After “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” ended, Graham Chapman worked with an up-and-coming young writer named Douglas Adams on a new sketch comedy show for the BBC. It was called “Out of the Trees,” and it bombed. Only one episode was made, and that aired only once, on January 10, 1976.
Once the Beeb gave up on “Out of the Trees,” they did to it what they did to so many other programs of that era: they erased it.
Chapman had recorded the show on one of the very earliest home videotape formats… it took two years to build a compatible player.
It’s neither Chapman nor Adams best work, and you can see how it got canned after only a pilot episode. But it’s not terrible.
But the lesson here is one about the challenge of archiving non-print media. Anything that needs a device to “play” it, whether it’s as simple as a vinyl record or as complex as a videogame, is at greater risk of being lost forever. And the faster the pace of technology moves, the more stuff gets left behind as technology moves on. Is a digital dark age looming? Are we already in it, but that won’t be known until some future date?