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 The first special features?

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HippieDalek

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Join date : 2011-03-29
Age : 32
Location : Sunderland, UK

PostSubject: The first special features?   Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:42 am

I frequently see discussions all over the web about what the first and last laserdiscs were...but I'm curious to see what people consider the first special feature.

I think the generally accepted answer are the special features on the Criterion releases of Citizen Kane and King Kong which were both released on the same day. King Kong features the first commentary and Citizen Kane contains various special features including a trailer.

But while I have been adding stuff to the wiki I came across [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] released in 1980. Not only is this one of the earliest "adult" laserdiscs it is also the earliest example I've found so far of different audio channels. The left channel contains a voice over explaining the massage techniques (I assume) while the right contains just music. By default both of these are turned on but either can be turned off.

Although not a commentary this could most certainly be considered a special feature.

You could go even further and say that chapter selection is a special feature in which case the earliest I've found so far is [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] released some time in 1979.

So what do people think? Even though we laugh at DVDs which list chapter and audio selection as special features, do they qualify for the earliest laserdisc special features? Have you found earlier examples or other, more interesting contenders for the title of first special feature?

I think the answer will be different for everyone, I personally think Touch of Love might have the title in my books, I just think it might be interesting to hear other people's opinions.
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BeebMaster

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PostSubject: Re: The first special features?   Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:29 pm

I'm collecting BBC Video laserdisc releases, it's quite interesting to compare the very early ones with some of the later ones.

The very first ones had minutes-only time coding (no seconds) and no chapters, so you would have a sort of table of contents on the back cover with instructions to fast-forward the disc to a certain minute to reach a certain point. Even with early CAV discs, they print the frame number to search for to get to a particular section. It seems it hadn't occurred to them to split the disc contents up using chapters!

Most of the early ones are mono, but one of the earliest BBCV stereo discs must be the 1981 Royal Wedding. At about the same time was the first dual soundtrack disc, "The BBC Videobook of British Garden Birds" which has birdsong and commentary on one channel and birdsong only on the other channel.

The same disc is also the first to contain Teletext data, with Ceefax pages about breeds of birds as well as full set of Ceefax subtitles. I think Teletext is my favourite "special feature", haven't found any other discs with Teletext yet!
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laserkb

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PostSubject: Re: The first special features?   Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:43 pm

BeebMaster wrote:
The same disc is also the first to contain Teletext data, with Ceefax pages about breeds of birds as well as full set of Ceefax subtitles. I think Teletext is my favourite "special feature", haven't found any other discs with Teletext yet!

In the early 90s Pioneer put out a series of discs called Pioneer Cinema with some very special editions of old classics and these came with Teletext subtitles in 5 languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The only ones I have are Hitchcock's REBECCA and SPELLBOUND, but I also used to have THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE and TOUCH OF EVIL. There were a few others, too, I think. The text titles were in colour and often didn't work properly, but that's probably just an anomaly of my player or TV.

These were exceptionally 'special' editions. REBECCA had dual channel audio - each side of Disc 1 had the feature soundtrack on the left channels and a vintage radio broadcast of the same play on the right channels (one was The Campbell Playhouse, the other The Lux Radio Broadcast), plus a second disc with more extras and separate audio features than you could shake a stick at. I don't think I've come across anything, even the special boxed sets from Criterion or The Signature Collection, with quite so many extras.
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