Sign the petition to get more Cagney & Lacey on DVD

It took producer Barney Rosenzweig years to convince MGM to release a single season of Cagney & Lacey. They said they would release additional seasons if this one did well, so they released it without any marketing (way to avoid additional work!). That was nearly two years ago.

A few months ago, Yonmei at Feminist SF – The Blog! asked me who to write to get more seasons of Cagney & Lacey on DVD. I called MGM and asked who I should talk to about this. The receptionist had no idea and forwarded me to the Public Relations department. They told me to call a woman at Fox. I did; she never returned my call. I called MGM back and, on a hunch, asked for “Distribution.” I was given the email address of someone I could write to to find out who to write to. She never responded.

Looks like they thought we’d go away. Yonmei had a better idea. Enter the “Yes, we want Cagney & Lacey DVDs” online petition. Go sign it, and tell all your friends! (And for the record, Yonmei did all the work on the petition, so a big thanks to her for that hard work!)

And after you’re done, ponder this: if there’s no demand for this series, why can you buy a crap quality bootleg copy of the entire series, including the Loretta Swit and Meg Foster episodes that MGM ignored, for just under $100?

When Rosenzweig asked MGM what the big holdup was, why did they give him a completely unbelievable excuse about being unable to secure music rights (I think they borrowed this one straight from Fox on WKRP, for whom music rights actually were a problem):

It seems that in the two plus years that I have been working to get this series out in DVD for our anniversary, the part-time business affairs execs at MGM had neglected to clear all music rights for such a release. Everything, they said, would have to go on hold until they could get their act together.

I offered help. After all, I supervised every music cue in our series. I know that there are only a few pieces that were not “music for hire” that were offered up as “source” material (Cagney listening to Wagner on her stereo for instance). We were not like Miami Vice with a lot of licensing of famous then-current music offerings. Surely this was something that could easily be fixed. A stonewall from MGM was the response. I might scream about “detrimental reliance,” and all the other problems they were causing me, I might point out that I am a “partner” on the project and have a right to be consulted on such matters, but the bottom line has been no cooperation and noncompliance with my contractual rights. You think I am pissed?

Those of you who remember how Rosenzweig fought when Cagney & Lacey was canceled the first two times may note the irony that 30 years later, the same players are fighting the same battle.

Naturally, MGM doesn’t have direct email contact information for us peons [they added this later], but if you want to go beyond the petition you could try emailing their online store in hopes they make a note of what customers are asking for. You can also write them a real letter or call them:

MGM Studios
10250 Constellation Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA. 90067
310-449-3000

If you’re outside the US and don’t want to pay postage, scan a letter and email it to me at cl@thehathorlegacy.com and I’ll mail it for you.

It may also be worth your time to leave comments on Rosenzweig’s blog. This entry already contains requests for more seasons to be released soon.

But whatever you do, please sign the petition! Link to it on your own sites. Bookmark this post and Yonmei’s post for updates.

Comments

  1. Genevieve says

    I signed…I was a bit too young to see the series when it was first on TV, so having DVDs out would be a great way to familiarize myself with what apparently is one of the most feminist shows ever.

  2. L. Lang says

    Cagney & Lacey was and is my all time favorite show. I taped all the shows and watched them over and over again. The tapes were beginning to wear out. All the C&L fans had to wait for years for Season 1 to come out on DVD. Please don’t make us wait anymore for the rest of the Seasons..

  3. Melissa Parker says

    I am part of a C&L group at Yahoo and we started a petition about the DVD release several years ago – we have 1,218 signatures so far – http://www.petitiononline.com/candl14/petition.html

    Letters to the PTB are the best way to let them know you are interested in the DVD release.

    Barney Rosenzweig owns the rights to the four movies and he is preparing them for release as we speak.

