Every TV program has little bits that are lost to obscurity. For one example, the original version of the Rudolph special had dialogue beyond the point where the sleigh took off:
This was the whole reason why Yukon tasted his pickaxe to test the ground: for the payoff of this gag. But it only aired during Rudolph's first year. Afterward, there was a letter-writing campaign to add an ending showing Santa rescuing the Misfit Toys, as opposed to merely mentioning them. To make room for the new ending, this scene was cut out.
The following seven moments from your favorite shows have not been collected on DVD and may never be. Note that when I say "from your favorite shows," what I really mean are MY favorite shows, because if there's rare footage of Ugly Betty, I don't care enough to actively seek it out.
30 ROCK HOLIDAY FUNTIMES
During the second season, when nobody was watching this mindblowingly awesome series except for me, 30 Rock presented a tie-in with American Express called "Holiday Funtimes." They were five shorts about a minute long that you could only see if you were registered with an American Express card, or if you were watching 30 Rock because they aired them during the program anyway.
Most externally-produced 30 Rock-related videos tend to revolve around Kenneth, because Jack McBrayer is cheaper to get than Tina Fey. The plot that connects all these shorts together is that Kenneth wants to start a Secret Santa at TGS, but is told he cannot because not everybody who works there celebrates Christmas. Instead, the yokelicious page announces "Secret Rodney," which is just like Secret Santa except it's named after a guy named Rodney whom nobody has a belief in.
You might be inclined to assume these aren't as good as the show itself. You'd be wrong; there are some inspired bits in here that didn't deserve to fall into obscurity. The opening "scene change" gag is something I wish was in an actual episode.
These shorts were not included in the Season 2 DVD, and the American Express promotion has ended, so you can't get it from them either. Were it not for me, you would never see Holiday Funtimes. Keep that in mind if I ever have to beg my readers for money.
OPRAH VISITS THE SIMPSONS
Simpsons fanatic Simpspin managed to rescue this one. In November of 1992 a special Oprah episode aired where the titular gazillionaire/cult leader took a look behind the scenes at the show, and then literally visited 742 Evergreen Terrace. This animation was created specifically for Oprah's show and has never been seen since. (No worries -- it's from the "golden age," so it's funny.)
SIMPSONS BASEBALL SHORTS
But ah -- there's more! Fox commissioned a few Simpsons-based short gags to run during commercial breaks in the World Series. They also created new animations for the Super Bowl, but Simpspin doesn't seem to have those.
"PLUCKY DUCK SHOW" PROMO
A lot of Tiny Toons material is rare these days, but it depends on how much you have access to. For a lot of people, seasons 2 and 3 are rare, because you can't buy those on DVD and the series isn't on TV anymore. Rarer still is "Elephant Issues," the episode banned since 1995 for reasons I went over in detail a long time ago. Rarer than that are the two hour-length Tiny Toon specials, "Spring Break Special" and "Night Ghoulery," that Fox only aired once with no promotion and then never again. But if you want to talk about REALLY rare....
....how about this 20-second animation by Freelance New Zealand made to promote Tiny Toons, and then re-dubbed by Fox to promote "The Plucky Duck Show" before it came on the air? Fox wanted a Tiny Toons spinoff for a while, but after two attempts, this being the second, they decided not to pursue it. Or, rather, they ran the pilot for this one and threw together some Plucky-related Tiny Toon reruns to create the other episodes in this show's only "season." The pilot was excellent and very well animated, but the rest of it was entirely repeats and kids weren't stupid. By spring 1993, Tiny Toons was on Saturday mornings in Plucky's old spot.
I could go even rarer and talk about the Japanese commercials that starred Buster and Babs, but I'm stopping here.
GILMORE GIRLS AQUAFINA AD
Ever so occasionally, a sponsor will incorporate the very show it's sponsoring into its advertising....but not often. There's not much point in spending money on something that can only air during one show. But this time, they did.
Aquafina assures its water is "pure Gilmore," and so is the contest they were running. A giant zeppelin with the "Aquafina" logo on it was flying somewhere over America, and if the pilots of the blimp saw someone drinking bottled water (Aquafina bottled water, to be specific) they would float down and give that person money. ...Actually, that probably isn't how it worked, but it should have.
Lorelai could have won that contest, but she got distracted.
CHRISTIAN BALE MOUTHS OFF AT PETER GRIFFIN
If you're tricky enough, you can collect Family Guy on DVD in its near-entirety. But it won't be easy: on top of buying all seven DVD sets, you also have to get Blue Harvest and Something Something Something Dark Side (released separately), the Freakin' Sweet Collection (which contains the uncut version of Road to Rhode Island), and a first-printing edition of American Dad Volume 1 (which has the deleted scenes from Family Guy Volume 3).
But then you still won't have everything. There is one tiny piece of the show that still hasn't been put on disc and probably never will be. A week or so after Christian Bale blew up at a crewmember on the set of Terminator: Salvation, and the audio recording of his tirade circulated the Internet, MacFarlane dubbed Peter Griffin's voice into it and the FG staff quickly threw together a simple animation of a tape player to accompany it.
When this episode aired two weeks later on Adult Swim, the Bale cutaway wasn't in it. And then later in the fall, when the episode made it to DVD, the Bale cutaway wasn't there either -- not even in "Deleted Scenes." (Despite all this, this moment is not as rare as the others on this page. Because Family Guy is so popular to pirate on YouTube, there are at least fifty separate uploads of this scene at any given time.)
In this case, though, they did the right thing. The cutaway won't make any sense in a few years, and it was shoved into an episode that already had a three-minute Stewie music video. Even for Family Guy, that's some terrible pacing. The episode is better off without it.
JACK BAUER LOVES CALORIE MATE
Finally, the freeze-dried food product you consumed in Metal Gear Solid 3 was a real item Japanese people devour. They love their Calorie Mate, and they also love translated episodes of "24." One day, they got an idea!
Now they should make one with Rajskub.