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First and Last Laserdisc question

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#1 of 36 Eric Huffstutler

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Posted December 20 2005 - 03:54 AM

What was the first lasterdisc title released in 1978 and the last in 2002 and are they both available on DVD?

#2 of 36 WillG



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Posted December 20 2005 - 03:58 AM

I don't know about the first, but I read somewhere that the last was "End of Days" with Arnold Schwartzenegger. It is available on DVD
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#3 of 36 ChristopherDAC



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Posted December 20 2005 - 04:41 AM

I assume, from the way your question is phrased, that you are referring to commercial discs marketed to the public. Do you specify "in the United States"? Releases in Japan continued after those in the U.S., and industrial pressings probably after that.
Unfortunately, there is no single answer to the first question. On the day MCA DiscoVision discs and Phillips LaserVision players became available in Atlanta in December 1978, there were about a dozen titles available. If you want to know what they were, I can look into it. Many of the DiscoVision releases, particularly the "special interest" stuff, are still unavailable on any other format.

#4 of 36 Eric Huffstutler

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Posted December 20 2005 - 05:31 AM

Thanks ChristopherDAC. Yes, if you would. I know when DVD came to the US, Warner had a DVD package of several titles for trial market run. By numbering I believe "Batman" was the first movie DVD. Yet like with LaserDisc, there were also even earlier titles including in Japan. I have a mint original copy of LumiVision's Imax "Tropical Rainforest" title in its original CD sized jewel case. These Imax series were supposed to be the very first US commercial release DVDs.

Though "End of Days" was probably the last movie title, I wonder if "The Rome Disc" by Ponessa Productions of Montana released in April 2002 is the "last" LaserDisc as they claim? I know "End of Days" is on DVD since I have it Posted Image


#5 of 36 Jesse Skeen

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Posted December 20 2005 - 06:23 AM

The DiscoVision "Jaws" has a catalog number of 001.
Home video oddities, old commercials and other junk: http://www.youtube.com/user/eyeh8nbc

#6 of 36 jim.vaccaro


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Posted December 20 2005 - 09:35 PM

How fitting that "End of Days" would be the last laserdisc pressed. Heh. Posted Image

#7 of 36 Grady Reid

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Posted December 21 2005 - 01:49 AM

I seem to remember seeing a laserdisc pre-order list in an old Sight and Sound (may they rest in peace) catalog from late 2000. The only title in that list was Mission Impossible 2. I seem to remember around that time many upcoming laserdiscs were cancelled because pre-orders were so low. So I'm sure more were planned than were actually released. (I think the last new laserdisc I bought before the market dropped out was The Lost World, which would've been in early '98.

#8 of 36 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted December 21 2005 - 02:36 AM


SRD = Spectral Recording Digital


11th December - Jaws (1975) (NTSC, P&S/CAV, DiscoVision, USA)


12th May - Coyote's Lament (NTSC, CAV, DiscoVision, USA)
2nd July - Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977) (NTSC, P&S/CAV DiscoVision USA)

1941 (1979) (NTSC, P&S/CAV, DiscoVision, USA)
On Vacation with Mickey Mouse and Friends (NTSC, CAV, DiscoVision, USA)
At Home with Donald Duck (NTSC, CAV, DiscoVision, USA)


5th May - The Onion Field (1979) (PAL, P&S, United Kingdom)
26th November - Cheech and Chong's Next Movie (1980) (NTSC, P&S, DiscoVision, USA)


30th March - Flash Gordon (1980) (NTSC, P&S, DiscoVision USA
13th March - The Warriors (1979) (NTSC, P&S, USA)
9th October - Nogiku no gotoki kimi nariki (She Was Like a Wild Chrysanthemum) (1955) (NTSC, Japan)
9th October - Just Friends (NTSC, Japan)

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) (NTSC, P&S, NTSC, USA)
Beatles: Let It Be (1970) (NTSC, P&S, USA)
Autumn Sonata (1978) (NTSC, P&S, USA)
Alien (1979) (NTSC, Original English dialogue; Japanese dub, Japan)
The Godfather (1972) (NTSC, P&S, USA)