  4. says

    Melissa Parker, we should look into combining our efforts somehow. Two questions:

    (1) According to BR’s blog, the movies were to be released quite a few months ago. They weren’t, and his blog has gone silent on the subject. I suspect he’s no longer “preparing them for release” but being stonewalled once again. He may own the rights, but unless he wants to pay for printing copies, distributing them and marketing them himself, he still needs MGM’s cooperation, which I doubt is forthcoming.

    (2) When you say letters to PTB, who do you mean? MGM stonewalled my requests to find out to whom such letters should be addressed. If you just mail it to them without a person’s name, they’re going to throw them away at the front desk. Could you be more specific in your advice here?

    Thanks!

  5. Melissa Parker says

    I don’t have an actual release date, but they are preparing the “extras” secton for the DVDs of the 4 movies now.
    The release is forthcoming. He is also working on getting “The Trials of Rosie O’Neill” out.

    Sorry my statement about the PTB was confusing. What I meant was that generally petitions do not work in these instances, letters are much better. But, I don’t think either would be helpful here. Right now FOX owns the license to distribute. We are at the mercy of managers, basically, ones who don’t really care or know who the blonde one was or who the brunette was. All they want to do is to be assured that they make a lot of money from it….and there’s the other problem.

  6. says

    Ah, okay. Thanks for the clarification!

    I do think there’s plenty of money to make on these. Many people have posted on forums about buying the bootleg copies out of desperation. If you’d spend $100 on bootleg copies, what would you spend on the real deal? Many MORE people say they would’ve bought the bootleg copies at the price they were being offered, except they realized that cheats the cast & crew out of residuals (but my point is, this indicates the interest is there).

  7. David says

    I,too, have been dying for more seasons of C & L. I finally got fed up enough to pay for the “unauthorized” edition on a website. I was very happy with my purchase- $30 for all 125 episodes and the 4 tv movies. The transfer is very professional and everything is intact and awesome. My point is that I would have gladly paid Universal for the official release if they would have put it out. Thier indifference caused me to get it the only way I could and it is their loss. I’m just thrilled to have the complete C & L in my dvd library to view anytime I want!

  8. says

    I just LOVE Cagney and Lacey and Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly! I want to do whatever I can to get the rest of this series out on DVD. I have season 1 and I love it. I refuse to buy bootlegs, as all of the people involved in Cagney and Lacey will not get their proper props money wise if I do that. They worked hard on this show, and I will not do that to them.

    I do want ALL seasons released on DVD in the right way, meaning I don’t want the bootlegs to even have to be out there making money off of this.

    This show has given me so much enjoyment and so many wonderful memories and 2 wonderfil ladies to be in awe of and to admire til this very day!

    I started a group for Cagney and Lacey, and I encourage all of you to come. I do have the link to your petition on the site, it would be an honor for you fans to join me, and let me help you in this most imoritant venture.

    Cagney and Lacey, New York City’s Finest,

    Maggie

    http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/CagneyandLacey1/

  9. says

    Given the chance, most fans of shows are willing to buy official DVDs and so forth once they become available. At least, all the fans of shows I’ve ever known have said that once the official version comes out, they go out and buy it–usually because the quality is much better, and often there are extras not available on the pirated editions.

    I’m not defending pirates; but I think that stance makes other fans defensive unnecessarily.

  10. Maggie says

    Well, the first season came out 2 years ago and we are still waiting for season 2.

    I in no way wish to make anyone defensive, but I do believe it’s wrong for others to profit that had no hand in creating Cagney and Lacey.

  11. says

    I have to admit I’ve been tempted to buy the bootlegs simply because I think maybe if I could review more episodes, it might stir some interest in the show and lead to the release of licensed DVDs.

    I personally am less bothered by the possibility of bootleggers making money than by the fact that MGM is standing in the way of people from C&L making the residuals they deserve from this show getting a run on DVD – assuming their contracts covered that. (Unfortunately, in the early 80s, they didn’t always.)

    This is a very different situation from choosing bootleg copies OVER licensed copies. In this case, there is absolutely no other way to see the show.

