Friday, February 13, 2015

WDHV '92

Since a certain Disney animated film just hit Blu-ray recently, I figured I'd look at a series of title cards Walt Disney Home Video used in the early 1990s...

One Hundred and One Dalmatians was released on videocassette in the spring of 1992, and like any Disney classic on home video at the time, it sold faster than hotcakes on a Sunday morning brunch event. By the early 1990s, we began to see more previews of coming attractions on Disney VHS tapes in North America. Their European counterparts always came with previews, as far back as the mid 1980s even.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians' earliest and presumably rarest prints had one preview, and it was for Aladdin. Since Disney had just introduced their lilac blue "Feature Presentation" title card for their tapes, they decided to use that background and font for the screen preceding the previews. For certain titles, though…

The first two sets of pressings had three previews, two of which were saved for the end of the film. We'll get to those…

In re-issues of their animated classics, Disney took the Buena Vista title cards that usually preceded the opening credits sequences and moved them to the ends of each respective film. The then-new Walt Disney Pictures castle logo would replace the BV cards. Most videocassettes omitted BV logos all together, and rarely did you see one at the beginning or end of the film. Dalmatians was an exception.

Original videocassette printings ended with the silent Buena Vista logo fading in and out after the last scene fades out. This was the norm for a good many Disney animated classic re-issues, just watch the 1990 LaserDisc of Peter Pan. Reader and fellow Disney VHS collector attmay came across a 16mm print of Cinderella from 1987 that ends with the unappealing BV card from the late 70s/early 80s.

Later on, when the home video division decided to add two previews to the end of the cassette program, something had to be done.

Rather than just editing the BV card out of the film to make way for preview bumpers, they just kept it. Okay, sounds decent. What about errors again?

No… After the silent BV logo fades out, it appears again!

This time, we hear what sounds like an extended version or alternate take of the Walt Disney Home Video music and Mark Elliot's voice saying, "Stayed tuned for a preview of two new Disney classics…" Then it cross-fades into a black screen that shows us the Walt Disney font in red, as if the WDHV logo was cut horizontally in half. Below it is that same font used for the Feature Presentation cards: "Coming to Home Video" and "Coming on Video Cassette This Summer".

Then the second set of printings omitted the silent Buena Vista card altogether, just the BV card with the music and announcer playing over it appeared after the film ended. Abruptly, too. Don't soak in that bombastic finale of 'Dalmatian Plantation'!

This is one of the prime examples of a strange video editing error on a Disney videocassette…

And all of us collectors ask, "How could that error have happened?"

If you really look at this closing closely, it seems like a real rush-job. Forget the music and announcer over the BV card for a moment, look at the "Coming on Video Cassette This Summer" screen.

It's "videocassette", not "Video Cassette". Every other Disney release says "videocassette", ones before this one and ones after this one. It's as if they threw those bumpers together hastily, using the WDHV logo as their template, and also because the other ones say "coming to home video" or something like that.

Also... It seems like an awfully long way to roll out previews. It would've been easier to just make a card that says "Coming to Home Video This Summer", with some kind of music in the background. That way you don't interrupt the BV card, which should be silent should it be there when the film ends. And also... It makes viewers think there's one preview, when a second one is coming! Catch them by surprise!

The Great Mouse Detective trailer that follows is a slightly modified version of the film's re-release trailer. The Great Mouse Detective was re-released in February 1992 (coincidentally, on this very day! February 14th, 1992!), the trailer has to be from fall 1991 at the earliest. I reckon it was attached to Beauty and the Beast in theaters. The final shot of the trailer is some credits, which you see at the end of trailers. They forgot to edit it out, and it quickly crossfades to another bumper. This time the white text says "Coming This Fall To Home Video". No music, just Mark Elliott's voice, onto the Beauty and the Beast trailer.

Anyways, Disney used this theme for title cards on other 1992 Classics cassettes…

On 101 Dalmatians, this is accompanied
by the weird WDHV jingle and Mark Elliot
saying "Coming to Home Video".
On The Rescuers, Mark Elliot says "Coming soon
from Walt Disney Home Video!" and the Feature
Presentation music is used instead.


