Brenda Starr, Reporter

Brenda Starr, Reporter – The Last Chance Edition coming to DVD March 1st!

When Columbia Pictures’ license expired with the Chicago Tribune, owner of the Brenda Starr character and trademarks, the film went into movie purgatory. Columbia could no longer distribute the serialized Brenda Starr and the Tribune didn’t have the means, or the desire to, and so all remaining prints were destroyed and the original negatives were shipped off to the Library of Congress to be archived. Unfortunately, the Brenda Starr original nitrate negative began to deteriorate rapidly. Sometime in the 1980’s the LOC attempted to transfer the negative to video, while it was still mostly intact. Sadly it was discovered that they were too late to save parts of chapters 3 and 4; the soundtrack is missing on half of one chapter and the picture is missing on half of the other chapter. Throughout the remainder of the serial, there are sections of moderate to severe nitrate damage that is beyond today’s technology to restore.

(Below is an un-restored clip)

At VCI, we love movie serials and have developed a respect for this unique form of movie making, which has often been looked down upon by many contemporary film and video companies. Because of this respect, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to release what has become one of the “Holy Grails” of cliffhangers, in its current condition. So, poor Brenda Starr’s video master has sat in our vault for years, while we led a search of film labs and archives all over the world to find film elements that would produce a first class video presentation. Sadly, after more than 15 years, we have called off the search.

(An uncleaned still from the serial)

I have to admit, that our first inclination was to abandon this DVD project entirely, because we just could not bring ourselves to release what we considered an inferior product. However, over the years we have received numerous requests from serial fans to “just release it ‘as is’!” The overwhelming consensus of these fans has been, “it is better to have something, than nothing at all”.

(Below is a restored clip)

And now we have to agree with the fans. So we will digitally restore to the best of our ability, what can be restored, and will present the un-restorable video sections as they are. For the record, not all is “doom and gloom”. There are chapters that look better than others, and there are many sections throughout the serial that look very good. With the assistance of film preservationist Mr. Fred Shay and  the National Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame in Mt. Arlington, New Jersey, we will also attempt to bridge the missing gaps in sound and/or picture in the sections of chapters 3 and 4, with text and original movie graphics.

(A cleaned up still from the serial)

Though far from an ideal solution, we believe this DVD presentation will be the best solution available, and truly hope that “Brenda Starr, Reporter” will once again bring thrills and chills to classic cliffhanger fans.