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.
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.
Top photo courtesy of RKOComedyClassics.com