Hello Dolly! (1969) (PAL, P&S, United Kingdom)
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) (PAL, P&S, United Kingdom)
The Baltimore Bullet (1980) (PAL, P&S, United Kingdom)
Unternehmen Capricorn (1978) (PAL, Germany)
Ein Mann sieht rot (1974) (PAL, P&S, Germany)
Geschichte der O (1975) (PAL, P&S, Uncut, Germany
55 Days at Peking (1963) ANA 1982 PAL United Kingdom
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976, TV) (PAL, United Kingdom)
The Pied Piper (1972) (1.66:1 Letterbox (NTSC, Original English dialogue; Japanese dub, Japan)
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) (NTSC, P&S, Japan)
To Hell with the Devil (Mo deng tian shi) (1981) (1.85:1 Letterbox, Japan)
Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) (NTSC, P&S, USA)
Days of Heaven (1978) (NTSC, P&S, USA)
The Gambler (1974) (NTSC, P&S, USA)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974) (NTSC, P&S, USA)
National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) (PAL, P&S, United Kingdom)
The Blues Brothers (1980) (PAL, P&S, United Kingdom)
Chinatown (1974) (PAL, P&S, United Kingdom)
Raise the Titanic (1980) (PAL, P&S, SRD, United Kingdom


Laservision with Digital Dound Demonstration Disc (NTSC, USA)

Citizen Kane (1941) (NTSC, Criterion, USA)
# Chapter 27 is a preview in which "The cast of 'Citizen Kane' is introduced"
# Chapter 28 is a visual essay by Robert Carringer
# Chapter 29 is the original theatrical trailer

King Kong (1933) (NTSC, Criterion, USA)
Commentary by Ron Haver

Manhattan (1979) (NTSC, 2.35:1MGM/UA, USA)
- Problematic transfer

Several CED (a needle/stylus video disc format) titles were issued in letterbox format in 1984:

January - Amarcord - 1.66:1
The Long Goodbye - 2.35:1
Manhattan - 2.35:1
Monty Python and the Holy Grail - 1.85:1

King of Hearts - 2.35:1 (released by RCA)
- RCA called this their "innovative widescreen mastering technique," and on the back
of the caddy provided an explanation for the black bands at the top and bottom of the
television screen. CED was the first video format to feature letterboxing, with the release
of Amarcord in January 1984. This was eight months prior to the release of
Manhattan on LaserDisc, which is often mistakenly considered the first
letterboxed release.

Click here for more info: CED

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) (1975)(NTSC, 2.35:1 Letterbox, Japan)
- 105-minute version

25th December - Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) (NTSC, CAV, 2.35:1 Letterbox, Japan)

Blade Runner: Special Edition (Theatrical cut) (NTSC, 2.35:1, Dolby Pro-Logic?/CAV/Uncut, USA)

- The original European release version, with footage cut
from the American theatrical release. This version includes
the narration by Deckard and longer ending that was removed from the Director's Cut.
- Gouache illustrations, pen and marker drawings, an
preliminary sketches by Syd Mead, the film's "visual
- Detailed scene-by-scene analysis
- Trivia test and Blade Runner bibliography

Star Wars (1977)(NTSC, 2.35:1, SRD, USA)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (NTSC, 2.35:1, SRD, USA)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) (NTSC, 2.35:1,USA)

10th November - 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)(NTSC, 2.20:1, SRD, USA)

26th November - Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Special Edition (NTSC, 2.35:1, SRD/CAV, Criterion, USA)
- Contained both 1977 and 1980 versions via manual programmable branching
- Making-of
- 1,000 still frames
- Screenplay for deleted scenes
- Publicity material.


First batch of Sony's 1035i (interlaced), high-definition "MUSE HI-VISION LASERDISC" releases:

21st May - Bugsy (1991) (1.85:1/16:9, SRD, Japan)
21st May - A League of Their Own (1992) (1.85:1/16:9, SRD, Japan)
21st June - Lawrence of Arabia (1962) (2.20:1/16:9, SRD, Japan)
5th August - Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) (2.35:1/16:9, SRD/+CAV, Japan)
21st August - The Silence of the Lambs (1991) (1.85:1/16:9, Japan)
22nd September - Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) (1.85:1/16:9, SRD, Japan)
21st December - Universal Soldier (1992) (1.85:1/16:9, Japan)
21st December - Chaplin (1992) (1.85:1/16:9, Japan)

Releases continued sporadically until 1997. Most transfer of films have problems,
ie unstable colour, artifacts, etc. Some transfer are amazing, though. This was
the first step towards the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray revolution.

