I know I may be a little late to the ball game posting this since it was released in 2012. I just picked up the Little Rascals Screen Legends 4 DVD set with both color and b&w short, and it is amazing. The color restoration is really good and it is so strange to see these in color after watching them for 40+ years in black and white. The color adds a whole new dimension, I am noticing so much more now that they are in color. It's not perfect, but pretty darn close. You can get this on Amazon, but I picked my set up on ebay for $13. I feel it was a deal on ebay. Has anyone else got this set and what did you think?
When were these colorized? I have the Leonard Maltin set on VHS and am going to have to unearth a VHS player to watch them one of these days. I recently dived back into Our Gang. I have to admit, color is not appealing at all. Somethings should be left alone.
They've been colorized twice: in 1994, King World made a deal with a company called Color Systems Technology to colorize the Hal Roach shorts from television syndication. At least 53 of the films in the King World package got the colorization treatment, though more may have as well. It's unclear if these versions ever made any domestic television appearances. A handful were briefly released on VHS through Hallmark in 1999. Several were released to the home video mark in Germany, and may have appeared on television in other countries.
The "Screen Legends" set is from Legend Films, who colorized 24 of the shorts back in the late 2000s. Some of these titles had previously been colorized back in the '90s, while others had never been colorized before. Legend was somehow able to bypass the copyright law by using reissue prints of the Roach shorts. How they've gotten away with it for so long, I'm not sure.
If you'd like DVD versions of the films, Genius released a box set collecting all the sound Hal Roach-era shorts. It's expensive but it's all the best stuff in one place. You might be able to find it in some stores.
There's also a compilation of all the MGM-era 'Our Gang' shorts but it's a bit harder to find.
Has anyone done a compilation of the silents? Do we know if any of the silents have been restored?
There are 4 reasons I can think of that a compilation has yet to be released. One of which is, I feel there is almost a "stabbing in the back" when it comes to this. Certain individuals want to be the only one to get it accomplished (as well as private collectors not willing to help out with the rarities they have). It really needs to be a collaborative effort though since its such an enormous task.... A perfect example is this. I know someone putting together a multi disc set and whom has a great orchestra to add scores to the shorts. I can't wait for it to happen! They have reached out to a couple others, who also have experience restoring old films, in order to do a collaboration to expedite the process but neither party wanted to assist. It's as if they just want to continue slowly putting out single discs of their own with 2-4 shorts on each over the next 20years. Oh well, i try to remain optimistic that it will happen someday before I die lol
I suspect a major problem is that the copyright seems to have lapsed, so the silents apparently aren't "owned" by a single company.
But yeah, I saw a bootleg 'collection' a few years back in a movie memoabilia festival dealer's room but it was WAY too expensive. If I remember right, about two hundred dollars. I wouldn't say it might not be worth that, but no way could I afford it.