I assume Nick gets a cut of the profits from this DVD set. Would it not be possible to "hold out" until they agree to provide uncut episodes and better cover art?... or do they not care about the profits this DVD set would generate? I would hope they'd give in eventually...
Sorry about the unnecessary headaches caused by us nosy fans, Brian. But thank you for clarifying the circumstances surrounding the DVDs. If nothing else, I'm glad it's been established the door is open should Joe want to participate in future volumes.
Mr. Ward, I need to know; will Leap Frogs be on the set or will it be Wallaby on Wheels?
This is fairly accurate. However, in fairness to Brian Blum, a new interview was going to be requested, as several volumes of the show is planned. The conversation ended before that request could be made.
We'd still love to have him on board. This is a show we all believe deserves bonus materials and certainly have no desire to stop at the YouTube videos. I've seen Brian's list of potential features over the course of the volumes. This obviously was not made clear in the email chain to Mr. Murray.
So now that it's cleared up, with both sides agreeing on the conversation that took place, can we put it to bed? Can't help but feel like this conversation has put a bit of a bad taste in the mouths of Shout! and Mr. Murray. Again, if this isn't true, we'd love him to be a part of the subsequent releases.
Joe put everything to bed here. Us fans probably shouldn't bother him about it any more.
'' Shout did contact me to ask me if I would allow them to put the You Tube videos I made showing me drawing Rocko, Heffer and Filburt on the upcoming DVD. They made no mention or request for additional interviews, commentaries or any other involvement, just asking if they could use the videos that I already produced a couple of years ago. ( I too have the string of emails supporting this.) I said I would be interested, but I would also like the opportunity to work with them on the cover design and other aspects of the DVD. They said their “hands were tied” and no that was not possible. Meaning, that , Nickelodeon had already dictated the terms of their contract I’m sure. But that was the extent of what they asked for. Just the You Tube videos.''
So Joe did try to get involved in the Rocko release, right down to giving us fans better cover artwork. Brian i respect the fact that you're in a big bussiness deal with Nickelodeon and don't want to throw them under the bus, but they did screw us fans here. Honestly, why would Mr. Murray want to participate in something like this? Just to give up 3- 3 year old youtube videos? Yes they are quite cool, but that was the extent of his participation?
Pretty damn lousy, i don't blame him for not wanting to be apart of this release. Im suprised he hasn't used a couple choice words for Nickelodeon, guess he's just a true professional. Better guy than me haha.
So bottom line, Joe was offered next to nothing decent to do in this release and was more than willing to make this a GREAT Rocko set for all us but Nickelodeon would not let him get involved. Nickelodeon no matter how you look at it, did block Joe!
Again, i don't blame Brian for not throwing Nickelodeon under the bus. Thats his job and i respect that. But the truth is, Nickelodeon is 100 percent to blame here.
At the very least, is there any chance of us seeing Season 2 out before year's end (if Season 1 does well)? They have some of it on iTunes, but it's incompleteness is frustrating with a Captial F. Or some kind of "Complete" set a la Transformers and Larry Sanders?
As much as I really would've loved to see the uncut versions of scenes, I'd much rather have a slightly edited version than none at all. And as long as this release has at least some extras and the complete first season (sans the cut scene), I'm still gonna pick it up. I'm 17 and My Friends and I are really gonna get a kick outta watching one of our favorite childhood shows. Thanks again Shout! for getting such a classic show.
Joe Murray's journal: "Rocko DVD Craziness" - http://joemurraystudio.com/blog/?p=2805
It seems like a big misunderstanding between you all. Regardless - Joe is a great person. Your team should try again to work with him in the next round.
----- Original Post -----
by B Ward at 4/29/2011 4:46:31 PM
Guys, stop. There has been no covert operation, where Nickelodeon contacted Joe and told him he couldn't participate. Stop. That's just not how it works.
Nickelodeon doesn't care if we have an interview with Joe Murray. They get final approval over anything the cut says anyway. So what difference does it make to them? And we're bound to packaging art, per our contract, so there was nothing we could get from Mr. Murray himself. We'd have loved it. Loved it! After all, we had Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell do not one, but three original pieces of art for the Sam & Max set. But we couldn't make it work in this case. Does that mean it can't work in the future, on subsequent volumes? I dunno. We might be able to!
I'm only asking that you not point fingers and take up arms. Don't take sides when you've not even heard ONE side of the argument, let alone both. Nickelodeon is not evil. Shout! Factory is not evil. Joe Murray is not evil. No one contacted anyone telling them they're not allowed to discuss a TV series that was created 15 years ago. Everyone has the right to refuse to participate, no matter what the reason. How does the prodding help matters?
