“Matinee at the Bijou” returns

posted by Michael Zoldessy on November 2, 2006 at 12:30 pm

MEDFORD, OR — The Chudwig Group, a production company and content aggregator, announced today that agreements with PBS to air in 2007 a 12-episode sequel series to the popular 1980’s hit: Matinee at the Bijou, will anchor the group’s sponsorship development effort.

During its initial five-year run in the 80’s, Matinee at the Bijou was one of America’s favorite entertainment programs — consistently rated in the top-ten national PBS programs.

Screen legend, Debbie Reynolds, will host the new HD series. Reynolds will open each, two-hour episode with a performance of the original theme song and then describe for the audience that episode’s cartoon, short subject, action-packed serial chapter and classic feature film.

“We are confident that sponsors will respond to this unique opportunity to invite America to the movies on PBS,” said Mark DuMond, executive producer. “Audiences loved the original series, and came back week after week for more.”

After signing broadcast and home DVD distribution agreements, the Chudwig Group recently launched a coordinated effort to seek series sponsors. The Group is working with PBS executives to streamline and focus the search. One-to-three sponsors can be accommodated.

According to DuMond, PBS has licensed the series for three years of unlimited broadcasts on all PBS HD and SD (Standard Definition) channels. PBS Video has secured home video distribution rights for a period of ten years. Home video versions, said DuMond, will have extended sponsorship credits and links to sponsor’s corporate web sites.

Producers plan a Matinee at the Bijou Hosted by Debbie Reynolds web site, featuring downloadable trailers, vodcasts and social networking for fans. A number of web-driven “blended” Bijou Parties, to bring fans together for real-world episode viewing events, are also in the works.

Key members of the original production team have reunited to repeat the magic that made the original series a pop culture phenomenon. Bob Campbell, co-creator and producer of the original Matinee at the Bijou series is heading the team. Sam Harrison, director of the original series, is once again directing.

Veteran film distributors and prestigious specialists in the field of classic motion pictures have joined the Bijou team. Specialists like Greg Luce (Sinister Cinema). Conrad Sprout (Hollywood Select Video), and, Ron Hall (Festival Films) bring their extensive personal archives and industry contacts in the classic film community to the project. As a result, the sequel series features rare and seldom seen cinematic treasures.

The Chudwig Group, HD and SD content producer and aggregator, is located in Medford , Oregon —– as is series collaborator, Sinister Cinema. Chudwig Group principals can be reached at (503) 773-6023; or via email at:

Comments (4)

scottfavareille on November 2, 2006 at 1:40 pm

I do remember this series quite well. I watched it on KQED and KCSM back around 1982-1986. It ran in a 90 minute time slot and was quite enjoyable. Hopefully when it is shown this time the movies & the series won’t be “hacked up” (Whatching Zorro’s Fighting Legion condensed into 5 chapters was somewhat dreadful.) Also, any idea how soon this will appear on PBS &/or DVD?

dennis906 on November 2, 2006 at 6:17 pm

I taped many episodes during it’s run when it was on the two PBS channels here in Los Angeles during the mid-80’s. I had forgotten about this show until one day I was cleaning out my closets and I came across these tapes. I especially enjoyed the trailers. Debbie Reynolds will make the perfect host but what ever happened to the original host?

VincentPrice on November 2, 2006 at 8:01 pm

Oh, I so remember this series, even though I must’ve been about 12 or 13.

This is precisely the kind of kitschy, yet indispensable series that PBS used to specialise in, before it went socio-political in the late 1990s.

Though I am young, I remember The Dick Cavett Show and especially, Steve Allen’s Meeting of the Minds (perhaps the single best series on PBS, ever). I can’t wait!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 3, 2006 at 10:55 am

I remember those shows too Vincent. Dick Cavett had the best celebrity talk show ever, in my mind. That goes for his ABC series (now being featured weekly on TMC) and his long running PBS series. And I’m eternally grateful to PBS for giving me Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, The Two Ronnies and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin! I also remember Matinee at the Bijou back in the ‘80’s… but I remember being disappointed that so much was crammed into it’s 90 minute time slot that the feature films themselves seemed hastily edited down. I could understand that philosophy in a syndicated series intended for commercial television, but I found it at odds with what I presumed at the time to be the level of integrity at PBS.

I vaguely recall that the original host was a fairly anonymous motion picture character actor at the time. I know I saw him in a film or two back in the ‘80’s and thought “there’s the guy from Matinee at the Bijou!” I guess this time around, they wanted some star power.

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