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Disney Classics Videos - A Guide

I am a collector of the Walt Disney classics collection on UK VHS PAL format and have been researching the variations between different releases of each classic.
I have identified several 'generation's of VHS releases as follows

Generation 1 videos (ca 1985/6) have no classics branding. they have a yellow spine with the red Walt Disney Home Video logo and a three digit number to identify the film.
They have the film title in black on the spine. On the front the top inch or so has Sorcerer Mickey (from Fantasia) and the red WDHV logo on a yellow background.
The Picture and title of the film are in an inset frame below this. They are in a solid white case embossed on the inside left with the Walt Disney logo and Sorcerer
Mickey in separate squares.

Generation 2 videos (ca 1987/8) now have the Disney classics logo in place of the WDHV one. Disney is in red in the corporate font on a white background with
Classics below in white capitals on a blue oblong. There are two variants of gen 2: gen 2a have the same three digit number as gen1, but on gen2b the three digit number has been extended to a 6 digit one with a 'D' prefixed to it. On gen 2 there is now a homolgrammatic
film camera circle as an anti piracy measure. The picture and title on the front now fill the front panel. And the film title on the spine is now in red lettering and still
on a yellow background. From gen 2 tapes usually feature a key character (or characters) from the film in a square on the lower spine.
Generation 3 videos (1989 to 1996) mark the heyday of the classics on the VHS format and now use gold lettering for the logo. There are two variants, 3a (ca 1989/90) which have the
words 'A Walt Disney classic' written in one line (usually) with the Walt Disney bit larger and in corporate font, and 3b (ca 1990-96) which has the words 'Walt Disney Classics'
with the word Classics now placed symetrically underneath the Walt Disney word logo. The C in Classics is now slightly larger than the rest of the word. From around 1992 disney films
are close-captioned and therefore include the square-ish speech bubble logo at the base of the spine. The spine is now either in a plain colour appropriate to the rest
of the sleeves colour scheme or else is'wrapped around' from the picture on the front. The key character square on the spine is now smaller and the character usually
appears to be bursting out of the frame. The case is now a standard see-through case which can get switched at charity shops and the like without being obvious at purchase.
The see-through case allows adverts for other videos and upcoming cinema releases to be placed on the inside sleeve. 

Generation 4 videos (1997 to 2000) are similar to gen 3b except the word classics is now in black capitals on a gold ribbon (although the colouring may vary if it clashes
with the rest of the colour scheme (eg gen 4 version of Lady and the Tramp). The film camera hologram has now been replaced with a slightly larger framed sorcerer mickey.

Generation 5 videos (2001 to 2004) are similar again but this time they have an arced 'shimmer' between Walt Disney and Classics. This logo is also used on the DVDs from this date.
For this generation the VHS releases are really only a secondary format now. The VHS are now in a solid blue case with an indent and embossed mickey logo on the opening edge. Due to the solid blue case there is no longer any advertising or illustration on the inner sleeves.
From 2005 Walt Disney no longer produced video cassettes for the UK market.
It would appear, based on the videos in my growing collection, that the changeover from gen 4 to gen 5 was gradual. First the inner sleeve adverts were stopped during the end of gen 4 (about 2000?), then the shimmer logo replaced the ribbon one (late 00 or early 01?), before finally the blue case was introduce from some point in 01 or 02). Therefore some releases in the period 00 to 01/2 could be seen as hybrids of gen 4 and 5.   

Things that don't fit.

I have a copy of Snow White best described as a proto-generation 2 layout. It has no barcode just a gap, and has a torn piece of white tape across the opening edge that
says in blue writing 'Imported for UK use). I have no idea whether these imports were normal or legal. There is nothing preceding the actual film on the tape (i.e. no logos
or trailers) and the number used on the spine is actually Sleeping Beauty's. Snow White wasn't released in the UK on VHS till 1994, so I don't know how this tape came to be.

Fantasia used the Walt Disney's Masterpiece on it's original (and only?) VHS release in 1991. I believe this was because it was released worldwide on the same day. It's
the only time the Materpiece branding has been used on VHS releases in the UK.

I have a couple of tapes where the hologram is not actually hologrammatic and the start of the tape has the green US F.B.I slide not the Blue UK one. These are clearly
pirate copies.

On the following page is catalogue of the known variants of each film on UK VHS. 

Page Last Updated - 14/06/2013
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