Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Classics Variation Guide - Part 1


What you're seeing here is a guide to the variants of the Classics editions... It is a work-in-progress that's very much incomplete...

NOTES
- The easy way to tell the difference between United States copies and Canadian copies: If it doesn't have the FBI warnings on the labels and tape openings, it's a Canadian copy.

- The traditional Classics spine layout was introduced in October 1986 - From top-to-bottom/left-to-right: Classics Diamond, WDHV logo, film title, character profile, stock number/CC...

- There are four variants of the Sorcerer Mickey Classics logo that was introduced in 1988. There's the 1988 variant, the 1989 variant, the 1992 variant, and the 1992 variant with slightly different audio.

* Note: All photos are by me except where noted...


ROBIN HOOD
1st Classics Release (1984)


Original - December 4, 1984
Description: Came in a black padded clamshell case with non-removable artwork. A molded Classics Diamond logo is on the inside of the clamshell. The tape label is the traditional 80s big sticker that accommodates the Betamax versions. Being an early Classics edition, the film logo is printed in red on the cassette label, with a line separating that/the diamond from the anti-piracy warning/additional text.


General Tape Program
- 1984 Red-Orange Anti-Piracy Cards
- 1984 The Classics Logo
- The Film : No distributor title card

The first edition has two printings. The earlier printings have the 5-minute 'Walt Disney and You' promo after the film ends, the later editions do not. Otherwise, the tape program is the same.


Re-issue - October 14, 1986
Description: Came in a white clamshell case with removable artwork. Nothing inside the case itself. The tape label has the Diamond logo above the film logo, and no line separating those from the anti-piracy warnings. The then-new Classics spine scheme is used here (from top to bottom): Classics Diamond, WDHV logo, film title, character profile, stock number/CC.


There are no variants of this tape, it also has the same exact tape program as the previous edition.

This release went on moratorium in early 1987... Or so it seems...

A fellow collector, who I'll refer to by his Instagram name big.totoro64, has found a printing from late 1987... Maybe some accidentally slipped through the cracks? Maybe it's a typo?

 
He also happened to find... This... (I have a 1986 Dumbo pressing - on Betamax - with this kind of label as well.)


~~~~


PINOCCHIO
1st Classics Release (1985)


Original - July 16, 1985
Description: Came in a black padded clamshell case with non-removable artwork. A molded Classics Diamond logo is on the inside of the clamshell. The tape label is the traditional 80s big sticker that accommodates the Betamax versions. Being an early Classics edition, the film logo is printed in red on the cassette label, with a line separating that/the diamond from the anti-piracy warning/additional text.


General Tape Program
- 1984 Red-Orange Anti-Piracy Cards
- 1984 The Classics Logo
- The Film : No distributor title card

The first edition has two printings. The earlier printings contain a trailer for The Black Cauldron, which was yet to open in theaters nationwide. Since the tape was released a mere week before that film's North American theatrical debut, second printings are far more common. The second printings eliminate the Black Cauldron trailer.

On a side note, The Black Cauldron trailer included here has seconds of the infamous deleted material that then-Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg cut out in the months/weeks leading up to the film's release.

There is a variant of this release that comes in a white padded clamshell. Very few copies exist. [Photo of that coming soon...]

This release went on moratorium in February 1986.


Re-issue - October 14, 1986
Description: Came in a white clamshell case with removable artwork. Nothing inside the case itself. The tape label has the Diamond logo above the film logo, and no line separating those from the anti-piracy warnings. The then-new Classics spine scheme is used here (from top to bottom): Classics Diamond, WDHV logo, film title, character profile, stock number/CC.


General Tape Program
- 1986 Dark Red Anti-Piracy Cards
- "Video Dealer" Bumper
- 1984 The Classics Logo : "Freeze" Variation
- The Film: No distributor title card

The "freeze" variation of the Classics logo is common on 1986-era printings. The logo, after its animation and music concludes, freezes for roughly ten seconds before it fades out.

This release went on moratorium in April 1987.

~~~


DUMBO
1st Classics Release (1985)



Original - December 3, 1985
Description: Came in a black padded clamshell case with non-removable artwork. A molded Classics Diamond logo is on the inside of the clamshell. The tape label is the traditional 80s big sticker that accommodates the Betamax versions. Being an early Classics edition, the film logo is printed in red on the cassette label, with a line separating that/the diamond from the anti-piracy warning/additional text.


The 1985 Classics edition of Dumbo is unique in that the tape label does not have "Walt Disney's" above the film's logo.


Two different printings exist. While both open with the 1984 Red-Orange anti-piracy cards and the 1983 Walt Disney Home Video logo, the first printings are different. Before the film's opening credits start, we see the blue MPAA rating screen that always played before films in theaters (most VHS tapes of the era were sourced from film prints), then the Buena Vista title card that ran before the film on its post-1953 re-issues.

The second set of pressings eliminate those two screens.

The BV card has no music accompanying it, which is strange because Dumbo's original opening title card - the RKO logo - had accompanying music.

