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Magnetic Video Corporation

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Logo description by Matt Williams and James Stanley Barr

Logo captures and editions by V of Doom, LJK193, and Vahan Nisanian

Video captures courtesy of eyeh8nbc, arnoldzieffel, Watcher3223, and treadman28

Background: Magnetic Video Corporation, a home video/audio duplication service established in 1968 by Andre Blay and based in Farmington Hills, Michigan, was the first company to release theatrical motion pictures to home video for consumers in 1976, making special deals with United Artists Corporation, Avco Embassy Pictures Corporation, ITC Entertainment Group, ABC Pictures Corporation, Viacom (now "CBS Corporation"), RBC Films (then an exclusive licensee of several of Charles Chaplin's films), Brut Productions, Bill Burrud Productions, American Film Theatre, and 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation. In 1979, Fox purchased Magnetic Video from Blay, reincorporating it as "20th Century-Fox Video" in 1981. It is currently known as "20th Century Fox Home Entertainment". Ironically, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment now owns home video rights to United Artists and Avco Embassy films through MGM.

November 1977-January 1982


Nickname: "Mirrored M-Circle"

Logo: Two semicircles with lines protruding down their midsections are drawn into view. Then a bunch of circle Ms appear in back of it, sort of like a continuous mirrored effect or video feedback. The words "MAGNETIC VIDEO CORPORATION" in a computer-generated font begin to scroll upward, and like the M, have copies appearing behind the logo.

Trivia:

  • Some later prints of tapes with the Magnetic Video logo, e.g. Von Ryan's ExpressNotoriousYoung Frankenstein, and High Anxiety, may have CBS/Fox Video labels, but those are usually in the original Magnetic Video packaging, with a video release year of 1980 on the slipcover.
  • Occasionally, as seen on a 1985 pressing of Von Ryan's Express and a 1984 pressing of Take the Money and Run, an earlier Magnetic Video voiceover may be plastered with its post-1980 (i.e. "...special video presentation") counterpart on later prints; also, most films featuring Elvis Presley were reprinted starting in early 1979 with the old Viacom International voiceover plastered with the "...major motion picture on videocassette" variant thereof, which would make its first new-release appearance a few months later on The African Queen.
  • When 20th Century-Fox purchased Magnetic Video, they aimed to recapture audiences that no longer go to the movies, had market strategies which supposed to help eliminate video pirates, and intended to launch new productions aimed specifically at the video market.
  • The first pressings of the first 50 from Fox in 1977 did not have an F.B.I. Warning; just the Magnetic Video logo, followed by the film itself.
  • Several titles, such as Homebodies (1974), Jury of One (1974), Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), The Ski Bum (1971), Village of the Giants (1965), and Walk Into Hell (1956), were all at one point listed in the Magnetic Video catalog in 1979, but no evidence has come up of them ever being released in 1979, or any other year during Magnetic Video's history. It is doubtful that they ever were. All of these titles were distributed by Avco-Embassy Pictures Corporation, and at least some of them would eventually see a home video release during the 1980's, particularly on Embassy's Home Entertainment division, including their "Charter Entertainment" label.

Variant: There is a B&W variant for classic movie releases in said colors.

FX/SFX: The circle M being drawn in, the scrolling words.

Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A mellow piece of music; not very easy to hear due to the studio spiel, but has a bossa-nova/mex influenced, easy listening melody, also known as elevator music (with five known lengths and four known tempos), accompanied by one of four male voiceovers (herein referred to as Voiceover A, Voiceover B, Voiceover C, and Voiceover D) indicating the studio:

