So are you saying that - in respect of the 104 episodes - there is no certainty as to whether what the BBC aired in the UK were episodes that had voices dubbed in the UK by the BBC itself.
Well, yes. There is work being done to try and research things like this, but as has been said, the epsiodes shown by the BBC didn't have any credits, and neither did the Radio Times
listings, so it is difficult to say now what exactly was screened.
Or were the episodes prepared in the USA for US TV.
It's entirely possible, or it could just have been that they got given an English dub in the U.S. for any market.
There were plenty of them in the 60s. cf Batman episodes etc.
We have found out that the voice-cast for the U.S. consisted of Dallas McKinnon as Tintin (at least some of the time), Paul Frees (see Rocky's post) as mostly everybody else and the narrator, and perhaps Larry Harmon himself as possibly some Tintin duties and additional voices. McKinnon and Frees were veteran voice actors, often called upon to do British and other foreign accents, so they would certainly have had it covered.
Given this - and given that it would have been a lot of fiddling about for what in BBC terms was just a 5 minute kiddie item filling up a short space - is it possible that what the BBC broadcast of those 104 episodes were actually the AMERICAN produced episodes?
Yes, entirely possible, but the jury is still out without evidence. I can't see that the BBC was particularly bothered by the dubbing process, or dismissive of the content of this and other children's programming slots: far more dubbed content appeared then than now, and they went to the bother of commissioning entirely new stories and soundtracks for The Magic Roundabout
, The Flashing Blade
, The Aeronauts
etc., that Tintin would have been relatively trivial to take care of. However, if an English version was already available, they might have used it.
The BBC was notorious for wiping its video tape content in the 60s of what it considered ephemeral pop culture flotsam. Whereas the US TV companies routinely retained vast amounts of content for the purposes of repeats in syndication.
I know it's a common view of the BBC, but it is a little unfair.
When the BBC TV was set up, there was no means of recording what it produced, so no provision was considered for it to preserve material; it thus had no right to spend money on archiving, as the charter it worked to didn't include it.
When the facilities came to record output, it did start to do so, but it was very limited in what it was allowed to do; Equity prevented it from repeating material well into the Fifties (recordings were to be for in-house review only
), and when Equity did relent, they only sanctioned a very small number of hours of repeats per channel per year. Furthermore, as late as the 80s, any performer could veto a U.K. repeat.
Rights also lapsed if/ when someone else gained them - so a movie being made of an in-copyright book which the BBC had previously adapted meant the BBC had to destroy its version if still held by them, or at least remove it from any sort of release. The Peter Cushing version of Orwell's 1984
was denied any sort of showing for many years, thanks to the American movie of the Fifties (it actually only survived by accident, as it was marked for destruction, then mislaid, and rediscovered some years later).
When certain rights to the Fifties film expired, a new window of opportunity opened, and the play was later shown on BBC TV as part of an anniversary celebration, and slated for home-video release. But that
was thwarted when the John Hurt vehicle came out, and the Cushing play was withdrawn again
Some material was sold abroad, but as the vast majority of what the BBC could hold was virtually unusable, funding the constant growth of the archive took money away from new productions, which sadly led to junkings.
This was fairly wide ranging, not a purge of pop-culture: classic serials, drama and comedy suffered, as did current affairs (famously the Moon landing coverage went).
They also had to economize on materials such as video tape, which was extremely costly, and had to be reused (the Moon landing coverage actually went in favour of recording the Milk Cup Final).
Bought in series such as Tintin, and the foreign productions listed above, mostly never belonged to the BBC, and the terms of their "rental" agreement will almost certainly have insisted that they didn't
keep copies beyond their allotted term.
We're fortunate that accidents (as mentioned above) sometimes did
happen, as it was through one such oversight that the BBC retained a unique print of Tintin and the Golden Fleece
, in its English dub, which was discovered in a batch of material sent to the BFI, making it available for a screening at the NFT in London.
So I too would love to have a complete run of Doctor Who
, but if it had meant that they couldn't afford to make it now because the money was going on preserving the early stuff, I'm not sure what my answer would be. And every time an Equity actor moans about the BBC having got rid of material, they should be reminded that if they were so worried about it, why did Equity render the material unusable, and by not offering to pay for archiving? But I digress... ;-)
Is it possible that (and has it been explored) that all the episodes produced and aired in the US probably exist in America. And could thus receive the same process that yielded the "Calculus Affair/Case" self-contained film?
But that's what we do have - the Belvision cartoons have all been released, in English, in "movie" form, in the version with the American sound-track. This includes the Harmon Moon
episodes. What we are waiting for (and may never get) is a DVD release of the same.
Does that include voices that we Brits recall as being voiced by British actors? eg Haddock and Thompsons?
To be honest, I wouldn't be prepared to say that I ever thought they sounded particularly British, if I was bothered to make a guess (which as a child in the Sixties I probably would never have thought to).
Actually, it is probably better put the other way round: if listening to the VHS tapes I have today, I couldn't say that they weren't exactly as I recalled the voices sounding from when I was small.
Is there at least a list of the titles of the various Belvision VHS releases (and respective labels) to provide some clues for those who are searching?
It certainly would be useful, but I know of no such resource; I'd imagine that this is partly because without access to a central source (whoever, or whatever, controls the international licensing of the cartoons), it would be hard to get names and dates for all of the releases. Also, unlike with Beatles recordings, there doesn't seem to be any great difference between releases, or particular interest in being completist about it.
Personally, I just looked for tapes, and bought them as I came upon them. Practically this is all I have needed: Black Island
on Lollipop and Black Island
on Virgin VHS is probably going to be close enough to the same thing, and most people only really want the story.
However, I can see that there is a home for such information here, and I have already spoken to Harrock n Roll about a need to overhaul the animation section of our guides, so perhaps we could use this as an appeal for help, to get it started here.
If anyone has information on the following, could they please e-mail me at the following e-mail address: simon<remove this>@<remove this>tintinologist.org
- Belvision epsiodes recorded off-air, and their source (date, country and station)
- Belvision episodes on pre-recorded video (format(VHS/ Betamax etc.), date (if known), country, label, catalogue numbers etc.)
- Nelvana episodes on pre-recorded video (format(VHS/ Betamax etc.), date (if known), country, label, catalogue numbers etc.)
Once any results come in, I'll try and compile a picture of what went on, and came out where, and we'll have a firmer basis to get the data out there for everyone!
the script PDF included on the disc is a complete episodic script, with all the narrator's intros, episode titles and cliffhanger summations! Fantastic!
Yes, isn't it? I was checking it out again last night, and it's a real gem!
Oh, and thanks for the memory jog on the Paul Frees connection, Rocky!