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The first generation of Walt Disney Home Video dates back to the beginning of the 1980s decade, just after VHS tapes were invented. This generation lasted before the existence of the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo. The last two first-generation animated films, The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan, were discontinued in May 1991, followed by all of the animation-combined live actions in 1994. Some of the live action films, however, were re-printed in 1992 and 1993, and later got DVD releases in the 2000s. Today, only the DVD prints of such films remain in stock, like The Journey of Natty Gann, Flight of the Navigator, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

In the first half of the 1980s, VHS tapes costed roughly $84.99 each. Compared to today, that's as expensive as three whole DVDs, or two Blu-ray/DVD combos!

List of videos

Year Videos released/re-packaged Notes
1981

Rental only:

The previews of other Disney movies were always seen at the end of every tape.
1982
  • Pete's Dragon
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  • Mary Poppins
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Brand new for sale:

1983
  • Pete's Dragon
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  • Mary Poppins
  • Dumbo
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Three Caballeros
  • Fun and Fancy Free
When re-released in 1983, all videos contained the "Walt Disney and You" promo at the end.
1984 N/A The Walt Disney Classics launched this year.
1985 Each video was re-packaged with new cover artwork.
1986
1987 Re-packaged with new cover artwork.
1988
  • Mary Poppins
Again, re-packaged with new cover artwork.
1989
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks (October 12)
Yet again, re-packaged with new cover artwork.

In Other Countries

United Kingdom (1985-1990)

After the Video Recordings Act 1984 was signed into law, Walt Disney Home Video began releasing their videos in the United Kingdom in 1985. In its first year, the company only released specials such as The Adventures of Chip and Dale, which contained the 25-second Walt Disney Home Video logo seen on very early releases in other European countries.

For feature-length films, entry titles for 1986 included Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Pete's Dragon. Added for 1987 were Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo, making them the first two animated features to be released in the UK on home video. Pinocchio and The Sword in the Stone joined the lineup in 1988.

New releases for October 1989 were Robin Hood and Sleeping Beauty. In September 1990, Lady and the Tramp was added to the lineup.

Japan (1985-1989)

Fun and Fancy Free (April 21, 1985)

This was the only time when Fun and Fancy Free got a laserdisc release in Japan. Of course, it was also one of the earliest, as Japan didn't release any Disney movies on VHS until early 1985. Back then, for the first two years, they used the first international Walt Disney Home Video logo from 1981 (which was mainly seen on European tapes).

Make Mine Music (October 21, 1985)

In this Japanese version, the segment "The Martins and the Coys" is included, which was also seen on the Disney Channel's broadcasts since 1989, but was cut from the 2000 U.S. release. The movie was later released on VHS, co-distributed by Bandai Video Network, with a price of 10,800 yen (which is more than $100!).

Melody Time (January 25, 1987)

When released on laserdisc on this date, the film contained the uncut version of the Pecos Bill segment.

The 1st era of Disney videos ended in Japan on May 25, 1989, even though Bandai Video Network still owned the rights to them (but not for long).

South Korea (1980s-1992)

In Korea's 1st era, Walt Disney films were co-distributed by Dreambox Home Video. Some notable examples are:

  • Splash (August 1990)
  • Mary Poppins (November 12, 1990)
  • Return to Oz (December 19, 1990)
  • Splash, Too (June 27, 1991)
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (July 28, 1991) - First known home video release by direct successor Walt Disney Home Video.
  • The Rescuers (July 30, 1991)
  • Tex (October 1991)