Side Note: I had seen a 16mm print of Dumbo back in early 2010. The print must've been from 1972 or 1976, as it had both the blue MPAA screen (that screen itself was introduced in 1970), and the Buena Vista card. The Buena Vista card had no accompanying music on this print, which leads me to believe that the music was accidentally chopped off of the post-1953 film prints of this film.
 
There is a variant of this release that comes in a white padded clamshell. Very few copies exist.


Photos by eBay user almebrubrun


Re-issue - October 14, 1986
Description: Came in a white clamshell case with removable artwork. Nothing inside the case itself. The new Classics spine scheme is used here (from top to bottom): Classics Diamond, WDHV logo, film title, character profile, stock number/CC.

There are four variations of this edition's videocassette label...

Variant #1: "Walt Disney's"-less

Photo by eBay user rhino69

Variant #2: "Walt Disney's"-less with separating line


Variant #3: Has "Walt Disney's" above the film's title

Not my photos. These are from an eBay listing.

Variant #4: Very rare - has the 1985-86 Walt Disney Home Video label design... Also erroneously says the film runs "83 minutes"!


There are two tape program variations. Some copies have the "freezing" version of the Classics logo, others don't...


Re-issue - October 6, 1987
Description: The artwork is the same as the previous editions, but the "VHS" and "BETA" text that would be at the bottom of the front cover are no longer present. The stock number now reads 024 on the side.


There are no variants of the videocassette label, and there no program variants. The Classics logo does not freeze, either.

~~~~


THE SWORD IN THE STONE
1st Classics Release (1986)


Original - March 24, 1986
Description: Came in a hard black clamshell case with non-removable artwork. The tape label is the traditional 80s big sticker that accommodates the Betamax versions. The label has a line separating the film logo/the diamond from the anti-piracy warning/additional text.


There is a variant of the original issue: Some of the cases were white padded clamshells. Very few copies exist.


The variations lie in the tape program itself. Both sets of printings contain the 1984 anti-piracy cards and the trailer for The Journey of Natty Gann (which was coming to home video at the time): The early printings open with the 1983 Walt Disney Home Video logo, the subsequent printings open with the 1984 Classics logo. The film itself is missing the Buena Vista title card.


Re-issue - October 14, 1986
Description: Came in a white clamshell case with removable artwork. Nothing inside the case itself. The tape label has the Diamond logo above the film logo, and no line separating those from the anti-piracy warnings. The new Classics spine scheme is used here (from top to bottom): Classics Diamond, WDHV logo, film title, character profile, stock number/CC.


There are no variations in the tape program as far as I know...

Third Edition - October 6, 1987
Description: The artwork is the same as the previous editions, but the "VHS" and "BETA" that would be at the bottom of the front cover are no longer present. The stock number now reads 229 on the side. The "Disney's" heading is changed to "Walt Disney's" on both the cover and the tape label...

There are no variants of the videocassette label. The program is the same as the previous common version, minus the Journey of Natty Gann trailer.

There is a program variant. Some printings have different editing. The anti-piracy cards normally fade out and fade in, on these select printings of this edition, there is no smooth transition between the warning cards. The first one cuts right to the next...

~~~~


ALICE IN WONDERLAND
1st Classics Release (1986)



Original - May 28, 1986
Description: In terms of the packaging, this is the most unique of the Classics releases, for it is the only release in the series that comes in a cardboard slipcover case. This was because it was meant to headline a promotion, a sale consisting of live-action films and cartoon compilations that were also packaged in slip cases. This sale was called the 'Wonderland Sale'.


There are two variants of the tape master itself. The early printings open with the 1983 Walt Disney Home Video logo, whereas the subsequent printings open with the 1984 Classics logo (the freezing version).

The general program includes the 1984 red-orange anti-piracy cards, and the version of the film omits the Buena Vista card, but does keep the opening fanfare that accompanies it. It's instead set to a black screen.



Re-issue - October 14, 1986
Description: Came in a white clamshell case with removable artwork. Nothing inside the case itself. The tape label has the Diamond logo above the film logo, and no line separating those from the anti-piracy warnings. The new Classics spine scheme is used here (from top to bottom): Classics Diamond, WDHV logo, film title, character profile, stock number/CC.

There are two tape label variants...

Variant #1 has a different Classics diamond graphic, and the line separating the two halves of the label.


Variant #2 has no line, and the MPAA oval logo is not next to the rating.


The program is the same as the second printings of the previous release.


Re-issue - October 6, 1987
Description: The artwork is the same as the previous editions, but the "VHS" and "BETA" text that would be at the bottom of the front cover are no longer present. The stock number now reads 036 on the side.


There are no variants of the videocassette label.

The program has variations.

There is a program variant. Some printings have different editing. The anti-piracy cards normally fade out and fade in, on these select printings of this edition, there is not smooth transition between the warning cards. The first one cuts right to the next...