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I don't think anyone is evil - I think that there are miscommunications between the business people. I mean - you have people from different points of view - there will always be some miscommunication. You guys (at Shout), I think, are doing your best to appease everyone - I just wish I could do something to help resolve the issue because I'm sure that the DVDs would sell better anyway if Joe Murray was involved. It's just a real disappointment. I was also serious - if you ever are able to put out an uncut version with JM - I'd buy the duplicate!
ILDC! You're right - I bet that's the situation - NICK is running the show and probably doesn't want Joe Murray to participate. Brian - maybe you guys should ask Joe and Nick about that and see if you can resolve that. You guys can do wonders!!! Maybe Nickelodeon wants to rake in the cash and have a second release that is unedited with Joe Murray. I would buy it - even though I have this one - one for the kids/one for the adults!
BTW - I have several Shout releases - so I know you guys do a great job. I even thought that maybe you could add some of Joe's new stuff or his indie work because I saw that you had an indie film on the Home Movies release (which I have all of the seasone - highly recommended). I really hope you redesign the cover and don't use that amazon DVD-R artwork - it doesn't even look like Rocko and the group.
I just find it odd that Murray said on his site Nick blocked him from participating, while Shout! says he was asked and declined. But I know it's none of my business. I still love you guys.
I won't go into why he decided not to participate.
As for the cut scenes, it's really not our decision to make. Whenever we approach a licensor going into a project, we always ask for original, uncut masters. In this case, we were handed what we've got to use and told these were the masters that were approved for use and that no others were available to us.
Again, can't go any further into those behind-the-scenes goings on.
We'd love to have him aboard.
That's AWESOME that he is not restricted! I'm sure it was some miscommunication. I will post on his blog about this - maybe this will get the ball rolling for Joe Murray to be part of the next season!
Melba, I'm neither comfortable with nor particularly interested in revealing those kinds of behind-the-scenes dealings. I can only say Mr. Murray declined and he was in no way restricted. We don't do that. But he was asked to participate.
Any Joe Murray fan knows that he wants to be involved with the Rocko release. Did he actually say NO to doing interviews and commentaries? I highly doubt it. It sounds like there is some miscommunication between everyone involved. I have been following Joe's blog for a long time and he has been waiting for a Rocko release FOREVER. He has said before that Rocko is like his child – I’m sure he wants to be involved.
The only thing I can think of is that his involvement was restricted and he was NOT allowed to do interviews and commentaries and add his own input on the release. If that is the case, it is very sad. Joe CREATED the show - he needs to be a part of the DVD release.
What did Joe say "No" to?
Brian, do you if anyone who worked on the show besides Murray is involved with the set? I know an earlier post of yours implied "no", but I just want to make sure.
No worries. I enjoy stopping by.
As for cuts, I can't say, honestly. Not because I've signed some kind of NDA or something, but because I don't know. Cultures shift daily. Clearly, if Nick Canada is airing them, someone at some part of Paramount/Nick thinks they're okay. Tomorrow, that person might find themselves in charge of a US release.
So my fingers are crossed that Rocko's Modern Life will one day make it to DVD or better with all of its parts in tact and participation by its creator. Until then, I've been laughing a lot at this set. It's definitely holding me over and it's not even my project.
I think its really cool that you came in here and let us know what was up and the state of the game. You obviously know 1000x more than we do about how things work in television and the climate today. Not many dvd producers drop by their respective forums to discuss these shows and details regarding their releases.
I guess the last lingering question regarding Rocko,
Is Nickelodeon being lazy by not giving you guys these masters, or are these 3 scenes really banned forever because of content.
Not something you can answer, obviously.
I'm not arguing. In fact, I agree 100%. I believe what this comes down to is a network identity disconnect. Rocko's Modern Life probably shouldn't have been at Nickelodeon. But since it was, it has to adhere to the Nickelodeon brand of today.
If you ever have any free time and want to hear some good stories on Rocko, here is an interview Joe did recently.
He really breaks down Rocko and its intended audience etc.
Ok again, all of your points are very valid and im sure factual.
But it really sucks that when shows like Rocko and Ren and Stimpy get dvd releases, that they have to be aimed at kids in this first place. Rugrats, Hey Arnold, and so on are very kid friendly. Plent of family friendly Nickelodeon to go around.
I believe Rocko is a different monster and should be treated as such. If Rocko was on today, it would be during the Adult Swim block on CN afterall.