  • On most pre-1981 Fox releases, Voiceover A (a deep baritone announcer) said "By special arrangement with 20th Century-Fox, Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the following major motion picture on videocassette".The music's tempo is approximately 108.7 BPM with 26 beats.
  • On most early Viacom releases, as well as all their Terrytoon compilations, Voiceover A said "By special arrangement with Viacom International, Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the following motion picture entertainment on videocassette". The music's tempo is approximately 113.3 BPM with 26 beats.
  • On the films of Charles Chaplin, Voiceover B (an announcer with a bass voice deeper than Voiceover A) said "By special arrangement with the estate of Charles Chaplin, Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the following classic motion picture on videocassette". The music's tempo is approximately 116.3 BPM with 28 beats. This version was in black-and-white, to fit with the films.
  • On videocassettes of the Greatest Sports Legends series, Voiceover A said "By special arrangement with Viacom International, Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the Greatest Sports Legends on videocassette". The music's tempo is approximately 116.3 BPM with 26 beats.
  • On other early Betamax and VHS releases (including later prints of Viacom theatrical releases), Voiceover C (a more normal-sounding announcer) said "By special arrangement with [Viacom International/Avco Embassy Pictures Corporation/Brut (pronounced "brute") Productions/ABC Video Enterprises], Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the following major motion picture on videocassette". The music's tempo is approximately 111.4 BPM with 28 beats on most such releases and approximately 116.3 BPM with 30 beats on ABC releases. Strangely enough, the original video release of The Paper Chase uses the Avco Embassy Pictures variant (despite it being a Fox film alone at the time), most likely as a result of a video processing error.
  • On Bill Burrud's wildlife documentaries, Voiceover C said "By special arrangement with Bill Burrud Productions, Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the following wildlife program on videocassette". The music's tempo is approximately 111.4 BPM with 28 beats.
  • On Milestones of the Century and Men of Destiny, Voiceover C said "By special arrangement with Pathé News, Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the following documentary on videocassette". The music's tempo is approximately 116.3 BPM with 29 beats.
  • On the first releases from ITC Entertainment by Magnetic, Voiceover C said "By special arrangement with ITC Entertainment, Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the following motion picture on videocassette". The music's tempo is approximately 116.3 BPM with 30 beats.
  • Starting in late 1980/early 1981, especially on early LaserDisc releases, Voiceover D (an announcer who sounds similar to Voiceover C, only a bit deeper and more authoritative) said "By special arrangement with [20th Century-Fox/Viacom Enterprises/Avco Embassy Pictures Corporation/ITC Entertainment/ABC Video Enterprises/United Artists Corporation], Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the following special video presentation". The music's tempo is approximately 116.3 BPM with 30 beats; LaserDiscs use an extended version of the music with 60 beats.
  • On some later sports-related video releases, Voiceover D said "Magnetic Video Sports is proud to offer the following special video presentation". The music's tempo is approximately 116.3 BPM with 30 beats; again, LaserDisc releases use an extension of the music with 60 beats.
  • On OdysseyBlack Emmanuelle, and Dot and the Kangaroo, Voiceover D said "Magnetic Video Corporation is proud to offer the following special video presentation". The music's tempo is approximately 116.3 BPM with 30 beats.
  • Sometimes, there's no voiceover. This variant can be seen on the films of Otto Preminger, The Sensuous Nurse, and (of all things) Avco Embassy's Promise at Dawn. The music's tempo is approximately 116.3 BPM with 30 beats.

Availability: Ultra rare, because Magnetic's titles have been out of print for decades now, with most titles being re-released by the various home divisions of Fox and MGM, among other companies (e.g. most Viacom presentations are now being re-released by Paramount; Brut presentations, Viacom presentations of New Line's films, UA presentations in the AAP package, and the films of Otto Preminger are being re-released by Warner; and ITC presentations are being re-released by Universal and Lionsgate). Can be found at used video stores, pawn shops, flea markets and thrift stores. Titles with this logo include M*A*S*HThe Longest DayLast Tango in ParisEscape to AthenaThe Magnificent SevenThe Muppet MovieKotchPattonLet It BeAll Quiet on the Western Front (the 1979 TV version), The Making of Star WarsThe Cassandra CrossingThe Seduction of MimiConversation PieceAll Screwed Up,Sympathy for the DevilThe Good, the Bad, and the UglyThey Call Me TrinityCarnal KnowledgeDeadly HeroThe Graduate, the Greatest Sports Legends series, City LightsThe Great DictatorThe Gold RushA Woman of Paris,Dot and the KangarooMad Monster PartyA Touch of ClassThe Jazz SingerCasablancaThe Boston StranglerHello Dolly!Alien, and At Long Last Love (which is quite possibly the hardest to find and wouldn't see another home video release until 2013). The variant without the voiceover can be seen on The Sensuous NurseThe Man with the Golden Arm, and The Moon is Blue, and debuted on Promise at Dawn. The last releases to use this logo were the earliest 20th Century-Fox Video releases, including BedazzledCavemanChu Chu and the Philly FlashDr. NoEyewitnessA Fistful of DollarsThe Great Muppet CaperHistory of the World Part ISergeant York, and Stardust Memories. In order to fit the whole feature on a single tape, this does not appear on their release of Monsieur Verdoux (a chunk of the opening credits is also missing on the same release).

Scare Factor: None. The music is very relaxing.

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