Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum

Background

The Masterpiece Collection replaced the "Classics" brand in 1994, and lasted until 1999. It released some films that never made it to the Classics line (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), Oliver and Company (1988), The Aristocats (1970) and The Black Cauldron (1985), among others), reissued many of the Disney movies that were previously released as Walt Disney Classics videos, and covered video releases of the 1994-1998 animated Disney features (except for Aladdin (1992), The Fox and the Hound (1981), Fantasia, Pinocchio (both 1940), The Great Mouse Detective (1986) and Beauty and the Beast (1991)). They were known as the "Classics Collection" brand in Australia, which ran from 1999 to 2001 and released similar films (Sleeping Beauty (1959), Pocahontas (1995) and The Rescuers (1977), among others) including one that was never released in the Masterpiece Collection, The Great Mouse Detective, although releases were planned for The Fox and the Hound and Beauty and the Beast, but they were scrapped. Unlike the Masterpiece Collection, the "Classics Collection" brand also had a DVD line as well, which included The Fox and the Hound, even though it wasn't part of the VHS line.

Logo (October 28, 1994-July 13, 1999, October 26, 1999)


Visuals: On a black background, the familiar "WALT DiSNEY" script logo begins to sketch itself on screen in pinkish-gold, with the text arced a bit. As the screen zooms out, "MASTERPIECE" and "COLLECTION" zoom out, with "MASTERPIECE" going left and "COLLECTION" going right. They then settle under the "WALT DiSNEY" text, spaced a bit against each other. Then, Tinkerbell (from Disney’s Peter Pan) appears from behind the word "MASTERPIECE", hovers in front for a bit as she waves her magic wand, and then a bright flash appears, and when it clears, the finished logo appears: the text is now in a purple arc (slightly shaped like the Sesame Street sign) with a black, white and gold border, with "WALT DiSNEY" on top and "MASTERPIECE COLLECTION" on the bottom, with a small gray oval with the silver Disney castle logo between "MASTERPIECE" and "COLLECTION". Tinkerbell flies off to the left of the screen, leaving a trail of pixie dust to slowly dissolve. The logo "shines".

Variants:

  • Early 1996 prints of "standard" Masterpiece Collection releases like So Dear to My Heart, Dumbo, and others have the logo shining twice at the end. This can also be found on most 1996-1999 releases on CAV/CLV Laserdisc (such as Peter Pan, Hercules and Lady and the Tramp), and on the 1998 DVD release of Mary Poppins (the only DVD to use any form of the Masterpiece Collection logo). It was also seen on the French-Canadian VHS releases of Cinderella (Cendrillon), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Les Merveilleuses Aventures de Winnie l'ourson) and The Aristocats (Les Aristochats).
  • Some countries have the "MASTERPIECE COLLECTION" text of the logo written in their native language. These were found: "COLECCIÓN MAESTRA" (MAESTRA in spaced-out letters) on Spanish tapes, and "COLLECTION CHEFS-D'ŒUVRE" (CHEFS-D'ŒUVRE in narrow letters) on French Canadian tapes.

Technique: A mix of computer animation and traditional animation.

Audio: A more powerful, dramatic and slightly faster-paced reorchestration of the 1988 Walt Disney Classics jingle with synths mixed in, accompanied by synthesized whooshes as the words fly into place.

Audio Trivia: The main theme is also heard in the 1996-2000 Walt Disney Company intro seen on many VHS releases of the period before the previews, as an announcer (Beau Weaver) says "You can always count on something new and exciting from Disney." On 1999-2000 releases, it is replaced with the same cut-short 1992 version of the 1988 Walt Disney Classics theme mentioned below.

Audio Variants:

  • Sometimes, an announcer (Beau Weaver) will say, "And now, our feature presentation." This can be spotted on The Aristocats and Oliver & Company. The voiceover for the former is heard after the finished logo is formed, while the latter has the voiceover starting just after Tinkerbell appears.
  • The variant where the logo shines twice at the end used a cut-short version of the 1988 Walt Disney Classics music (post-1992 bass-heavy variant) playing. The "sizzling" sound remains intact.

Availability: Seen on VHS releases of Disney feature films in clamshell packaging with the text "A Walt Disney MASTERPIECE" or "Walt Disney's MASTERPIECE" on the front and the "MASTERPIECE COLLECTION" print logo on the top of the spine (sometimes the print logo is on the front as well). Releases with this logo can be found easily at garage sales, thrift stores or online.

  • The first tape to use this logo was the 1994 VHS of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, while it last appeared on the 1999 VHS of The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad. Some early printings of the 1999 VHS of Pinocchio use this logo, indicating it was planned to release in the collection, but most printings don't have it.
  • Tapes that used this logo on various printings throughout the mid-to-late-90s include Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, and Robin Hood, among others.
  • Despite not being part of the Masterpiece Collection, the logo appeared following the Feature Presentation screen on the 1997 VHS releases of Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin and Old Yeller. The version with the Classics theme similarly makes an odd appearance on the Toy Story DTS LaserDisc release.
  • Despite being released under the Walt Disney Classics line, the 1995 Spanish-language VHS release of Aladdin uses this logo.
  • Strangely, the original 1995 VHS release of The Lion King doesn't use this logo despite having the Masterpiece Collection print logo and being advertised as part of the line, though it does appear on the film's LaserDisc release. The logo also doesn't appear on the 1998 VHS releases of The Little Mermaid and Mulan, which used special wraparound segments during the previews, along with the 1999 VHS release of 101 Dalmatians.
  • Despite the logo appearing on the case, it does not appear on Australian releases as they just use the 1995 "Disney Videos" logo (the last three videos in the line used the 2001 Walt Disney Home Entertainment logo).
Walt Disney Classics
Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection
Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection
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