Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Edgar Kennedy: Lights, Camera, Kickstarter

Preparations continue for the Kickstarter campaign to revive the film legacy of iconic funnyman Edgar Kennedy. The launch date for The Edgar Kennedy Restoration Project is set for October 1st for a robust 30-day KS campaign that will, upon success, set the stage for the revival of  Matinee at the Bijou.

Others have worked to bring back such worthy and once beloved Hollywood superstars as Laurel & Hardy, Our Gang, Betty Boop, Roy Rogers and other favorites, and have found success with DVD releases. However, getting the notion of financing a television series with predominantly black & white content past today's industry gate-keepers remains a distinct challenge.

Kickstarter is ideally suited for crowd-funding The Edgar Kennedy Show, but we are taking nothing for granted. Those familiar with Kickstarter know that it is an all or nothing fundraising platform. So to assure success we are seeking the smallest amount necessary to get the ball rolling. In association with a  growing number of passionate like-minded classic film industry trailblazers we hope to turn the Edgar Kennedy revivial into a virtual road map for bringing back many more classic film favorites.

Here is an update on our revised plans:

1. The Edgar Kennedy Show will be a very original new series. Each half-hour episode will showcase one of Edgar's 103 vastly entertaining 16-20 minute RKO "Average Man" short subjects shown in its entirety, accompanied by a short mini-doc biography segment with content drawn from Edgar's pioneer contributions to motion picture history. 

2. Rather than seek a level of funding necessary to produce the first 6 EKS episodes, as previously announced, we are instead seeking just enough KS backing to produce a single PILOT episode. Once the pilot is produced it will be pitched first to TCM and PBS, while investigating secondary original-series delivery platforms and home video marketing prospects.

3. The EKS pilot show will feature Edgar's 1931 RKO short Thanks Again. This hilarious short was not sold to TV in the 1950's, as were many of Edgar's other RKO shorts, and has been unseen since its original release beyond a single screening a few years back at Cinefest in Syracuse, NY. 

4. Mark Livingston Kennedy, Edgar's grandson, will be featured on camera to introduce his grandfather's film legacy. Mark bears a striking resemblance to Edgar, does a mean slow burn, and has a passion for helping restore Edgar's proper place in film history. The mini-doc segment for the pilot show will be an overview of RKO's Average Man series that entertained movie audiences worldwide with 6 Edgar Kennedy shorts annually from 1931 to 1948.

5. Kickstarter contributions are needed to cover these expenses:
  • Shipment and other costs for use of the Library of Congress 35mm print of "Thanks Again."
  • Transfer of the 35mm print to high definition.
  • Additional film restoration as needed.
  • Production set and crew to film host and mini-bio segments.
  • Costs to bring Mark Kennedy to Oregon to film host segments.
  • Creation of opening and closing segments. Original theme song has been contributed at no cost.
  • Editing and related video lab procedures to produce a professional HD broadcast master.
  • Kickstarter and credit card fees; Kickstarter premium costs.
All involved in The Edgar Kennedy Restoration Project are waiving customary fees and salaries to complete the pilot show on an extremely modest  $9,700 budget, which is our Kickstarter goal. Our secondary goal is to exceed the primary KS goal enough to actually produce the first 6 episodes of  The Edgar Kennedy Show.

5. A "Slow Burn Challenge" is in the works that will invite old and young alike to film and send in their own interpretation of Edgar's famous slow burn. Videos will be limited to 10-seconds or less and the top 5 slow burns will be featured in The Edgar Kennedy Show pilot. A "Show us your SlowBurn" challenge is planned as a regular feature of the series. Imagine Edgar's signature gesture going viral and sparking a national Slow Burn craze.     

After getting to know him, the Edgar Team has concluded that Edgar's grandson Mark was born with an abundance of his grandfather's DNA embedded in his heart and soul. To get a sense of how Mark would come across on camera, we asked him to improvise a 3-minute video he could send us via YouTube. We asked him to also include his own interpretation of a slow burn. See for yourself why we think Mark is perfect to host The Edgar Kennedy Show and personally interpret his grandfather's film legacy.

Please visit The Edgar Kennedy Restoration Project on Facebook and "Like" Edgar. Rally your FB Friends to do the same. Then visit us on Kickstarter beginning September 18th and help us bring back Edgar.

Top photo courtesy of RKOComedyClassics.com

No comments: