Monday, August 25, 2014

Holiday Interuptus!

HERE, at this post, I discussed my unexpected enjoyment of the first three episodes of the 1972 Hanna-Barbera animated series THE ROMAN HOLIDAYS on Warner Archives DVD. 

That continued into episode four, “Hero Sandwiched”, the plot of which could easily have passed muster as a FLINTSTONES or a JETSONS.  Gus Holiday becomes an “accidental hero”, and lets it go way-too-far to his head.  Loved the news headline of his meeting with the emperor: “Nero Meets Hero”! 

Brutus is having fun too!  "Laugh! Laugh! Guffaw, even!"

The fun continued into episode five, “Switch is Which”, in which the usual “sit-comedy-of-errors” finds Gus and wife Laurie forced to switch places in order to land a demanding  client for Gus’ boss “Mr. Tycoonius”. 

We’re moving right along, hitting all the familiar beats such a plot would offer, when Gus says something to daughter Precotia that would require a humorous pause before continuing.  Pause-performing Precotia plays her part perfectly, momentarily freezing in place but for an eye-blink or two for effect... 


Normally, I tend to take that last hour-or-so in the evening, after the wife has gone to bed, to enjoy something on DVD, on the big-screen living room TV, as a wind-down before retiring.  And, this night’s wind-down were these two episodes of THE ROMAN HOLIDAYS. 

Now, what this means is that I was TIRED at this point, and didn’t fully realize what had happened. 

Wait for it...

Sure, Precotia had done “the humorous pause thing” – a sure fire laugh getter since Jack Benny, who probably stole it from the REAL Romans – but, through that delightful haze that signals the onset of sleepy-time, I momentarily failed to realize that the disc had FROZEN. 

Could "Mister Freeze" be responsible for this?
And, that it had frozen in such a perfect spot – after the completion of a line of dialogue, and DURING the “pause reaction” that was expected to follow – that the disc-freeze failed to register perceptively, as quickly as it might otherwise have.   

MOVE, darn ya, MOVE!

As I stared at the screen waiting for the action to resume, my ACTUAL thought-reaction was: 
"I know this is a seventies-era Hanna-Barbera cartoon, but shouldn’t SOMEONE have MOVED by now?!”

THEN, it kicked-in!  I ejected the disc and retried it twice more before reaching the unpleasant conclusion that I’d have to return the ROMAN HOLIDAYS set for a replacement. 
Okay!  Something's WRONG, here!

And so, for THE ROMAN HOLIDAYS, “all roads lead [back] to”.  But, before sending Gus and the gang on their (Appian) way, since the issue was with Disc One, I binge-watched Disc Two! 

As Disc Two exhibited no issues, I will simply KEEP my present copy of that disc, and send the defective Disc One back with an unwatched Disc Two.   …No sense risking additional issues with a completely “unwatched” replacement set. 
Back ya go! 
After all, as THIS POST shows, the replacement isn’t always better than the original! 

Okay, Okay, Precotia... We get the gag!  Now, cut it out!
Anyone else do that, when returning a set with one defective disc?   Share that, and any other defective DVD stories you may have, with us in our Comments Section, and make me feel better about my delayed (Roman) Holiday!    

Or, as Brutus the Lion would say:  “Whimper!  Whimper!  Sob!  Sob!” 

...Uh-Oh!  She's back again! 

No, Really!  Stop! It's starting to get CREEPY, now! 
Go away!  Your empire fell!  You're dust!    


scarecrow33 said...

I share your frustration, Joe. The way you described it in detail makes it absolutely palpable. I know that pain and I know it well!

Fortunately, my copy of RH did not exhibit such a problem.

Bizarre that the freeze would occur just after delivery of a great one-liner.

I had a similar experience with "The Donna Reed Show" just as Jeff was about to make a momentous decision. He was walking away from the camera, pacing, when suddenly he stopped pacing and froze in position. At first I thought it was a dramatic pause, but after several seconds had passed, it dawned on me that he was NOT pausing dramatically, but that this moment in time was actually frozen. I don't always scream out loud at such times, but I always feel like screaming.

