Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rainbow Vista Stuff

In 1978, a familiar face happened to turn 50 years old…

To celebrate, Disney created a special logo to put at the beginning of films released in theaters in 1978. Following the logo, which would later be turned into the very first Walt Disney Home Video logo later in the year, was a Buena Vista logo. Unlike the common wood-carving one that everyone is familiar with, this one was rainbow and it said "A Buena Vista Release" in a rather plain font rather than "Distributed by Buena Vista". The film's fanfare or sound effects would play over it, like any other Disney film from the era.

How many? And what films? Well, going by DVDs and various home video releases, The Cat From Outer Space and Hot Lead and Cold Feet are two. Both films were released on video during Walt Disney Home Video's early years, the former was released in 1983 while the latter was part of the first batch of titles released in 1980.

The Cat From Outer Space's initial video release release omits the Neon Mickey…

Hot Lead and Cold Feet's videocassette skirts around it…

So how did that get on there?

According to IMDB, the 1978 film was released in Australia in 1980 and Finland in 1981, though I'm sure several other countries got the film as well. IMDb may or may not have the concrete release dates, but I'm certain a film like this did debut in almost all of Europe back then. However, it was common for films to not open the same year in every country. In a day and age where we get a little peeved that Europe gets a Marvel film a week or two before we Americans do, or when our European friends have to wait months to get the new Walt Disney Animation Studios films after us (the waits for films like Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6 are inexcusable), we forget that it was a little harder years ago.

That all being said, this logo was in use all throughout 1978, and apparently in some countries it was used well into 1979… (I'm assuming that they stopped using it around spring-ish.)

But my first theory is that when Hot Lead and Cold Feet was prepared for overseas release after 1978/early 1979, Disney simply swapped the rainbow BV card with the then-new 1979 Buena Vista logo. (Disney has/had a tendency to spotlight new logos.) Also notice that the logo has no fanfare, so it was obviously tacked on. But was it for the international release? Or the video release?

Disney usually omitted the BV cards on their early video releases, but it's possible that the editors or perhaps editor wanted to use the BV logo and decided to insert the 1979 one. After all, this tape was released in 1980 though probably assembled in late 1979 since Disney struck the deal with Fotomat that year, and the tapes were all released for rental only in March 1980.

Remember when I talked about the Beauty and the Beast VHS having a trailer for the Sleeping Beauty re-release that did not happen? Well, it's an indicator of when these tapes are recorded. Pinocchio's 1992 theatrical re-release did not meet Disney's expectations which ultimately led to the cancellation of the Sleeping Beauty re-issue, which was set for spring 1993. That was in June 1992. Beauty and the Beast hit video in October of that year, so it's possible that the tape trailer reel was edited and finalized around April or May of 1992. A good 5-6 months in advance…

Going by that, those tapes would've been put together in September or October of 1979, maybe even earlier. So it is possible that the editor(s) decided to use the then-current Buena Vista logo to put before the film's opening credits sequence.

Or, and this is probably what did happen, the film was sourced from an international print that had the '79 BV card. What do you think?

On a side note, the 1993 VHS release of the film restored the logo but did not keep the anniversary spinning Mickey logo. The Cat From Outer Space's DVD on the other hand restores it, though there is no music, not sure about Hot Lead though… I don't have the DVD and I don't know anyone who owns it. I was told that Return from Witch Mountain (released earlier in 1978) began with the spinning Mickey and rainbow BV, though all the home video releases use the regular BV card.

Apparently, the fanfare used for the 1978 WDHE logo was used for the spinning Mickey. This 16mm print of an Italian Disney release from 1978, uploaded way back in 2006, proves it…

I have no idea what film this comes from, because the description never stated anything other than the description of the logo. The music used for the rainbow card (without BV because this film was distributed by Cinema International Corporation in Italy) is a faster, higher-pitched sounding variation of the music used for The Shaggy D.A.'s BV card. That leads me to guess that this is from a film print of The Shaggy D.A., albeit a sped-up one. (Possibly from a PAL tape?) The Shaggy D.A. hit US theaters in December 1976. IMDb lists various 1978 European release dates for the film (such as France and Germany), though Italy isn't on there, but I assume the film got a release in Italy sometime in 1978 and this whole intro was tacked onto it.

What else could it be?

On a side note, The Shaggy D.A.'s 1985 video release doesn't have a BV card, but it does keep the music before the start of the opening credits.

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