.....An unappreciated factor in the acceptance of home video in the early 1980s was the availability of cartoons on demand for the first time on television. (16mm prints of feature films and shorts were widely available in the '60s and '70s, but the format never caught on with consumers who preferred the ease of television and theatres to the trouble of messing around with a film projector.) 1983 brought the first releases of Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but more importantly, Disney's Cartoon Classics series. The initial six volumes added to the solid (if unspectacular) slate of Disney cartoons on video, and thoroughly blew away the meager efforts of Warner Bros.
.....Existing in the days before film restoration (to say nothing of how ridiculously bad telecine transfers were), the cartoons featured in Cartoon Classics were culled from various sources, usually in a "best available print" selection method. Additionally, the shorts were aggressively unedited, which meant that some material that was unacceptable even in the early '80s managed to slip through the cracks (and even more amazing was the lack of protests or even notice from the general public). Equally dynamic were the themed cassettes, which only enhanced the variety and quallity of the videos in this series.
.....Each video, which included either 6 or 7 shorts (depending on the volume), lasted between 43-57 minutes, and opened with the standard copyright warnings, which was followed by the Walt Disney Home Video fanfare and a Cartoon Classics-specific introduction before beginning with the main program. On the initial releases, there was a preview advertisement for the other Disney videos available in 1983 directly following the final short. The preview featured far more live action films than cartoons (and many of those films being material from Disney's "down period"-The Black Hole, Watcher in the Woods, and such happily forgotten fare as Condorman), accurately reflecting the awful Disney video library of the time.
.....©1983-1986 Walt Disney Productions. Available on Beta, VHS, and Laserdisc. Rental Prohibited. (Yeah, right!)