Packed Pockets

In response to a Seasoned Cooking Bulletin Board question posed by "Dan", this column will focus on Disney's video contributions to children's collectibles.

Not long ago I was fortunate to attend a workshop on the value Disney animated big screen blockbusters reduced to video format for home viewing. I have to tell you, shortly after this workshop I visited my best friend who still resides in my home town area in Ohio. I couldn't help but drool over their family's collection of Disney movies. Her oldest child is eleven years old and she started collecting these movies, as most parents do, when he was a toddler. That means that she has one heck of a return on her original investment...over 2000% in some cases.

Let me show you what I mean. The first releases of Disney big screen movies made for video sales are called the "Classic" version, most of them anyway. Back when the Classic version of Sleeping Beauty was released it sold for around $9.00, today that movie, if you get lucky enough to find one, or if you're even luckier and you own one, is worth approximately $220.00 PVT (previously viewed tape). Dan had asked me if Disney movies were worth anything, and if they are should you go ahead and view them, or leave them unopened. Well Dan, that same Sleeping Beauty "Classic" is worth $550.00 +/- unopened. Guess that answers your question, huh! Unbelievable! The Disney folks are experts on the collectability of their products. They've been doing this long enough, but even they didn't realize what they were doing when they first started. The collectability comes in where Disney only produced a certain amount of videos, just to see if the idea would catch on - guess what? Of course, those Disney folks are smart cookies and figured things out. By the time Little Mermaid was released they knew what they were doing.

The second release of the Classic versions of the various movies are called "Masterpiece" editions. All of these Masterpiece versions have a hologram of Cinderella's castle on the spine of the box. Why did Disney add a hologram to the box? Because, it won't copy on a color copier! Yep, crooks were/are copying the movies and copying the covers, which will slip out of the cases after opening the cellophane, and selling them to unsuspecting victims. Watch out! Later, I'll give you some more tips on how to avoid counterfeits.

There are two released Classic editions that are nearly impossible to find anyway, yet alone unopened. The movies are Lady and the Tramp and Song of the South. Lady..., will be released in the very near future, but until very recently no one ever thought that would happen. It is commonly rumored, mostly because Disney folks can be sooooo tight-lipped, that the famous crooner Peggy Lee, who was the singing voice of Lady, sued Disney for royalties. Back then no one got royalties and Ms. Lee, seeing that every other animated character now gets a cut felt that she deserved one also. Apparently, the court system did too! Disney, then vowed not to release this movie until the death of said star. I truly don't know if she has expired, or if the powers that be at Disney worked out the problems. Alas, Lady and the Tramp is coming!

Song of the South, it is said, will never again be released in the United States, because it is not politically correct. I think that is enough said on that subject. However, you can still get a fresh copy from Japan, with English subtitles, and in England I hear it sells for about $35.00 American. Hey, if you know of anyone going over there - let me know. Heck, I don't even remember seeing the movie. The last value I have on Song... is around $250.00 PVT. See, this is where I'd have trouble, I'd want to own a copy of an unopened video, but I'd want to see the movie, too, Ahhhhhhhh!

Here are some other approximated values of video releases (keep in mind these are a few months old, and values may be different in your part of the world): Classic Little Mermaid - $140.00 PVT/$325.00 NEW; Classic Peter Pan - $100.00 PVT/ $175.00 NEW; Classic Jungle Book - $100.00 PVT/ $140.00 NEW; Animated 101 Dalmatians - $100.00 PVT/ $160.00 NEW. As you can see, unopened copies are worth almost twice the value of the view movies. Most of everything else is still available, if you have the contacts.

Here are some hot tips for you:
  • Buy the Masterpiece Sleeping Beauty. Most of the videos are released around the would at around one million copies. This video will be only 800,000 copies. You know what that means.
  • The Classic version of Bambi is different than the Masterpiece. Disney folks polled parents and found that the original movie was too traumatic for little tikes. Gave them nightmares! To solve this problem, Disney had the gunshot sound removed from its new release. The Masterpiece version had only a 56 day printing period. HOT!
  • Pinocchio and Fantasia are "transition" pieces. That means they came after the "Classic" and before the "Masterpiece" versions. On these covers there is a Mickey Mouse in a diamond shape on the spine of the cover.
  • Toy Story is the only completely computer graphic movie produced.
  • Beauty and the Beast is the only animated movie ever nominated for Best Picture Oscar by the Academy of Performing Arts.
  • If you are lucky enough to live near a Disney Store, purchase the movies in advance and you'll receive a lithograph of a scene in the movie. These lithographs sell for $35.00+ alone!. The cost of advance purchase at the Disney Store is $21.99, but you often receive a choice of an additional gift or a $5.00 coupon to use on another purchase. If you use the $5.00 coupon on the next Disney released video the price of the videos drop to $16.99, which is about what you'd pay elsewhere without the nifty collectible gifts. When I pre-purchased Hercules I received a Disney beanies (Disney beanies are a whole other article in themselves) of Pain and Panic which can not be purchased elsewhere.
How to tell a counterfeit:
  • The covers of these movies, other that a couple of the early classics, have rounded corners, if you find a square corner on a Masterpiece you know its been copied.
  • Robin Hood, Cinderella, Lady...Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty Classic versions have a black diamond on the top of the cover and a red diamond on the bottom.
  • A Masterpiece WITHOUT a hologram castle on the top front cover means it is a Limited Quantity release. The castle hologram means that these movies remain in the stores, that doesn't mean they are worthless, but they are not as collectible as the others.
  • An original Lady and the Tramp may have a paper label, but it for sure will have "Walt Disney Classic" printed in red ink on the black case inside the cover. Other than Lady..., there is never a paper label in the movie case. The titles are always embossed directly onto the case.
  • On the side of a black movie case, again other than the early Classics, you will always find embossed "BVHV" in orange or yellow. This stands for Buena Vista Home Video.
  • The safety tab, to prevent re-recording over, will show no evidence of remains. Originals are smooth on the bottom where others need to be broken off.
  • A new Disney manufactured video will have a rather large overlapping of plastic shrink-rap on the back. If your movie doesn't have this overlapping of plastic - beware of a fake.
I hope this clears up some of the mystique surrounding Disney videos as collectibles. For me and my dollar, well, I have no unopened movies, but I do have contented children. So, pop some popcorn, grab a comfortable seat, and relax in front of some of the best family entertainment to be found. And, buy a extra copy to leave unopened for an investment if you choose. Enjoy!