Early this summer, Jewish Life TV began airing episodes of The Danny Kaye Show – most of them shown for the first time since they were originally broadcast more than 50 years ago.
For me, this is simply a broadcasting miracle, the greatest cause for celebration among Danny Kaye fans since the Kaye Centennial festivities of 2013. The shows can be found Thursday evenings at 10 p.m. (EST/PST) and every weekday at 2 p.m. EST, 11 a.m. PST.
Granted, not everything is roses. First off, JLTV is carried by only one satellite company (DirecTV) and a small number of cable TV providers (including Charter and Comcast in a smattering of regions). That leaves most of us to look for it streaming at jltv.tv.
As well, there have been some complaints that JLTV has cut out significant chunks from some episodes, not always judiciously, such as going to commercial in mid-sketch and not returning to the end of it (problems that, reportedly, have been corrected).
They’re also repeating episodes rather frequently (at least during the weekday run), which is causing viewers to wonder just how many episodes they have access to, and how long before they drop the program.
I went to Brad Pomerance, senior vice president of news & programming for Jewish Life TV, for some answers:
Q: Brad, First of all, thank you for doing whatever it took to be able to broadcast the Danny Kaye Show. It’s truly historic; most of these shows have not aired since their initial broadcast over 50 years ago (even back during their original run, only a handful of episodes each year were selected to re-run a single time in May and early June, after they’d run out of new episodes for the season).
So, how did JLTV come to acquire rights to The Danny Kaye Show?
JLTV: For about five years now, JLTV has been working with an individual who specializes in the acquisition of classic television series. When this classic television expert made us aware that the rights to The Danny Kaye Show had become available, we jumped at the opportunity. Ultimately, JLTV acquired the episodes from Dena’s Trust, the organization that represents all rights in the intellectual property and copyrights held by Danny Kaye and his wife, Sylvia Fine. JLTV could not be more pleased that we can offer this incredibly entertaining program to our nationwide television audience.
Q: How many different episodes did JLTV acquire the rights to air and for how long?
JLTV: Currently, JLTV has acquired the rights to air 40 episodes over a one-year term. In our scheduling model, we "premiere" a new episode every Thursday night. We have not repeated any new episode on Thursday night. We are stripping the series in daytime, five days a week – that is where repeats come into play. Any editing errors are immediately remedied once discovered.
Q: Is there an opportunity to license additional episodes?
JLTV: We understand that additional episodes may become available and we look forward to that possibility in the near future.
Q: How were the episodes chosen? So far, there seems to be a preponderance of episodes from the series’ first two “black-and-white” years.
JLTV: The episodes were selected by JLTV in consultation with Dena’s Trust. Episodes from all four seasons of the Emmy Award-winning series were chosen.
Q: Can you share any reaction you’ve had to the show from viewers so far?
JLTV: The reaction has been uniformly positive. Here are just a couple of examples that we have received at www.jltv.tv/feedback.
J.M. from New York writes:
The Danny Kaye Show is even better than I remember. Danny is brilliant, the writing is excellent and the musical numbers superb.
J.D. from New Jersey writes:
We've enjoyed your new addition to JLTV's line up with The Danny Kaye Show. Keep them coming.
Q: What would you advise Danny Kaye fans whose cable/satellite service does not carry JLTV?
JLTV: They can place a request at www.jltv.tv/getjltv. They should also contact their video provider and let them know that they want them to add JLTV to their channel line-up.
I've contacted my TV provider; you should do the same! Hopefully the attention will encourage JLTV to expand its Danny Kaye Show programming, edit each episode more carefully, and help Dena's Trust clear the rights so all of these episodes will eventually find their way on to DVD – complete and uncut.