  12. David says

    I hate the fact that it is only available on bootlegs- but it is the studio’s fault for putting us in this position. It does not appear that any more seasons will EVER be released unless it is personally financed by the fans. So what are we supposed to do? Never enjoy the series that we love again for the rest of our lives?? That is ludicrous! I will not deny myself that enjoyment because of the greedy bast***s who own the rights to the series and refuse to put it out. I got the bootlegs and enjoy them all the time. Now if one day the studios actually release them properly- I will buy them again. But I won’t sit by and not allow myself the chance to enjoy Cagney & Lacey on bootleg if that is the only means available.

  13. Maggie says

    Well, I have heard from others who bought the bootlegs that they are of poor quality, and how they were made from tapes and put on to dvd and how the sound and picture were terrible. Maybe you got a good place to get them from, but others are telling me it’s a rip-off and everything about the quality stunk.(Where they got them from anyway)

    I think MGM is selfish in not putting the rest out. There is trash out there on DVD, and the complete series at that. They can put the REST of them on DVD and stop being butt-heads about it.

    Please don’t fault me for wanting to try atleast, to get them the “right” way, and by that I mean going into a Best Buy etc., and buying them from a store. I enjoy the show just like you do, and have neen a long time fan of Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly.

    I even wrote Barney Rosenzweig seeing how the fans can help, but like a post above on here somewhere said, if we don’t have a name to put on a letter to those at MGM, they won’t make it past the front desk.

    How much was this promoted? (The release of season 1) I didn’t even know that it existed and I also didn’t know that Barney had written a book. (Ordered that from Barnes and Noble)

    I respect all of your points of view and I have certainly have enjoyed reading all of the postings here.

    If fans back in the day saved this show from cancelation a few times, it can get the rest of the series on DVD.

    Take care all!

  14. David says

    I paid $30 for all the seasons and the four tv movies (26 dvds). It is awesome! The sound and picture are broadcast quality and all episodes are in order with their title and broadcast date. The commercials are all seamlessly edited out. It’s really professional looking. I don’t want to say where I got it because I don’t want people to think I am promoting some website or something- but as you can imagine from my descriptions I was thrilled to get it at that price and high quality. I do empathize with your position, Maggie. I feel similiarily. I wish the dvds were in stores, because I would pay the money to get them even after buying the bootlegs. Sadly, I do keep up on all the news around this and other favorite tv shows in the same position (Simon & Simon, NYPD Blue, WKRP, Newhart… ) and these studios don’t seem to care in any way, shape, or fashion. Until I see some glimmer of hope that they will release these beloved series to us- I just can’t go about expecting that some day they will change their minds. And petitions don’t seem to matter to them either. It all boils down to money unfortunately, and they don’t want to spend it on these releases. So, what is left but to try to get hold of them any way possible? These series that we fall in love with can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Many are not even on televison in syndication anymore. I refuse to be denied by the greed of the studios. I think, in a way, buying the boots is kind of like spitting in their faces and I feel a little redemption in that. Realistically, I think it has no effect on whether they will change their minds about the releases. On some level it may be the one thing that may eventually change their minds. If they see enought people buying the bootlegs, will they stop and think to themselves that they could be the ones profitting if they release them themselves?

  15. Lois says

    Please release the rest of the Cagney & Lacey on DVD. It was and is my all time favorite show. I brought 2 sets of Season 1. I keep watching it over and over again. I have been impatiently waiting for the rest to come out.

    Keeping my fingers crossed

    Lois

  16. JJ says

    How much longer do we have to wait? I have every single episode (pilot, and all the films included) on VHS tapes. I will not buy the bootleg copies. My VHS copies were all taped from the original BBC screenings – so I guess I could transfer them to DVD myself. I would really like the originals though.

    Amazing to see some of the dross already released and this fantastic show sits on a shelf gathering dust.

    • says

      Well, MGM has declared bankruptcy, so I have no idea who currently owns the rights to their titles. If that entity decides C&L is worth printing, they’ll print it. If not… I’d say there’s a fair chance they’ll never be released.

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