There's another rare variant. This one has the jump-cut anti-piracy cards, AND has the blue MPAA rating screen and the Buena Vista card. These two cards were eliminated by the previous Classics editions, but were present on the original 1981 home video release.

Re-issue - May 3, 1991
Description: This is where things get a little complicated... In 1989, two Classics releases were given all-new covers: Dumbo and The Sword in the Stone. Both of these films never went on moratorium during the Classics line's decade-long run. However, the covers housed the same tapes that were packaged in the previous editions. Then they would get new labels in 1990, and then get brand new tape masters in 1991 that updated the logos/cards/film prints.

Alice in Wonderland didn't get a brand new cover in 1989, nor did it get a brand new label in 1990.

NickWilliam89's copy of this version.

It did, however, get an updated tape master, which sported an ink label much like the 1991 tape masters for Dumbo and Sword. The program contains the 1984 red-orange anti-piracy screens, and the 1989 Walt Disney Classics logo. The film omits the Buena Vista card, but keeps the fanfare.

eBay listing.

Re-issue - 1991/1992?
Description: This last edition had one minor difference... The cover now said "Walt Disney's Classic", to keep in the line with the post-1988 front cover headings. Prior to 1988, the covers for Classics releases would say "Walt Disney's", "Disney's", or "Walt Disney Productions'". After 1988, they would either say "Walt Disney's Classic" or "A Walt Disney Classic"...

~

 
SLEEPING BEAUTY
1st CLASSICS RELEASE (1986)


Original - October 14, 1986
Description: Sleeping Beauty's home video debut not only ushered in a new, highly successful era for Walt Disney Home Video, it also ushered in a new style of Classics packaging...

Instead of the Classics diamond logo being at the bottom of the spine, it would now be at the top. Next to it would be the "Walt Disney Home Video logo", and next to that would be title. Then at the bottom would be a diamond with a character's head inside. This is the style that stuck from then until 1994, the year the Classics line ended in North America.


The tape program used the rather uncommon dark red anti-piracy cards that were introduced in 1986 and used mostly that year and in 1987, and a few random times in the ensuing years. Following that is a bumper for video dealers, which is commonly known as the "Video Dealer Announcement". This is followed by the 1984 Classics intro, and the start of the film has the Buena Vista card intact.

There are no variants of this release. It went out of print in March 1988.

~

LADY AND THE TRAMP
1st CLASSICS RELEASE (1987)

Original - October 6, 1987
Description: The first Classics release to not have the text "VHS" or "BETA" at the bottom of the front cover. Like Sleeping Beauty, this was a hugely successful, record-breaking release. Over 3.2 million copies were sold before it went on moratorium in spring 1988. This would also be the last ever Classics edition to use the 1984 Classics intro, and the last to have the full diamond logo on the back cover.
The tape program consists of the red-orange anti-piracy screens and the 1984 Classics intro. The start of the film does not have the Buena Vista card intact, but it does play the opening music over a black screen.

There are two variants of the tape label. Some printings have the diamond on top...

Others have it on the bottom...


In 1990, Walt Disney Home Video's French arm released the film on home video. Unlike most of its European counterparts, this sported a unique French Classics-style logo: 'Les Chefs-D'Oeuvre'.


The tape label itself, just for the heck of it...


The tape program itself, uncharacteristic of a European Disney VHS tape, contains the full 1989 Walt Disney Classics logo!

~~~~

4 comments:

  1. Pretty good! I have the 1986 edition of "Robin Hood," the 1985 edition of "Pinocchio" (with the "Black Cauldron" trailer!) and the 1986 edition as well, a 1988 printing of "Dumbo" (identical to the 1987 version, but the label has the title on top and the diamond logo in the center, and is distributed by Buena Vista Home Video), a 1987 printing of "The Sword in the Stone" (with the jump-cut FBI cards), and a 1990-1991 printing of "Alice in Wonderland" that is basically identical to the 1987/1988 printings.
    As I said, the reason "Dumbo" and "The Sword in the Stone" had the cover artwork redone in 1989 was as part of promoting the home video debut of "Bambi," so that they wouldn't really stick out or look dated next to "Bambi" on video shelves.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the information. I've come across a promotional copy of the PINOCCHIO 1st Classics Release (second printing). Plays beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I found a photo of the 1991/1992 edition of "Alice of Wonderland"

    http://images.wikia.com/disney/images/c/ca/AliceinWonderland1991VHS.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi all! Does anyone know why my Little Mermaid VHS was not stamped/painted with movie name and FBI warning? Its not like all of the other ones I see on sale sites. I am sure it's not a bootleg copy because I bought it myself the first week it came out in the stores. It has the same grey/silver code numbers on the side of the tape that others do (I'm guessing serial numbers). However, mine is missing the white painted logo and FBI warning that comes on the top all of the tapes. I am 100% sure it's a Black Diamond Series banned cover and real movie because I am the one who bought it. Have you seen any others that ONLY have the serial number on the side, but somehow missed the painting on the top of the tape itself? Does this make it more or less valuable? Thanks!!! L

    ReplyDelete