Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jumpy Tapes

Disney VHS tapes from Argentina will be the focus of this piece…

From what I can gather, releases of Disney films on home video in Argentina were handled by a company called Gativideo, a company that apparently issued other films and shows on home media from many different distributors. According to IMDb, they quit distributing in 2009. Anyways, a YouTuber named andreshjngra uploaded some Disney-Gativideo VHS openings nearly four years ago, and upon discovering these tapes, I found some oddities… Particularly in the editing.

A little while back, I posted one here from 1990 (More Silly Symphonies) that included a trailer for the 1987 TV special Bigfoot, and the end of the trailer just abruptly cuts to the Walt Disney Home Video logo… Turns out many of the other tapes were like this too!

Anyways, here's our first subject from 1988: Festival de Dibujos Animados II (Cartoon Festival II), a 1964 shorts package that Disney released theatrically in South America.

(Headphone users, you might want to turn down your volume.)

Almost all of these tapes open with a card that plays out like an EBS test, complete with an unpleasant loud noise too. Anyways, this screen abruptly cuts to the very surreal Gativideo-Legal Video logo, but the transition between that and what I presume is an anti-piracy warning screen is kind of choppy. Also, get a load of that nice elevator muzak. Then boom, jump cut back to the thunder-and-fire logo. (Seriously, it's the same logo played twice!)

Anyways, these tapes have the late 1980s Walt Disney Home Video introduction that was only used internationally. Why we never got this cool intro in the states is beyond me, maybe it's because it shows titles like The Black Cauldron and Condorman, who knows. I guess those were more popular abroad, I always got that idea with the former.

Next up, a 1988 VHS of The Absent-Minded Professor. (The 1986 colorized version of the film.)

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier 1988 VHS

Rock 'N' Roll Mom 1989 VHS

Splash, Too 1989 VHS

Note: Around the time of this release (I presume mid-to-late 1989) is when Gativideo's spacey logo was introduced, replacing that very surreal and very 80s "eyes" logo. No rainbow test screen either for some reason on this one tape. Also, the warning screen is a lot different.

Now You See Him, Now You Don't 1991 VHS

Unidentified Compilation 1992 VHS

The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage 1992 VHS

DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp 1992 VHS

Sing Along Songs: Under the Sea 1993 VHS

Wow, a lot of those tapes have choppy or abrupt transitions.

Festival de Dibujos Animados II: The ending seconds of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea trailer are interrupted by the Walt Disney Home Video logo. No fade out to fade in…

The Absent-Minded ProfessorSame deal here with the logos and transitions. Our Herbie trailer is interrupted by the WDHV logo, this time it sounds like the logo is just being cued up or whatever. Listen carefully to the opening tuba note, you'll hear the pitch go up and down for a split second! Also, you can hear the tail end of the Buena Vista logo music before the start of the film.

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier: That transition was a little less abrupt, but the WDHV logo still sounds like it's just being cued up on the tape. Why else would it speed up for a split second? Was there a PAL/NTSC speed-up screw-up there?

Argentina is a PAL country, and most PAL tapes have the WDHV logo at its original NTSC speed. I always found this odd, especially when several 1994-era tapes in the UK had a sped-up WDHV logo. How come this logo's speed was kept the same in the PAL format? Did they think it sounded bad sped up? Anyways, we'll bump into a sped-up WDHV logo in Argentina soon.

Rock 'N' Roll Mom: This time, the transition between the Legal Video logo and the anti-piracy is not gradual. Now this one's jump cut to the WDHV logo would have to be the choppiest, and the brief speed up is even more noticeable! Also, watch that Sword in the Stone trailer. The voices go in and out from time to time!

Splash, TooThe transition here is also very choppy. The Sport Goofy's Vacation trailer doesn't even end yet and the WDHV jingle is already playing, not to mention the speed-up is noticeable.

Now You See Him, Now You Don't: Another abrupt jump between the Gummi Bears preview and the WDHV logo.

Unidentified Compilation: No previews on this 1992 VHS of… Well, whatever it is (seems like a compilation or something)… Rather the Gativideo weirdly segueing into the WDHV logo, though it's still an awkward jump cut. Interesting transition to say the least… I mean, that final boom kinda-sorta transitions well into the opening tuba note of the WDHV logo.

The 100 Lives of Black Jack SavageAs you can see, Disney-Gativideo still used that mid-80s WDHV montage/intro. The opening to the Almost Angels trailer, however, is pretty abrupt and the audio sounds like it's just being cued or sped up. But strangely enough, there's no abrupt jump cut to the WDHV logo this time! The title card fades out, the WDHV logo fades in! Look at that! It's still pretty quick though. And we get it again, without the announcer, after the Gativideo logo. What's up with that?

Well, here's a possible explanation. Maybe this Black Jack Savage was released on VHS elsewhere (can't find any US VHS info at the moment), and the editors kept the WDHV logo on that tape, hence no announcer talking over it. Disney actually did this in the US before with DVDs. Yes, that's right, DVDs! The DVD of the TV special My Dog, The Thief is one great example, as the print used on the DVD is sourced from a 90s VHS of the film: Play the movie and it actually begins with the 1986 WDHV logo! The editors forgot to cut it out!

It also reminds me… When I went to Walt Disney World in April 2007, you know that channel they had/have that just showed non-stop classic Disney shorts? Well, one rotation included all of Disney Sing Along Songs: Heigh Ho!, complete with the green "this film has been modified" screen and the Walt Disney Home Video logo! I was already a full-blown collector by that time and seeing that on television down in WDW was kind of surreal.

Ducktales the Movie: While this tape doesn't seem to have a WDHV logo or Gativideo logo, the Video Collection trailer just cuts right to the Walt Disney Pictures logo. Very, very abrupt.

Under the SeaThe warning screen music is playing over the first split second of the WDHV logo, and it's sped up this time! Wow… The same cut happens at the end of the preview on this tape. (Now a lot of the audio seems off, not sure if it's the tape or it's editing software the uploader used.)

I wonder why that is…

It seems like Argentina was one of the only place where these tapes were edited like this. (Still researching…) Perhaps Gativideo preferred editing that way, though I noticed with later tapes from the mid-1990s, the transitions became a lot smoother…

Aladdin 1994 VHS

Also, get a load of what's shown at 1:34…

Aladdin's spine dons the Classics diamond! The diamond was rarely ever used internationally, save for some countries like Japan.


All of the Classics covers are used here, some of them are even complete with the "Original Animated Classic!" flaps. I wonder why Aladdin has the Diamond though. The real deal, however, doesn't have the Diamond…

And you can tell the one in the preview is a prototype, because the Aladdin logo goes from top to bottom on the spine like it would on an American or British case. However, in some countries, the titles go the opposite direction. France is a good example…

So anyways, this is the actual Argentina Aladdin VHS…

Photos belong to the respective owner, of course.

Also, even though all of those openings show a pattern, we have no idea if ALL 1980s-early 1990s Gativideo-Disney releases were like this. But that being said, those select few are interesting. It makes one wonder, "Why those jumpy transitions?" Was it just what the editors had to work with? Who knows…

I'm guessing that Disney simply licensed their library to Gativideo at the time, maybe because back then they only had two or three Walt Disney Home Video arms: One in North America, one in Europe and possibly one in Asia. This could explain why companies like Gativideo are involved in the first place. Last night, I had discovered that Portuguese Disney VHS tapes were distributed by a company called Abril Video. But that's another post for another day…

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