"laserdisc is dead! long live the laserdisc!"

Discussion in 'DVD' started by andrea, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

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    There was an advertisement in the L.A. Times this weekend, in the form of an 'open letter' - Ken Cranes is finally closing! The laserdisc store had long ago become DVD Planet; however, they still had their 'hardware' stores - at least until now.


    Today, there is an actual article in the L.A. Time about the closing:


    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-0622-ken-crane-20100622,0,7923899.story
     
  2. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    Ah, memories .....


    I even remember the exact date I got my first laser disc player. May 14, 1983. I'd never gotten into tapes, either VHS or BETA nor the RCA CED discs. Movies were to be seen in theatres.It wasn't the picture so much but the sound that got me into laser discs. I can't remember the name of the store where I first saw the laser disc demonstration but if my memory serves me correctly it was in the Galleria mall in Sherman Oaks, CA. So on May 14, 1983 I bit the bullet and joined the home video revolution.The laser player was rather clunky and unattractive and it opened from the top rather than a sliding drawer. I bought 4 discs: GREASE, HELLO DOLLY, THE KING AND I and DR. NO. I think I must have watched those movies non stop in rotation for three weeks before I bought another laser disc to watch. I couldn't believe that I actually OWNED them.


    Well, needless to say I became a laser disc junkie and Dave's Video was my supplier. The first time I met Dave he was actually renting a small section of a video store on Ventura Blvd which sold tapes and sold laser discs. I think there may have been three small bins of lasers (including Japanese imports) in the store and I followed him as he got his own store and then as he grew and moved to a bigger store and moved again and moved again until ..... finally as he moved from lasers to DVDs but alas, while Dave had the niche market of laser discs pretty much to himself (except for Laser Blazer) but DVDs, unlike lasers, took off like a rocket and Dave was competing with the monoliths like Tower and Virgin (themselves now vanished) and electronic stores and everybody was selling DVDs and finally he threw the towel in. He always remembered me as one of his very first customers and always said "Hi" when he saw me in the store and often took a moment to chat and his wife Linda was a sweetheart and became part of the store. And who could forget those studio days, when we got to meet with the studios and ask them questions and win prizes. I won a deluxe boxt set of TOY STORY in a raffle but when I sheepishly told Dave I didn't want' it and could I exchange it for the deluxe box set of THE KING AND I, he said sure. He was that kind of guy. I often wonder when I pass that stretch near Laurel Canyon and Ventura what he's up to now.


    There are some laser discs that I'll never part with because they don't exist on DVD. The uncut Roadshow versions of THE ALAMO, HAWAII and IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD to name just three. And one of my most treasured possessions in the laser disc of the 1973 LOST HORIZON Burt Bacharach musical.
     
  3. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    I also got into laserdiscs in 1983 and made the leap because of the sound. Laserdiscs offered stereophonic sound long before tapes did and I snatched up the roadshow movies like South Pacific, The Sound of Music and The Ten Commandments. Any movie that had an overture and intermission was enticing as it enabled me to relive the experience of going to the large movie palaces and experiencing the likes of Ben-Hur before they were brutally cut down for television. I was amazed to discover that the stereo tracks and overtures still existed for many of these movies as I had long grown used to seeing them reduced to 16mm TV prints. Even though I swore I would limit myself to just the big stereo movies for which recording off of television wasn’t good enough, soon I found myself collecting all the black and white classic films from the 1930s and 40s that I had enjoyed on television as a kid. I still have them all. Even if I repurchased the titles on DVD, I still enjoy the wonderful jacket artwork and the beautiful inserts found all those boxsets like the Dawn of Sound. I went to all the Studio Days events at Dave’s Video. Once I won a beach towel promoting “Reality Sucks” that I still use today. Many’s the time when I got to give George Feltenstein from MGM/UA and the other reps my “wish list.” I remember the sadness we all felt when Dave and Linda decided to call it a day. I also went to all the 25% sales at Ken Crane’s on Beach Blvd. in Westminster and remember chatting with familiar faces from out of town whom I only knew from earlier sales events. I remember snatching a copy of Kevin Brownlow’s Hollywood documentary at such an event. I also remember Ken Jr. letting me purchase titles such as“Hawaii” ahead of street date because I had found copies stacked in boxes littering the aisles due to the lack of warehouse space in the original location. I still drop in on Laser Blazer from time to time even though I live much closer to DVD Planet. But increasingly, thanks to the Warner Archive program, the DVD titles I’m interested in are only available via the internet. It’s not the same. I miss standing in line for the laserdisc events.
     
  4. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    There was something special about being into laser discs, Rob. It was like being part of a select club. DVDs just don't have that specialness about them. I, too, find myself more and more buying online as the titles I'm interested in are harder and harder to find in stores. I went looking for the new Bob Hope Collection that came out a couple of weeks ago and went to Fry's, Best Buy, CostCo and even Laser Blazer and nobody had it!!!
     
  5. John Sparks

    John Sparks Screenwriter

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    I remember back in '97 when I was at at Ken Cranes on Beach Blvd. They were playing "Mars Attacks" side by side...LD and DVD!


    There I was with an arm full of LDs, CLVS, movie only, $39 each, and saying to the guy next to me, "DVD will never catch on, it's only a couple clips up in clarity!" Wow, could I have ever been so wrong! It still didin't stop me from buying them, though!


    The first time I walked into Lazer Blazer, I saw that they were selling used LDs...WTF!!! I opened the "King Kong/Son of Kong" and it wasn't scratched...and for only half the cost of a new one...I never bought a new LD again!!!


    Once at Lazer Blazer, it seemed every LD I was looking at, Wesley Snipes was in it...This is unreal, but there he was, the next aisle over. I said to him, "I think you're in every movie in this secttion!" He just laughed!!!


    When the Pioneer DVL-700 first came out, $1000 was a lot of money. I waited a few months and bought a reconditioned one for $650 from Ken Cranes.


    My first LD player was a Pioneer, don't remember which one and they threw in a Arnold movie...I was hooked!!!
     
  6. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    You too? I was also there in 1997 during one of their big sales loading up on laserdiscs, but the side-by-side comparison they had playing was "Eraser." Both TVs were 4X3 so you weren't even able to see the enhanced resolution of 16X9 on the DVD and the two looked identical. Everybody was saying DVD is nothing special. All the poor souls standing in line to purchase armloads of LDs had no clue the death knell had already been sounded for their beloved format.
     
  7. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    The fun part these days are finding stores that sell used Laserdiscs - sometimes the used record stores have a small sellection. :)
     
  8. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    Oh, most of us knew. It's just that we weren't happy about the compressed sound and video and the thought of going back to square one in our collecting while studios started releasing all the bread-and-butter titles yet again in yet another format. Happily, the format caught on so massively that there were always some new, never-before-released titles to entice us while Warners remastered "The Wizard of Oz" and Universal redid all the horror and Abbott/Costello films.


    I too remember watching the "Mars Attacks" side-by-side comparison at DVD Planet and being impressed by the stable reds but thinking it wasn't that much of an upgrade. I knew the end was near but didn't cry over it. Nobody could take the beautiful box sets I had away from me and I still have them and enjoy them today.
     
  9. BroomoLDmadness

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    Hi Thomas T,

    I totally agree with your views It was like being part of a select club. DVDs just don't have that specialness about them. I am also still collecting Laserdisc's.


    Sincerest Regards
     
  10. LeoA

    LeoA Screenwriter

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    If the laserdisc of It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World is complete, why was the transfer never aired on tv or rereleased on DVD? Aren't they hoping to spend several million now just to try to piece the thing back together from fragments so it's mostly complete again for DVD?


     

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