Then there was "Tarzan and the Leopard Woman" which got to the climactic moment when Tarzan arrived to rescue Jane and Boy from the minions of the Leopard Woman--and Tarzan started to slow down, and his speech got slurred, much more than Weissmuller's pidgin English could account for, and then he came to a dead standstill just before discovering Jane's whereabouts! AAARGH!

Fortunately, my local Barnes & Noble came to the rescue on both occasions. They actually had a 50% off sale on Season Three of the DRS, right around the time of my frustrating experience, and later they had the same Tarzan movie on an exact copy of the disc (different packaging, but the disc inside was identical to my defective one). Fortunately, both of these replacements played properly.

(I didn't send the discs back to be replaced because I didn't want to endure the long wait...I took a chance on B & N, and they had what I wanted both times!)

There are "skip fixers" and "freeze fixers" but they don't always work...and sometimes they even make the problem worse. One time I got lucky...the "freeze" was caused by a tiny piece of lint that had gotten stuck on the disc. One gentle blow of air and it cleared up the problem.

I hope the folks at Amazon can speedily resolve the issue.

And I hope you can soon resume your enjoyment of the "Roman Holidays!"

Joe Torcivia said...


I’m glad things worked out in both tales you relate.

Jeff’s dramatic pause, and your momentary reaction to it, sounds exactly like Precotia’s comedic one. And, yes… That critique of ‘70s H-B animation REALLY was my reaction, until fully comprehending what had happened.

Overall, I’ve been lucky in such instances, catching them within the “return / replacement window”. This past year it’s occurred with THE ROMAN HOLIDAYS, THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN SEASON ONE, and BUGS BUNNY SUPERSTAR (Oddly, one from each of my regular DVD sources; Amazon, Best Buy, and Warner Archives Direct, in that order.) but, fortunately, I discovered the flaws early-on and made exchanges. AMERICAN DAD VOLUME ONE also had a skip-issue that was remedied by applying a soft cloth to the disc – good thing too, because that one was beyond Best Buy’s return window.

Though, as time becomes more and more of a premium with me, the chances dramatically increase that I will discover more flaws beyond the window. Depending on what the show/movie is, and how severe the flaw, I’d probably just buy another copy as you did.

Beyond the ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS matter linked-to in the post, the oddest thing might have been with the VINCENT PRICE MGM SCREAM LEGENDS COLLECTION, mentioned in this post.

It was a five-disc standard-def set, containing seven exquisite Price horror films and one disc of special features. The first disc of the set was “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” (1971) and its sequel “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” (1971) – and I may not often say it, outside of the horror and sci-fi film appreciation class that I attend, but I LOVE Dr. Phibes!

And wouldn’t you know it, the Dr. Phibes disc – and ONLY the Dr. Phibes disc, out of the WHOLE set – would not play on my Blu-ray player. All the rest of them did, just fine. I returned my copy of the VINCENT PRICE MGM SCREAM LEGENDS COLLECTION to Amazon, for a replacement… and (can you see it coming?) the Dr. Phibes disc – and ONLY the Dr. Phibes disc, out of the WHOLE set AGAIN – would not play on my Blu-ray player.

So, I left it as-is, because I found it COULD play on my computer. Last year Shout! Factory released a VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION Blu-ray which included “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” (which plays perfectly) – and next month will release a VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION VOLUME TWO Blu-ray which will include “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” - so all things (eventually) come to he who waits!

Joe Torcivia said...

Correction. "Dr. Phibes Rises Again " was 1972.

Anonymous said...

"So! All together now?... Well, then! Shyster... Squinch... Emil... Weasel, whatsyername... Rhymin' Man, stop arguin' with thuh mirror an' pay attention!... Everyone! It's time I told you swabs how I really lost me leg! It was—"


Joe Torcivia said...

Um, swell… I guess disc-freeze can occur at all sorts of inopportune moments, Pete / “Anonymous David”! :-)