They Knew A Classic When They Saw It ...
Shane Sustains Among Western Greats
|1959 Trade Ad for First Shane Reissue|
Shane was something like monumental from Day One.
Para put revived Shane in a '59 boxoffice season with Last Train From Gun Hill, but no one pretended Gun Hill could sit Shane's saddle. Bookers knew Shane for an evergreen that could come back for each renewed audience, like a Disney feature. Figures bore them out, Shane walloping other '59 reissues with a fresh million in domestic rentals (also-rans Stalag 17 and A Place In The Sun took $399K and $347K, respectively). Only Samson and Delilah, with $2.1 million in new money, did better. A mid-60's pact between
ABC-TV, PAR WARNED ON 'SHANE,' said Variety's 2-14-68 headline. Shane was scheduled for network TV premiere on February 18, 1968, and director George Stevens was putting both web and distributor on notice that he'd sue (again) if Shane was altered in any way from its theatrical form. Cutting would be "at their peril," but trims were a likelihood, added the trade, because Shane was set for 9:00-11:15 airtime, two hours and fifteen minutes to contain a 118 minute feature. Shane was at the least a tight fit with "16 blurbs (commercials) on the ad sked," that plus station breaks, in and out-tros, all of which were par for primetime commercial viewing course. Stevens had appealed an earlier court decision involving A Place In The Sun, another of his that took network abuse (in that case, NBC's). The director was passionate on this issue; he'd even testify to being "less employable today" thanks to "blurb breaks" in earlier films being telecast, and fact the industry no longer paid big dollars for his services and types of pics he made (GS referred specifically to the million he got for directing The Greatest Story Ever Told). NBC stood firm, said their contract with
The 2-18-68 broadcast was sad for some, exhibitors disappointed to see a wickets reliable tossed to the tube, and no, the grandeur of