WAAAY back in April, 2003 we had a (very!) brief report
that The Dean Martin Show
, his classic variety program, was available on DVD on a subscription basis from Guthy-Renker. Now, if you visit the DeanVariety site where this was previously handled, it now tells you "We're sorry, this product is currently unavailable.
The folks at trade magazine Video Business
have the details
about why this item - available as late as this past July - has been withdrawn from sale. According to the story, including updates added after it was originally posted, NBC Universal has filed with U.S. District Court a lawsuit against Guthy-Renker Corp., Greg Garrison Productions, Ronald L. Blanc, Black Horse Television Enterprises and Barrump-Bump Publishing Co.; the charges allege that the DVDs were produced because of Greg Garrison Productions selling Guthy-Renker rights that Garrison did not actually have, and which in fact belong to NBC:
The show ended in 1976. Three years later, the producer on the show, Greg Garrison, proposed to NBC that Garrison purchase all 235 episodes but ultimately did not go through with the purchase. Garrison later purchased 26 episodes. In 2002, Garrison Products entered into an agreement with Guthy-Renker for the distribution of The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show, which included "substantial portions of the NBCU copyrighted works."
The lawsuit came about because NBC Universal was considering their own DVD release of the show, and in doing so had become aware that thousands of Guthy-Renker DVDs for the program were sold during the last 4+ years.
The lawsuit's existance was originally discovered, and the news broken exclusively, by fan site TheGolddiggers.Wordpress.com. That site was named for Dean Martin's female co-stars on the show, who were later spun off into their own series called Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers
. The Golddiggers were also later renamed as "The Dingaling Sisters," so you might have heard of them under that moniker. The fan site that broke the scoop is working on a more in-depth story about the property rights, hopefully to be published before the week is over.
Stay tuned and we'll keep you updated on this situation as appropriate.