the cite, mobo. I would have never believed it otherwise.

Wonder why they let season #3 slip out of copyright, and presumably not the rest of the episodes. There must be a story in there somewhere…

Probably a screw up. And some poor bastard is on the streets.

For works originally published in the U.S. 1923-1963, the first term of the copyright lasted 28 years. Formal renewal of the copyright was required to enjoy the full 75 years (now extended to 95 years) of protection. For works 1964-1977, renewal for a second term was automatic. (These terms pertain to corporate copyrights, not those of individuals.)

I don’t know why Viacom’s lawyers remembered the renew the copyrights on Seasons 1 and 2 but not 3. One possibility: When the date on which the copyright was registered is different than the date in the copyright notice of the work (i.e., what year appears onscreen in the credits), the earlier date applies for the purpose of determining the copyright term. Perhaps someone in Viacom’s legal department made a clerical error by recording the copyright registration date on their calendar of future renewals instead of the checking the year on the episdoes’ copyright notices.

Television series were often not registered for copyright until prints of the episodes were put into syndication, as broadcast alone does not constitute publication. Sometimes the copyright was not registered until many years after the episodes’ initial broadcasts. Common law copyright protected the episodes until they were “published” by syndication.

Umm, no. That would be Earle Hagen

I believe that’s also Hagen whistling the tune, but don’t have time to search for a cite. Also uncorroborated by cite is that, while the song is often referred to as “The Old Fishin’ Hole”, the actual name is “The Theme From The Andy Griffith Show”.


Okay, a couple of cites from the good folks at The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club


I was a bit off about the title.

I searched the TAGSRWC site and couldn’t find anything about the DVDs and the lack of original theme music.


Search using the word “copyright”:

By the way, I found more evidence to support my theory about how the copyrigts on the third season episodes expired. Not all the copyrights of the third season (1962-1963) expired — only those episodes that originally aired in 1963. The third season episodes that aired in 1962 are still under copyright.

I forgot to ask — 3Much, what do the copyright notices at the end of the episodes on the DVD say, Copyright 1962 or Copyright 1963?

Mother of god it would be nice if I was right about something just once. At least I can confidently assert that Mr. Griffith won many Tony awards for his portrayal of the bumbling Deputy Gomer Carter.