Everyone acts as if the power at Nickelodeon hasn't shifted since its inception. Those in power today are not the same that were in power when Rocko's Modern Life first aired. To ask why something was appropriate enough for them then, but isn't for them now, you have to realize that you're not referring to the same "them." And you're not referring to the same television climate. While adult programming has pushed the boundaries, childrens programming has taken a step back in its progressiveness. We're talking about a series of years, where the FCC gets increasingly bombarded by complaints by the Parents Television Council. So, I'm in no way surprised that what was said then isn't necessarily deemed appropriate today. I don't like it. I'm personally of the opinion that if you don't like it, turn it off. But I get the reasoning and, ultimately, it's not up to me.
Simply playing Devil's Advocate for the sake of proving a point here...
CBS does not share the same opinion of what's appropriate now as they did when they aired the Amos & Andy TV series in the early '50s. Now, I realize Rocko was never in blackface, but the principle is the same. What was deemed appropriate by those in power then doen't absolutely reflect what those at Nickelodeon belief is appropriate today.
While I'm not blaming Shout! for this, the Rocko release is no longer a must-buy for me. I'll probably get it if I happen to find the right price for it at the right time.
I have nothing else to say at this point, i believe ya. But i do want to point out that i was never questioning Shout!'s integrity in the first place. The reputation you guys have for delivering quality dvds is excellent and im well aware of it. Plenty of things i will be buying from you guys this year alone.
That said, i stand by whatever i said about Nickelodeon :)
I take it that Murray at first wanted to be involved, but then decided he didn't want to be under Nick's thumb. The Invader Zim Media Blasters commentary tracks were apparently censored by them.
On the topic of cut scenes, I don't see why Nick and Shout! can't have both the edited and unedited episodes, with a disclaimer before the unedited ones. Even Disney has done this.
Just read Mr. Murray's entry, dated April 11. Wow.
I have a chain of emails between set producer Brian Blum and Mr. Murray in front of me now that make it clear that we wanted his involvement. To suggest otherwise is absolutely untrue. Mr. Murray declined to participate for reasons it's not prudent to go into on a public forum.
But to suggest that we made it "clear" that we didn't want his participation is not only untrue, but highly uncharacteristic of Shout! Factory, who I believe has made it amply clear over the years that we prefer the show creators steer the ship whenever possible.
I apologize if i am the one who came across as bashing you guys at Shout!
That said, Rocko is my all time favorite animated series and alot of those cut scenes we're hilarious and their removal really irritated me 10+ years ago. So finding out the dvds would have this was really disapointing
Y'know, Brian, sometimes I think ignorance is bliss.
Personally, it isn't the little bit of edited material that I probably won't even notice is missing that pisses me off... it's the fact that it's edited that I don't like.
I mean, I don't think that the Rocko set is going to be edited to the extent of, say, the WKRP set from a few years ago, where large chunks of the program is missing. The edits will probably be small and unnoticeable. But, I know that it's edited, and I hate the idea of edited shows making it to DVD or being the version of record, as it were.
And, contrary to what I said earlier, I'll probably still buy that first set the day it comes out. But I hate edited shows.
Now, if it wasn't for the internet, I'd never know about which shows were edited, or syndication versions, or anything like that. So, like I said, ignorance is bliss.
Sad to know the episodes will be edited, I had hoped that they would be uncut.
Ballz, my comment wasn't actually aimed at you. No worries. Thanks!
You have to understand. It doesn't matter who the original audience was. Nickelodeon is a family brand. So they're not really allowed to age with their audiences. While producing titles that parents can enjoy, they're not worried about adults picking up the DVDs for themselves. They're most interested in entertaining children and, frankly, avoiding angry mail and phone calls from those not as mature as those of us able to handle a little innuendo.
I think one of the biggest problems with nostalgic fandom today is the assumption that a company or studio's personality has to change as we do. While this might work for writers like J.K. Rowling, whose writing increases in reading level with every Harry Potter novel, it doesn't work for animated series and/or movies. They can create something that palatable for adults, but their focus will always be on children. And no matter how old and responsible we get, their sites will always be focused on the little ones.
While I don't like changes like this made, I can't begrudge a studio for doing it. It is, after all, their property. And maybe the audiences should be given the chance to decide which versions they want to see. But I can also say that the majority of these consumers aren't necessarily aware of these edits. They don't hang out on forums. They don't discuss with others, at great length, about the release of their favorite show on DVD and/or Blu-ray. They see it in a store or online and think, "wow. I loved this show growing up. My kid's gonna love it, too." And they buy it. And they show it to their children. And their children love it. And everyone is happy.
So I get the complaints. But I don't think it's a reason to refuse ownership of a favorite series. Were these short lines of dialogue the only reasons you enjoyed the show in the first place? Doubtful. And sometimes, unfortunately, compromises have to be made in order to get your favorites to you.
