Monday, April 18, 2016

A Case of... 'Lady and the Tramp' European VHS Tapes


Today, I received a copy of the 1990 French VHS of Lady and the Tramp / La Belle et le Clochard...

One good look at the cover reveals that the French arm of Walt Disney Home Video had a sorta-kinda Classics line of its own : Les Chefs-D'Oeuvre, which translates to Masterpieces. Since it's a PAL/SECAM-formatted tape, I can't watch it in a proper manner. I get the garbled, G-major sounding mess that you usually get when trying to run these things on an NTSC VCR and TV setup.

But I was able to make out what was on the tape, previews and logos-wise...

The Sorcerer Mickey Walt Disney Classics logo is on there. 1989 variant, of course.

No different from the Finnish VHS of Lady and the Tramp, which was also released in 1990/91, the same time as the UK VHS. To back it up, and to make sure I wasn't seeing/hearing things, I went to YouTube and found the French VHS opening. The Classics logo is indeed on there...

Yet the UK tape follows the rules, and opens with the regular 1986 Walt Disney Home Video logo. I can't say if other European releases of this film from this time do the same or not. I looked at other French releases to see if they opened with a Classics logo or not, I couldn't find anything outside of this...

As I've said here before and as many collectors know, the Classics logo in all its forms rarely showed up in countries outside the United States, Canada, and Japan. Japan had a special version of the diamond logo, so our Classics animated intros weren't really used there.

A few Australian and Italian VHS releases used it on the packaging, some countries here and there had variations of the diamond logo on the packaging.

Some UK VHS releases from 1992 have a cut-short version of the Sorcerer Mickey Classics logo, 1992 variant with the bass-heavy music. This is on there because it precedes a trailer for The Great Mouse Detective. (For its UK video release, of course.)

There's an even weirder example: The 2003 UK VHS of Pinocchio uses the Sorcerer Mickey Classics logo (1992, bass-heavy variant), twice!

Other than that... Films were usually preceded by the 1986 Walt Disney Home Video logo.

So why the 1990 French and Finnish VHS editions of Lady and the Tramp? Why would a logo used only in North America pop up on these editions? It could that an editor liked the logo a lot and wanted to use it, or maybe it was a mere slip-up. If anything, this is the first ever European appearance of the Sorcerer Mickey Classics logo. If you ever wanted to see that intro before Lady and the Tramp, well... There you have it!

On a sidenote, before I had all the information we know about the Classics lines - and I'm talking early 2006 here - I had wondered if the Sorcerer Mickey Classics logo ever showed up on later printings of the 1987 North American VHS of Lady and the Tramp. Here in the US/Canada, Lady and the Tramp was released only once in the Classics line. It was available from October 1987 to spring 1988, you really had to get that one before it went!

October 1988 was when Cinderella hit home video in North America, and that very release was the debut of the Sorcerer Mickey Classics logo - albeit its rarely-used first variant with the gradient background and metallic diamond. Back then I didn't know that Lady and the Tramp went on moratorium long before the Cinderella tapes and discs were pressed (and the demo tape for Cinderella opens with the 1984 Classics logo!). I still wondered about that though... A VHS of Lady and the Tramp where the film is preceded by that very logo...

Here's a promo poster for the French release and the releases that accompanied it...


And here's a rather pandering TV spot for it...


Gotta love that some people keep these things... Oddly enough, I got my copy from another state, not France!

1 comment:

  1. "It was available from October 1987 to spring 1988, you really had to get that one before it went!"
    Of course, this fact makes the legal action led by Peggy Lee where she sued Disney in the early 1990s in regards to the movie's 1987 video release in the USA and Canada all the more stranger.

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