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''Sixties'' Song Shortage

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 14, 2005

On Sept. 20, Paramount/PBS Home Video will release a DVD of a new documentary, ''The Sixties: The Years That Shaped A Generation.'' That's more than a week before the program airs, on Sept. 29.


But if you want to watch the show, skip the DVD and wait for the broadcast.


I was watching the DVD tonight, and the music didn't seem to fit the narration. The opening music included a riff that was reminiscent of ''Time Has Come Today,'' but it wasn't the song. The narrator mentioned ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,'' but the song didn't play. The narrator mentioned Eric Burdon & The Animals in a context that set up a playing of ''San Franciscan Nights'' -- but the song wasn't there, just some generic instrumental stuff.


And that was all within the first 10 minutes.


I also happened to have a review copy of the planned telecast, so I put that in the player. What a difference.


There was ''Time Has Come Today.''


And ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.''


And ''San Franciscan Nights.''


Apparently Oregon Public Broadcasting, which produced the program, licensed songs for broadcast but not for DVD.


As a rule I prefer the original music from a TV show on its DVD version, although I've seen the occasional substitution that was tolerable. (The third-season DVD of ''Northern Exposure'' comes to mind.) But the replacement music here was really bad.


This is a DVD with a big ''PBS Home Video'' label at the top, so there's a clear implication of quality that the product doesn't deliver. While some DVDs will tell you that the music has been changed, I couldn't find any such acknowledgment on this one. And, as I said, the narration doesn't make sense without the songs on the soundtrack.


Keep your wallet closed for this one.


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