I'm willing to sit back and laugh along with the series, telling everyone around me the trivia of "the original cut." Are you?
Just a thought.
I certainly don't think that, Brian, and I apologize if I came off that way in my posting. The fact that Shout often does go out of its way to give the fans the best possible product is proof enough that if they don't include something in a set (like unedited scenes in Rocko), it was something that was simply out of their control.
I am a bit disappointed that the Rocko DVDs will be censored, but the disappointment certainly isn't directed at you guys, Brian. Based on your past product, I am confident you guys did everything you possibly could.
I think the reasonable folks amongst us realize that it's far from Shout's fault--it's Nickelodeon's.
After all of these years, it's just frustrating that this BS re: cuts is still in effect. The only people who even know who Rocko is are at least old enough to vote, if not drink legally. We can handle a little innuendo.
So, my understanding is that when something doesn't make it onto the sets, it's because Shout! has dropped the ball. It can't be because people who've been asked to participate sadly, but kindly declined. It can't be because we're not allowed access to unedited tapes of the few episodes that were actually cut. But somehow or another, even though we've had a pretty great reputation for doing due diligence, it must be because we're not putting the effort in.
It really stinks because now i'll be passing up on this set. Nick Canada has masters of the unedited episodes minus road rash i believe. Its also terrible that these won't have the involvement of Joe Murray and im sure will be bare bones in terms of extras. I wish they would give Nick Canada a call.
. Looks like it will just be the Amazon sets rereleased on traditional dvds, i was hoping for something bigger than that.
Will the Leap Frogs episode be included at least?
So, edited, eh?
Well, that just dropped Rocko from "must buy" to "maybe buy one day when I have more money than sense".
Bummer. I was looking forward to this.
It just seems wrong when companies edit their shows like this, what next will museums start editing art to be more appropriate for todays audience. If these scenes were so terrible one would wonder why the network aired them in the first place (sorry kids your parents could handle this when they were kids but you can't). You would think they could just put a warning on the dvd's instead of editing them If they have a problem with them. It's odd to me when there's news stories that make a big deal about other countries editing programs or banning them and yet we do the same thing here.
Someone posted that email response to Joe's blog, and he responded with this:
I’ll have to officially contradict the Shout response John. I’m not sure where they are getting their information. The uncut episodes ran in their original form over and over again from 1993 to 1996. They were not edited until I left the building. It may have been done when they edited them for syndication packages, which all have to adhere to a certain consistent length.
Yes, it’s a shame they are not available. I believe I have some 3/4 inch tapes of all the episodes uncut, but don’t have a 3/4 video machine any longer. Someday maybe I’ll put something out.
On a similar note, I am in not way wanting to take a position of a victim here. I am far from it. I am a volunteer in this game, and we did some great episodes on Nickelodeons dime. For that I am extremely grateful.
Hopefully Shout will dig a little deeper, maybe get in touch with Nick Canada and try and get something done. They've gone the extra mile before, maybe if we keep (politely!) bugging them about this, they'll pull through with getting it right.
Son of a _. If this is true, I'm just sticking with my bootlegs.
At least Hey, Dude should be intact. Pre-ordered that one, too.
I think Nick US just wants to keep their family-friendly image, despite retaining plenty of other questionable scenes.
Well, THIS isn't encouraging: Some shot an e-mail to Shout about this topic and got this:
Thanks for the inquiry!
A Few scenes were cut by network censors following the first airing.
Since then, the original uncut masters have never been used by nickelodeon and are unfortunately unavailable to us.
Hope that helps,
I must reiterate. Nickelodeon Canada's broadcast master of the only censored episode in Season 1 (The Good, the Bad and the Wallaby) is uncut. Is there some sort of weird or Byzantine legal stipulation in Shout's contract with Nick US that would preclude asking Nick Canada for a copy of their master to digitize?
I really hope the scene with Heff getting milked stays!
I knew reusing the Amazon DVD-R artwork meant something.
I'm not feeling too optimistic about it right now, especially since the press release made no mention of it whatsoever.
On top of that, Joe Murray (the guy who created Rocko) says Nickelodeon is blocking him from participating in this release:
Shout Factory does normally have a fantastic track record with these sorts of things, but if Nickelodeon doesn't play along, I don't think there's but so much they can do.
TVshowsondvd.com announced the official press release for Rocko's Modern Life Season 1 today:
There was no mention in the press release about the episodes being uncut. Brian, can you chime in and inform us whether the uncut episodes are still something being explored for the set? Thanks in advance!
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