Rare VHS Stories
Many commercial VHS releases did not carry over exactly the same to DVD. This article shows some of the curious cases in Doctor WHO, Batman, Universal Monsters, and Scooby Doo. It’s not complete by any means but they were interesting enough for me to want to archive.
Doctor Who’s Silver Nemesis is perhaps on of the more popular cases of a VHS release being different than the DVD release. Silver Nemesis was the 25th anniversary story for the long running TV series. The VHS release included several extra scenes that were not integrated into the DVD as well as the nearly hour long Making of Silver Nemesis documentary.. Extra scenes in the DVD were a separate bonus feature and the making of documentary was nowhere to be found.
It’s worth noting as a later VHS release, this particular tape is one of the easier to find on the secondary market. Doctor WHO VHS releases as a whole tend to be fairly common at used media stores.
“However, as I’ve hinted above, the Silver Nemesis DVD is despairingly lightweight. Much to my exasperation, neither the extended edition of the serial nor the American Making of Silver Nemesis documentarythat were released on VHS are included”Wiolversion
Goodtimes Home Video released the Batman serials which had a few notorious edits. The first edit was removal of anti Japanese dialogue since this was produced in the World War II era. The other oddity is a few extra seconds included on this release that were not on the Columbia VHS or the Sony / Mill Creek DVD releases.
It’s also worth noting there hasn’t been a comprehensive release of the Batman serials to-date. Perhaps one day? These aren’t the world’s best sellers so many are left to wonder what the trigger for demand would be for these to have a properly restored release.
“The serial was released as a two-part VHS series in the late 1980s by GoodTimes Entertainment in a heavily modified form that dubbed over most of the original dialogue of a racially sensitive nature…In October 2005, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment unveiled a two-disc DVD of the serial. This release restored the original dialogue but is missing several seconds in Chapter 2, such as the “Next Chapter” sequence at the end.”Wikipedia
Frankenstein’s VHS release was censored. From 1938-1985 the lake scene with Maria was among the scenes not available for home video viewing. Releases after 1985 included the scene. I believe this was released on RCA CED, VHS, and some 8mm / Super 8 formats before the uncensored releases on VHS, DVD, and Blu Ray after 1985.
One notation: the MCA Videocassette Inc version also has the studio VHS logo in black-and-white on-screen leaving one to wonder if they are dealing with color signal loss due to a degrading tape but this is indeed black and white. This threw me for a loop when creating a personal backup.
“Eventually, “Frankenstein” was restored — but from 1938 until 1985, viewers saw the censored version… and were only able to see it in its full glory — as James Whale intended — literally decades later. “Milner, 2022
Scooby Doo with Special Guest Stars Batman and Robin is a curious case. The episodes were part of the New Scooby Doo Movies which featured guests such as Sonny and Cher, Cass Elliottt, the Three Stooges, etc. It was one of the more interesting incarnations of the show and one that has yet to be released in it’s entirety even on Blu Ray.
Warner has been unable to secure the rights for the Addams Family’s guest appearance so the opening credits have been either excised or re-done in most video releases with a few notable exceptions: the Goodtimes VHS release, the Hanna Barbera Scooby Doo Laserdisc release and some pressings of The Batman Brave and the Bold / Scooby Doo DVD where the vintage Batman episodes are included as a bonus feature.
As of 2019, Warner apparently still can’t release “Wednesday is Missing” (the one where Scooby meets the Addams Family) on DVD. It is expected this was a hold up between either the John Astin or Carolyn Jones estate.TV Tropes
While it may seem nitpicky, these are moments in VHS history not to be forgotten.
Milner, S. (2022, June 13). Why Universal’s Frankenstein was censored years after release. /Film. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from https://www.slashfilm.com/893070/why-universals-frankenstein-was-censored-years-after-release/
Wikimedia Foundation. (2023, February 5). Batman (serial). Wikipedia. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_(serial)
Doctor who – silver nemesis. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2023, from http://www.doctorwhoreviews.altervista.org/7K.htm
The new scooby-doo movies / trivia. TV Tropes. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2023, from https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/TheNewScoobyDooMovies