Monday, August 25, 2014

A Little Game Of...

… Where is that trailer from?

I ask this because I came across this theatrical trailer for The Sword in the Stone recently, courtesy of The Disney Animation Resource Channel on YouTube, who is unearthing and uploading rare Disney animated film trailers that you won't find on DVD or Blu-ray releases, such as The Fox and the Hound's original 1981 theatrical trailer…

But today's focus is The Sword in the Stone… And what appears to be its 1983 re-release trailer…

But wait… That's the 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo at the beginning! And at the end there's a "Copyright The Walt Disney Company" tag! On February 6, 1986, Walt Disney Productions was renamed The Walt Disney Company. This trailer can't be from 1983…

The posters for the film's 1983 re-release didn't use the "Walt Disney's Classic" heading. That heading wasn't used for re-issues until late 1985, we first saw that on the posters for One Hundred and One Dalmatians' Christmas 1985 re-release.

Of course, the poster also indicates that Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore - a new short at the time - was a big deal in the marketing. The Rescuers' 1983 re-release trailers and TV spots plugged brand new attached short Mickey's Christmas Carol, so why wouldn't Sword's trailer do the same?

Also… Mark Elliott!

Elliott didn't start providing his voice for Disney trailer narrating/announcing until around late 1985/early 1986, when Sleeping Beauty's spring 1986 re-release was on its way.

My best guess is that this is for a re-issue that arrived sometime after early 1986 in an another English-speaking country, the lack of a green band "approved" card also supports this theory. IMDb lists an Australian re-release that came in September 1985, but that can't be right either. Again, at the end it says "The Walt Disney Company" and not "Walt Disney Productions".

To add to that, IMDb doesn't even list a UK release date for the film. It had to have come out in UK theaters, no? Below is the original UK theatrical poster that definitely looks like it's from the early 1960s, so it must've been released theatrically in the UK… But when, is the question? Same day as the American release? Early-to-mid 1964 perhaps?

That omission shows that IMDb doesn't have every release date for this film, so we can assume that The Sword in the Stone got a re-issue sometime after early 1986 in an English-speaking territory. This trailer speaks for itself. If Australia got it in September 1985, and the UK got it in 1983 alongside the states, what country got this re-issue? Maybe it's a late 80s re-release, or maybe even an early 90s one. The Walt Disney Pictures logo music used in the trailer is the choir variation, which - according to the CLG Wiki - was common on late 80s re-release trailers, but it does appear on the 1985 trailer for Dalmatians. It also appears before 1990's DuckTales the Movie - Treasure of the Lost Lamp.

I went around eBay for a possible answer. One copy of the poster (it uses the Classic heading and the same font for the film's title used in the trailer), which is coming from an American seller, lacks the MPAA rating that the US posters would normally have, among other things. A UK U certificate is also missing, ditto an Australian U certificate.

But the French poster below it also implies that this re-issue is indeed a foreign one.

So maybe the UK or Australia got the film again sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s… It's highly possible. It can't be a US re-issue, because the final US re-release was in 1983 and the video release arrived in 1986, canceling any possibility of another theatrical re-release in the future. Again, that whole trailer speaks for itself…

What do you think?

Update (8/30/2014): Found a TV spot for the American 1983 re-release… Check it out. Mark Elliott's voice is featured too!

Yup, different font and everything…


  1. Strange indeed. I only wonder why Disney didn't include a ending tag that would say when the film would be coming to theaters.

    Also I've seen a poster for Robin Hood that looks like it was done for a (planned) theatrical re-release:

  2. I would assume it's got to to be the Australian September 1985 re-issue.