31st January - Clear and Present Danger (1994) (NTSC, 2.35:1 Letterbox, AC3, THX, USA)
- First ever AC3 Laserdisc?


First batch of Japanse "Squeeze Laserdisc" (16x9 Anamorphic) releases:

(Test discs from Sony for the Triniton widescreens TVs were released in 1995 in the UK and Japan)

25th January - Alaska: Last Frontier (1994) (NTSC, SQZ/SRD/CAV, Japan)
25th September - Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) (NTSC, 2.35:1, SQZ, AC3, Japan)
25th September - Cliffhanger (1993) (NTSC, 2.35:1, SQZ/AC3, Japan)
25th September - Basic Instinct (1992) (NTSC, 1.85:1, SQZ/AC3/Uncut, Japan)
25th September - Stargate (1994)(NTSC, 1.85:1, SQZ/AC3, Japan)

More releases followed, including a superior Terminator 2 set in May 1998.

These discs can't be played back on a 4:3 screen unsqueezed.

23rd February - X-Men (2000) (NTSC, 2.35:1 Letterbox, AC3, Japan)
21st September - Tokyo Raiders (2000) (Letterbox, AC3, Japan)

A link not in the Wikipedia article is this one, an article by our very own, Rachael B:

Does Rachael still post here?

I'm off to travel back in time to get a 1990 Criterion Close Encounters boxed set without laser-rot. Thanks for reading - bye! Posted Image

#9 of 36 ChristopherDAC



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Posted December 21 2005 - 02:49 AM

Like most everything on the Wikipedia, that article is not very useful.
DiscoVision reference numbers were created for the whole DiscoVision catalogue, and most categories had an "001"; 01-001 was the user's manual for the PR-7820 player used in GM dealerships, which is probably datable to mid-1979 since the GM players were introduced for the 1980 model year. 11-001 is "The Sting". 12-001 is "Jaws", several different versions in fact, including one in CLV. 13-001 is "The Andromeda Strain". And so forth. If I refer to my printed references, I can probably find a list of what was actually in the stores -- DiscoVision's QC problems meant that what they pressed for release and what they did release were not always the same thing.

#10 of 36 Joe Caps

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Posted December 21 2005 - 04:20 AM

I got one of the first laserdisc machines sold the first day in Atlanta for the test marketing.
All discs were CAV as they had nopt developed CLV discs yet.
On that day I got Jaws, The Birds, 1941, American Graffitti, Saturday Night Fever, Going MyWay, Bride of frankenstein.

#11 of 36 ChristopherDAC



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Posted December 21 2005 - 04:39 AM

Ah! Wonderful. Just what I -- and presumably the original poster -- wanted: positive IDs on some of the discs available "at launch". Curiously, those are not the discs usually seen in the MagnaVision promo photos. I have an old Radio-Electronics here with "MacArthur", "Which Way Up" [Richard Pryor], "Slaughterhouse Five", "World of Abbot and Costello", and "Slap Shot" [Paul Newman] shown.

#12 of 36 Eric Huffstutler

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Posted December 21 2005 - 08:31 AM

Any idea where I can find a first issue (not extended play) of Jaws by DiscoVision for sale? See some extended issues but not the older version. See other first release DiscoVision discs for sale real cheap. Guess their quality varied a bit from what I've read.

#13 of 36 Ian_H


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Posted December 21 2005 - 08:55 AM

Like most everything on the Wikipedia, that article is not very useful.

Agreed. There are some mistakes. Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't the Criterion Blade Runner the "international" version with some more violence and not the true theatrical version? Also the bit about LDs being more expensive than VHS while on the surface is true but at the time of release unless the film was a huge blockbuster (100 million at the time)the VHS was released at rental prcing which was in upwards of $90.00 or more where the LD was $29.99 - $39.99. There were plenty of titles that never made sell-through on VHS and the LD was the only way to go in terms of price. The only reason why I bought a laser disc player is because I wanted to own Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. The VHS was $109.99 and the LD was $39.99. Granted I did have to spend $500.00 for an LD player but I have had up to 300 lds over the years so the money evened out.