Used on Dalmatians
and The Great Mouse Detective.
There was no music in this one, on
either tape.

Only used on Beauty and the Beast.
It's at the end of the tape and it
uses the Feature Presentation music
and a different announcer.

These particular cards would never appear again after 1992. Beauty and the Beast, which hit video in October 1992, was the last release to use one. Disney opted for different title cards in the later years, they never really stuck with one major design unlike what they did in later years. The lilac blue screen pictured all the way above? That design scheme was only used for select tapes and printings.

First, there's this oddity. Also from 1992…

This appears on the Beauty and the Beast VHS, and it's accompanied by a rather upbeat horn jingle. The Beauty VHS also ports the "Coming Only to Theaters/1992" bumper over from the Dalmatians VHS, and adds that music. A variation has the Special Preview bumper saying "Previews". 

Oddly enough, a similar screen appears on the 1992 VHS of So Dear to My Heart

The same music is used, but a different announcer says something different…

Now for some other screens!

Seen on early 1995 printings of
Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection titles.
Used the 1991 WDHV music and an

The Lion King's VHS has this. FP music is used
along with Mark Elliott.

Oh... And let's not forget this one-time only oddity...

Only appears on The Rescuers...
As far as I know...

Why Disney made and never used this variation again, I don't know. It's just like the 1988 Classics logo, barely ever used after being introduced. And it was the first variant, no less!

Disney Home Video's editors and title card makers really ran with the theme in 1992, but didn't really stretch it by 1993. It would make scattered appearances at best, but out of all the bumpers and title cards Disney had on their tapes at the time, these were perhaps the most eye-grabbing due to the rather unexpected choice of background color and fonts. The Feature Presentation card stuck, but the bumpers didn't...


  1. So I guess while I'm here I might as well add some stuff...

    - On the 1992 VHS of Father of the Bride, there's a "Special PREVIEW After the Movie from Buena Vista Home Video" screen before the Feature Presentation screen of the time. Like the ones on So Dear to my Heart and Beauty and the Beast, it uses Fanfare to the Modern Man 3 as its background music.
    - Also on the Father of the Bride VHS is a Now on Videocassette screen with a low-pitched variant of the Feature Presentation fanfare and Grant Goodeve saying something along the lines of "look for these hit titles available to buy at your favorite video rental store". This creeped me out as a kid... (Also note that both of these are done as black-blue bumpers and they don't appear on reprints of the VHS).
    - Some later printings of the Lion King 1995 VHS have a lilac-blue screen that says "Coming Soon to Videocassette". In the background is the FP fanfare and Brian Cummings saying "And now, coming soon to videocassette". I believe this bumper only appears on tapes with the Aristocats preview.
    - It's also worth noting the original variant of the Feature Presentation logo with the deeper announcer made surprise reappearances on several 1999 Disney tapes (ones that didn't use special bumpers). Some tapes that include this include the 1999 tapes of 101 Dalmations and The Rescuers.

  2. So I'm not so sure where to put this, but seeing as you don't have these tapes, I think you'll be interested.. I was looking through eBay when I found this..
    The lot's a lot of pre-1986 tapes.. but the big three are from the Cartoon Classics Collections.

  3. I and a few other people at the CLG Wiki on wikifoundry thought Grant Goodeve was the announcer of the 1989 Gold Feature Presentation on Pre-1992 Disney tapes. However, now, I'm not entirely sure that the announcer was not Brian Cummings (the reason we thought the Gold FP's announcer was not Brian Cummings was because he sounded deeper on the Gold FP and other bumpers).

  4. Speaking of the 101 Dalmatians Diamond Edition, starting with that release Disney quietly retired the individual DVD equivalent for their own animation only (excluding Pixar and live action/television releases from the studio) meaning you'd have to get the DVD by purchasing the Blu-Ray version. Another face palm moment from Disney. They should've known there are people who still buy DVDs.