Friday, August 8, 2014

Re-release BV Cards

This recently popped in my head… Why did Disney not opt to make custom Buena Vista cards for re-released Disney animated classics in the 1950s?

After Disney set up their own distribution arm - Buena Vista - in 1953, re-releases of films formerly distributed by RKO would simply replace the RKO title cards with the then-brand new Buena Vista cards. Disney was smart to not make the logo for their newly-founded distribution arm a lengthy animated logo, unlike the other studios like 20th Century Fox and Paramount. That way, they could keep the fanfares used for each film's respective RKO cards and not disrupt the flows of the opening credits sequences.

The first pre-1953 Disney animated film to get a theatrical re-release after the formation of Buena Vista was Pinocchio in February 1954. However, that film opens with the standard blue/black gradient BV card…

And so did the post-1953 re-release of Dumbo, that re-release hit screens in 1959. Peter Pan's 1958 re-release used the standard card as well, and so on… At the same time, the then-new features Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty and One Hundred and One Dalmatians had custom BV title cards that fit in with their respective opening credits sequences…

I find it kind of odd that Disney didn't make new BV cards for the re-releases of Pinocchio, Bambi, et al that resembled their credits sequences. Like, I can imagine Pinocchio opening with the Buena Vista set against wood, because the standard logo looks like a wood carving to begin with. I can imagine Dumbo's BV against a circus poster.

Now to be fair, after around 1961, Disney just began using the standard gradient BV card for all new films including the animated ones. Everything from The Sword in the Stone to The Fox and the Hound didn't have custom BV cards, ditto the live action films, and there were very few exceptions such as The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967). Most Disney films released between 1961 and 1979 (when the weird-looking BV card was introduced) didn't have custom BV cards, so if any films were re-released during that period, a lack of a custom title card would make sense.

But, the following animated classics were re-released between 1954 and 1961…

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Peter Pan

So why did Disney not go the extra mile? Was it deemed unnecessary to do so? Were there even plans to make custom BV cards for re-releases of the classics that resembled the original RKO logos?

Not a huge issue, but a cool what-if scenario to picture in your head. What if Pinocchio's Buena Vista card resembled its original RKO title card and the film's opening credits backdrop… Same applies to the others.


  1. Did you know that "Bambi", "Cinderella", and possibly "Peter Pan" actually had custom Buena Vista credits on their Platinum Edition DVDs? The restoration team for those movies received credit for their work through new end titles reels, which matched/almost matched the main titles. "Distributed By Buena Vista Pictures Distribution" appears at the end of at least the first two.

    1. However, those "credits" were deleted when the older Disney animated films listed were released on Blu-Ray as part of the Diamond Editions, despite using the same transfers/restorations.