Finally some good news regarding Tales of the Gold Monkey on DVD. I spoke to Richard Walker of Fabulous Films today. His company has purchased the DVD rights for the UK and Australia (Regions 2 and 4). He hopes to have a 6 disc set (the complete series and to be determined extras) available before Christmas 2009.
Regarding the rumors about problems with the masters and Universal refusing to sell the rights to any company that would not pay for remastering, he knew nothing about that. He hasn't seen the masters and hopes to receive them next week, but he assumes they are fine as no one at Universal has told him otherwise. The major issue seems to be music clearances. About 2/3 of the episodes still need clearances for the incidental background music playing in the Monkey Bar and other places. The rights have been secured from the music publishers, but the performers, whose clearance is also needed, aren't listed anywhere. Mr. Walker will be doing some research into this matter, but if all else fails, he plans to have the music rerecorded. If Universal wanted to go ahead with a US DVD release, they could get the music clearances through Fabulous Films.
I hope to hear back from Mr. Walker once he receives the masters and any other material from Universal. If the masters are in decent shape and since the music issue would have been a relatively easy fix for Universal, then what's their problem with producing or selling the license for a Region 1 set? Brian Ward from Shout! Factory posted an interesting comment about 6 months ago in reply to a request that Shout! put out a Tales of the Gold Monkey DVD set, "Believe me, we've tried and tried again. There is no real likelihood of Tales of the Gold Monkey hitting DVD for reasons I'm not really at liberty to go into." I may be reading more into it than was intended, but that sounds like it's more of a legal issue than a technical one.
Oh well, I've been thinking about buying a multiregion DVD player anyway.