Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mystery Solved! … and What The Heck Was That?

Hello all, hope you all had a fine Christmas or holiday, and I hope your year is off to a great start! Though this surfaced the day after Christmas, I finally got around to watching it last night and boy was it a real surprise… And head scratcher!

Longtime collector and good friend Aubrey S. (a.k.a. The Breeze, his YouTube personality) recently got his hand on what we collectors see as holy grails of sorts… Demo tapes!

Demo tapes, for those of you who don't know, were made by Disney (and I assume, every other big studio) and sent to video stores for in-store play, hence the name. Since they were taken back by the company, very few of them surface from time to time. I have two…

The first of which is, to my understanding, extremely rare. It's for the original video release of Pinocchio in 1985, and what's on it? Well, about 10 minutes of interviews with potential buyers (it's cheesy as hell!), details about Disney's marketing campaign for the video release and sequences from the film. Also, you can see the Classics Diamond logo on the microphone. I uploaded the contents to this beauty to Dailymotion nearly three years ago, so…

Pinocchio Promo Tape by Imaxination1980

The other is the demo tape for The Fox and the Hound, for its spring 1994 video release of course. This tape, printed in October 1993, has the entire film on it as opposed to the Pinocchio demo tape's content. Prior to the film, the FBI/anti-piracy warnings (Pinoke's tape did not have these) appear and then a little preview announcing the film's potential sales and an overview of the film itself. This was the norm for early 90s Disney demo tapes: I have seen what's on the demo tapes for The Rescuers Down Under, The Rescuers and One Hundred and Dalmatians thanks to fellow collectors on YouTube.

Aubrey uploaded a video showing the contents. Watch and be amazed…

First off, the dark red FBI/anti-piracy cards that were commonplace on 1986-87 titles for some reason show up here, and they do on the demo tape for The Rescuers Down Under as well. Strange indeed, again - someone at Disney must've had a thing for bringing up old screens/title cards from the past!

The spot for the film itself is also cool, doing the basics: Projecting how it will sell, statistics, scenes from the film, snippets of critic reviews, all from a hyped announcer!

But, the start of the film solves a mystery and also gives us the most bizarre Disney video editing error I've ever seen. And I assume it's the weirdest one you've seen, too!

The 1991 VHS of The Jungle Book, as we all know, omits the Buena Vista title card from the film's opening credits. So does the 1992 LaserDisc, the 1997 VHS and 1997 LaserDisc. It would show up on the 1999 DVD, the black/blue gradient one where all of the text looked like a wood-carved font. Like this one…

But the 2007 Platinum Edition DVD, much to my surprise when I first got it back then, has one that looks like this!

So, what logo did The Jungle Book use? The darker black/blue one? Or the brighter, more turquoise-y one?

Well, this demo tape solves the mystery. It uses the brighter one.

The bright, lighter blue/turquoise title card first showed up in 1966 before Disney's live action film Follow Me, Boys!, though some releases afterwards still used the darker/wood carving font one (i.e. The Happiest Millionaire, The Love Bug) so it wasn't unusual to wonder which title card the film used back in 1967.

Anyways, the demo tape proves that the bright mid-60s and onwards BV title card was what opened up The Jungle Book back in 1967.

Also, how about those opening credits?!

What was with the green anti-piracy screen flashing twice during the "Walt Disney presents" title card?

It flashes for a second, and then the film - barely even beginning - abruptly cuts to the 1986 Walt Disney Home Video logo! Then the film begins after that, with no Buena Vista logo preceding it.

What the???


Yes, for all my ramblings about video editing errors, this one makes the ones we all know of (Dalmatians' 1992 VHS ending, Classics logo freezing on some 1986 tapes, etc.) look like minor little hiccups. I can almost sense an "Oops!" happening here, a last minute "Oops!"

Most Disney video releases at the time did not open with Buena Vista logos, they seldom showed up. There are some interesting exceptions, such as the 1986 video release of Sleeping Beauty and the 1992 video release of The Rescuers, but BV logos were usually left out of the films on the video releases of the era.

It's as if the editor realized that he/she forgot to axe the BV card from the opening credits, but it was too late. Or maybe something happened during the editing process where the revised opening with no BV got smash-cut into the master. How in the world did this happen??

Also, this explains a lot about the late 1991 pressings of Robin Hood using the green FBI/anti-piracy warning screens. Other 1991 printings and releases don't use it, but this tape proves that the logo was finished prior to The Jungle Book's release date: May 3, 1991. Also, if The Fox and the Hound's demo tape is worth taking into account, the green anti-piracy screens could've been created back in 1990!

The Fox and the Hound hit video in March 1994, my demo tape and Aubrey's copy were printed on the same day: October 12, 1993. The preview on the tape also ends with a "Copyright 1993" tag as well. If anything, those green FBI/anti-piracy screens could've been created towards the end of 1990.

Or maybe the cards were just being finished when this demo tape was being cobbled together… It's almost like two tapes were made here: One beginning with the preview and BV, and one beginning with no preview, a WDHV logo and no BV card.

It's all so weird! Talk about an abrupt surprise.

Now it makes me want to find more demo tapes…


  1. If you think that's unusual, I recently saw a 35mm print of "Cinderella" from the 1980s: it had the extremely ugly 1979 BV logo (the one that's on Winnie the Pooh and a Day For Eeyore and Mickey's Christmas Carol) at the very end, and the logo looked like an anamorphic print being viewed without anamorphic lenses. The RKO logo and music were replaced with a short 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo, and it picked up with the "Walt Disney Presents" credit. That combination is one I'm sure I'll never see again.

    1. Hmmmm… Very interesting. I'm guessing that's from the 1987 re-release given the short Walt Disney Pictures logo. The 1988 VHS has the full WDP logo, so that's certainly different. Where did you see this print?

      As for the 1979 BV title card, that reminds me of the 'Blackbeard's Ghost' issue. I'm sure you've seen it, but 8to16to35 uploaded almost every BV and RKO card he could find. He also did a video showing 'Blackbeard's Ghost' and its opening credits, the VHS and DVD releases of the film contain the 1979 BV logo, though a late 70s/early 80s re-release isn't listed anywhere. At least not a US re-release.

      However, with this and the 'Cinderella' print you recently saw, it's possible that Disney used that weird BV card for 1979-1984 re-releases of classic films. Maybe the 1981 re-release of 'Cinderella' opened with this, or closed with it. Or both. What do you think?

  2. I think I know what it might be. Who ever was in charge of pressing and printing the demo tape may have messed up as they were also preparing the content for the laserdisc release of the film. I have seen the opening to The Jungle Book laserdisc, it opens with the green FBI/warning screens following the 1986 WDHV logo and then the start of the film. I may be wrong about the reason but that's most likely what may have happened.

    1. That's a great theory!

      The only thing is, the LaserDisc edition of 'The Jungle Book' was released sometime in 1992. Still, I wouldn't rule it out. Those screen are on there, so maybe those warnings were created as far back as 1990, and maybe the LD for 'The Jungle Book' was originally planned for a 1991 release to go alongside the videocassette version.

      But again, it could explain why this hiccup is on here.

  3. Hi can someone tell me how rare and collectable a walt disney the jungle book demo promo vhs tape is it has the white blank cover and the cassette its self is mint and plays flawlessly any help would be great i can't find nothing out about it and any help would be appreciated thanks