VHS Rarities – All the Rest

VHS Rarities

Continuing the series on VHS Video Tapes and the golden age of home video, I’m going to take a look at the stragglers – the titles I couldn’t find another place to talk about.

Initial release of G.I. Joe the Movie

G.I. Joe the Movie was originally planned for a theatrical run but after the poor performance of My Little Pony and Transformers at the box office, it was relegated to home video and television for decades .

Due to Transformers and My Little Pony not performing well with their theatrical excursions, Hasbro made the call to send G.I. Joe: The Movie direct-to-video

Wilds, 2022

Finally on June 24 2022 when it was screened as part of a Fathom Special Event at theaters nationwide.

“Top Gun: Maverick isn’t the only 80s nostalgia at your local cineplex this summer; the original G.I. Joe movie finally gets the silver screen treatment for its 35th Anniversary on June 23 and 25 (2022)…G.I. Joe The Movie was originally released to home video in 1987 and was later broken up into a five-part mini-series as part of the syndication package for the original animated series.”

G.I. Joe the Movie was produced as a full speed and EP VHS by Celebrity Kids. Later it was re-released by Rhino on a full speed VHS.

Transformers and G.I. Joe both saw late releases of mini series – The Five Faces of Darkness and Arise, Serpentor, Arise. What is interesting here is both were produced in the EP speed in the United States but in Canada, they were released as full speed. The Canadian releases sport the same labels and sleeves as the U.S. and are virtually identical until you examine the tape.

Arise, Serpentor, Arise features an error in run time on the back of the box. Canadian version still list the tape as being in the EP mode.

Corrections to the information on the back of the slipcase:
99 minutes NOT 148 minutes
SP Mode NOT SLP Mode
How did Scimitar get the rights to this?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a mini series by the BBC, was released by BBC Home Video / Warner as a two tape full speed set and then a one tape EP set. Somewhere along the way Scimitar got the rights to produce a two tape EP set which is a bit harder to find on the secondary market. Scimitar had a unique history having been formed by K-Tel International’s founder Phillip Kives.

In 1985, Mickey Elfenbein, former president and CEO of K-Tel International, and Philip Kives (K-tel founder), after K-Tel just went to bankruptcy in October 1984, started Simitar Entertainment. The first film released by Simitar was the children’s film Shinbone Alley, which was retailed at $39.95, and a soundtrack album would be marketed through television commercials. Simitar bought Pickwick Records. Simitar was a long-time leader in budget VHS throughout the 80s and early 90s.

How much did you have to pledge to get this?!

The Home Whovian was produced as a pledge break gift when the BBC TV Series Doctor WHO aired on the Public Broadcasting System or PBS. The special itself was produced by the New New Jersey Network and the tape itself is hard to come by given it’s use as a pledge gift.

This 1985 30-minute special was for direct-to-video only, and was produced and distributed exclusively by Lionheart Television International.

The first Batman serials I ever owned and saw.

Batman and Robin was the second serial to be released by Columbia Pictures in the 1940’s. It was released on VHS by Sony but also saw a budget release by Goodtimes Home Video.

In 1989, GoodTimes Entertainment released the serial on VHS, splitting the entire serial into two separate, budget-priced tapes recorded in LP mode. The GoodTimes edition was slightly edited, as well, with several minutes of the opening chapter mysteriously cut.

The Incredible Hulk has one of the messiest release histories I’ve seen.

The Incredible Hulk series saw many different releases. The first was the pilot by MCA Videocassette Inc which was followed by MCA Home Video, MCA Universal and Universal Home Video releases up to the 2003 Ang Lee film. The series also saw a single episode release, “Earthquakes Happen” on Goodtimes as an LP speed budget release along with the pilot as separate Goodtimes release.  New World Home Video released The Incredible Hulk Returns, a 1988 NBC ratings hit TV movie as a full speed release, after which Starmaker released the same film as an EP budget release along with Trial of the Incredible Hulk. Fox Home Video released “The Death of the Incredible Hulk”, finishing off the VHS releases.  It’s worth noting Starmaker also produced a full speed version of Trial of the Incredible Hulk for the rental market.

NBC not only won the prime time ratings race last week, but its ‘Incredible Hulk’ battered two big docudramas on the rival networks… …The big surprise of the week was that ‘The Incredible Hulk Returns’ was the big Sunday night winner, stomping all over the sensational ‘Baby M’ on ABC and the heartbreaking ‘MyFather, My Son’ on CBS. ‘Hulk’ finished in fourth place, while ‘Baby M’ was 17th and ‘My Father, My Son’ was 21st.

Hanauer, 12988

Shazam! And My Favorite Martians were both filmation produced series that have not seen the light of DVD.

1959 – The Young Philadelphians – is one of many Warner releases that featured a year and a film. Warner also had creative packaging early on with the Looney Toons Hour.

A Night at the Movies is a 1982 VHS and Beta series from Warner Home Video. Each tape in the series presents a feature film and the newsreels, preview trailers, and cartoon that were released with them theatrically. Some of these contain Looney Tunes shorts.

The Super Powers action figure line gave Warner Home Video the perfect reason to release several filmation collections which included Batman, Superman, Aquaman, and Superboy. All were full speed. Of interest is the fact that the Superboy release was the only release of these cartoons whereas the others saw DVD, Blu Ray, and streaming releases with Batman hitting Blu Ray in 2023 and Aquaman hitting HD Streaming on HBO Max in 2022. The line was refreshed in the early 1990’s.

Warner Home Video used the opportunity to issue episodes of Superman, Batman, Superboy, and Aquaman produced by Filmation in 1966 on VHS and Betamax video cassette in 1985 under the Super Powers label (and also as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of their sister company DC Comics), reissuing them again on VHS in 1996 (and were still available into the early 2000s until the end of the VHS format).


Disney had it’s own type of hard shell packaging, some of it as impressive as “An Officer and a Duck” while others was standard fare like the Black Hole and the Ten Who Dared.

The first generation of Walt Disney Home Video dates back to the beginning of the 1980s decade, just after VHS tapes were invented. This generation lasted before the existence of the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo…Several months after the first five of Disney’s animated features originally seen on VHS since the early 1980s were discontinued in 1984, an entirely new brand called the Walt Disney Classics was established.


To close out the series, we have two of the most fun rarities.

Goodtimes Home Video used generic labels in the early releases. The labels required you write the title as was the case with the first two videos I believe my parents bought for me – Superman and Gulliver’s Travels – both of which I believe came from the local drug store.

Goodtimes was founded in 1979/1980 by Kenneth, Joseph and Stanley Cayre, often referred to and credited simply as the Cayre Brothers. The company distributed public domain movies and serials on Disc and Tape. Goodtimes’ huge library, as well as the quality of their tapes, quickly made them one of the largest video companies around at the time. Goodtimes eventually spun off Kids Klassics to distribute cartoons, and GT Interactive Software for video games. 


Star Wars had many releases. Most remember the slide box or slip sleeve versions as the early versions before the special edition releases but there was a rental version with serial numbers on the tape and the sleeve. This is considered the first VHS release.

I hope you enjoyed going on this trip down video store memory lane. It’s been a journey.

Works Cited