Saturday, February 11, 2012

Old Wine in Old Bottles

Browsing eBay the other day, I discovered some Bradbury media releases that I hadn't previously been aware of. Not DVDs. Not VHS tapes. Not even Betamaxes.


Just to clarify, I was fully aware of the Laserdisc format. The history of video technology is one of my specialist subjects, and I've been teaching it off and on for twenty years.

I was even aware of the occasional  Bradbury movie making it onto the twelve-inch shiny discs. Something Wicked This Way Comes was one such, and it came with a very good commentary track by Bradbury and several others involved in the production. (Unlike the DVD, which comes with no extras worth having.)

What was new to me was the appearance of selected episodes of Ray Bradbury Theater on this now obsolete format, released on the Image Entertainment label. I wonder what the quality is like - better than the rather dreadful transfers seen on the DVD box set, I would imagine.

I don't usually recommend eBay as a research source, but from the images on there I have identified that there were at least three volumes of the The Best of  the Ray Bradbury Theater on Laserdisc:

  • Volume 1/Volume 2 - Gotcha!, Skeleton, The Emissary, The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl
  • Volume 2 - Punishment Without Crime, On the Orient North, The Coffin, The Small Assassin
  • Volume 3 (pictured above) - And So Died Riabouchinska, The Man Upstairs, There Was An Old Woman, Tyrannosaurus Rex

The image of "Volume 1/Volume 2" is not clear on eBay, but there is a clearer image on Laserdisc Database (from where we also learn that this disc was released in 1988, while Ray Bradbury Theater was still in production). What is confusing is that there is a different "Volume 2",  which is a separate disc. There is a possibility here that there is more than one series/release represented here. The "Volume 1/Volume 2" disc also has different graphics on the packaging, which also suggests that it is from a different release.

If anyone knows more about these discs, please get in touch.

By the time you read this, the eBay auctions may all be over, but the complete list of Bradbury Laserdiscs currently on sale is here!

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