Lost episode philosophy

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Lost episode philosophy

Post by retrography on Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:29 am

As discussed in "raging" here by DeXeSs, it is believed the Puttnam master tapes were wiped. This claim seems attributable to Doug Russell, or Rob Bryanton (still active in the TV industry and seems to still know George Alexander with Corner Gas).

"Lost episodes" aren't unique to Puttnam's, but a sad club. TVTropes maintains a list here, which includes many "wiped" shows-

The BBC is well known for wiping master tapes. A popularly cited example is that Terry Gilliam had to buy Monty Python's Flying Circus tapes from the BBC to preserve them (because tapes were valuable and reused); pre-Python shows by the Python stars were mostly lost.

Over time, VHS tapes lose their data. The tape itself degrades (exposed to heat, moisture, or light), and magnetic signals weaken. Even if tapes are found, someday it won't matter.

TV shows are a part of our culture. Tapes aren't expensive, and there are museums for archival. When we lose our culture, we lose our history and a part of ourselves forever. When such media is lost, it ends the way a person dies, except losing legacy as well as existence.

How many TV shows were produced in Regina in the 1980's? It's Canadiana. How did watching Puttnam's as an impressionable child affect who you are today? The Child Abuse, Careers, or Dating episodes could have changed your life, personality, or beliefs. But you'll never know if you never see it again. How much of your childhood is lost?

Much of the problem is copyright. Puttnum's Emporium has a copyright, and the Youtube videos probably violate it. I believe current term is the author's life plus 70 years, so the date we'll have a right to Puttnam's Emporium can't be calculated yet because the creators are alive, but let's guess 2030 as a reasonable lifespan for a 1980's adult, so we might have it in 2100. I can't plan on living that long. If Puttnam's isn't digitized, it'll die long before that. Particularly where the survival of media is in question, please ignore copyright; that statement potentially violates the forum's signup rules, and I apologize, but it is true.


I'm enjoying TV shows from the 90's. They're usually well preserved in DVD quality, and all episodes are available. These shows tend to be American, strictly stereotype minorities, have their own unique humour, and are often moralistic. They shaped me in interesting ways.

Puttnam's isn't terribly valuable. In fact, if someone erased the tapes, they may not have even considered selling DVDs because rebroadcasting the show could be unimaginable. When done by a professional (who isn't a fan), digitizing has a cost.

Yes, it's a low-budget kids show. Yeah, Regina wasn't a 1980's cultural mecca. Neighborhood kids did incredibly well but aren't believable actors. Mr. Puttnam wore a bathmat on his face. Still, the artistic work deserves respect, existence, and it matters. Or, it deserved respect and mattered.

If you have any episodes, digitize and release them. Contact people who might be able to recover the episodes.


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