#14 of 36 ChristopherDAC



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Posted December 21 2005 - 09:22 AM

The general quality of DiscoVisions is fairly poor by modern standards. The transfers are all full-screen 4:3, and many of them don't look very good -- contrast, brightness, and saturation are all problematic, and there is a good deal of speckling, both from the film elements and from poor manufacturing. Manufacturing defects are the real problem, and can leave you with a disc full of dropout -- I have seen what appeared to be a bit of autumn leaf pressed into the plastic! Also, the audio, analog without CX noise reduction, seems to be taken from opticals and is often both dull and tinny.
If you really want JAWS DiscoVision, I would watch the LDDb shop listings [v. my sig] and Jeff's Used Movie Finder. Various DiscoVisions show up occasionally in used book stores, and so forth; I've seen a Disney disc [which Disney denies exists], Satuday Night Fever, all kinds of things. You just have to keep an eye out.

Yah, the only "U.S. Theatrical" Blade Runner was, as I recall, the Embassy pan-scan job. The Criterion isn't it.

In a more general way, a scholarly analysis of Wikipedia a while back found that commonly-believed misinformation tended to drive real knowledge out because people who think they know a little about something suddenly become experts when there's no credential check. Posted Image

#15 of 36 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted December 21 2005 - 11:00 AM

No, no; the Wikipedia on Laserdisc is 100% accurate, just look: Laserdisc at Wikipedia

See? Posted Image

#16 of 36 RyanAn



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Posted December 21 2005 - 03:15 PM

I thought Episode I was the last one... how many more came out?


#17 of 36 ChristopherDAC



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Posted December 21 2005 - 04:12 PM

Oh no! Star Wars Episode I was a late release, mid-2000, but Mission: Impossible 2, The Sixth Day, X-Men, and a number of others came out in Japan in 2001, and some were released in the U.S. in late 2000 -- Bringing out the Dead, Brain Damage: Special Edition, something called "Deadbeat by Dawn", Sleepy Hollow, a couple of Japanese monster movies, Vampyros Lesbos, for example. End of Days was a mid-2000 U.S. release, maybe the last U.S. release with AC-3 5.1 [they got cheap, near the end] and LDDb can't find the Japanese edition right now. There were probably 150-200 commercial releases after "Episode 1", mostly in Japan.

#18 of 36 Joseph Bolus

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Posted December 21 2005 - 06:09 PM

I thought Episode I was the last one...

Star Wars: Episode I was released to LD in April of 2000 *only* in Japan. U.S. consumers had to "make do" with a VHS Deluxe Widescreen edition of the movie (or import the LD from Japan) until its DVD debut in November of 2001.

The point is, there was never a domestic LD release of Ep I.

#19 of 36 Nelson Au

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Posted December 22 2005 - 04:21 AM

I do recall very clearly in 1979 or 1980 seeing Star Trek The Motion Picture being shown at video stores and I believe another member once corrected me a few years ago that is was not an LD, but a disc in a cartridge. That sounds like the CED described above. While not the first LD, it seems to be an early form of it.

#20 of 36 ChristopherDAC



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Posted December 22 2005 - 04:54 AM

Believe it or not, CED {RCA's "Capacitance Electronic Disc"} actually came to market after the MCA-Philips LaserDisc. CEDs had to be kept in a protective caddy to keep off dust, since they were played with a needle and the grooves were very narrow and shallow [micron dimensions]. Another stylus format, TeD, was marketed in Europe in the middle 70s, but it achieved no acceptance because the one-sided discs only played for 5 minutes.
CED's selling point was cheapness, but its lack of features, relatively audio/video low quality, and pervasive problems [such as skipping] basically eliminated that. Since LD's data layer was buried in plastic and read by a laser, it didn't wear out, and dust was no problem; and when solid-state pickups and digital sound came out, it was all over -- LD even displaced the grooveless CED-like VHD system [Japan only], which was designed for field-sequential 3D capability.

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