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The Fugitive - Fugitive Music Rescoring Issue Stirs Up Variety Story, Theory

No confirmation from the studio, however, nor any word yet on what to expect for the future

Posted by David Lambert
Earlier this month CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment released The Fugitive - Season 2, Volume 1 on DVD, and almost immediately there was an outcry from fans of the show. The studio had replaced the familiar underscore (background music) in these episodes with new compositions, and even gone so far as to alter the end credits of each episode to reflect these changes.

That release came out on June 10th, and before a week had passed we posted an editorial by TVShowsOnDVD's founder and webmaster, Gord Lacey, criticizing the situation. CBS sent out their response the next day, but it didn't settle the matter at all. Fans were actually more upset, with many coming to the general conclusion that the studio didn't think the matter through very well at all.

Also left unexplained, at least so far, is whether A) the matter will be corrected for The Fugitive - Season 2, Volume 1, with some sort of fix/upgrade being made available to customers in the future; B) what will happen with future DVD releases of The Fugitive (if they were produced at all, would they be musically correct, and would fans get them even if they were unless Season 2, Vol. 1 was corrected?); and C) what about other TV-DVD releases from CBS/Paramount: how can fans know whether this procedure was used on other upcoming collections?

For those fans, it will interest you to know that the issue has drawn further attention within the entertainment industry. Variety has posted a story on the matter earlier this week, titled "CBS Par can't escape 'Fugitive' burn." In turn, the story there (written by Jon Burlingame, and which quotes Gord Lacey further) has been picked up by home video trade magazine Video Business, as well as by other news services such as MSN.

The Variety story goes over some of the issues involved with why music gets replaced at all for these releases (if that aspect happens to be new to you, then this proves to be a good read to explain it). For Fugitive fans, though, it offers one possible new clue about what happened with this release:
    ..."The Fugitive" was not scored like most shows. Music editor Ken Wilhoit drew not only on [composer Pete] Rugolo's library of "Fugitive"-specific music but on other libraries, primarily the CBS Music Library...

    ...Sources suggested that the occasional use of music from the now-defunct Capitol Music Library was problematic and that confusion existed about which music was Capitol's and which belonged to CBS. Rather than guess, they replaced it all, including Rugolo's music, which often opened and closed acts and helped give the Quinn Martin-produced series musical consistency.

    CBS Par execs refused to answer specific questions about the decision.
Without the studio management confirming the above-quoted theory, it casts doubt on whether we'll know for sure, or for that matter whether we'll see a fix. We know it's not a "dead matter," though, so we're keeping our eyes and ears open for any updates to the situation. Stay tuned and we'll let you know if anything more comes along!

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