Monday, August 27, 2012

Jaws Swims Onto Laserdisc

Laserdisc Cover
With the recent arrival of that famous great-white shark on Blu-Ray, I thought now would be a good time to dust off my Jaws movie collection and use it to explore the history of obsolete consumer video.  First up is the 1981 MCA Laserdisc pressing of Jaws under the DiscoVision label.  This extended play CLV version was the 2nd consumer release of the film after the 1978 standard play CAV version launched alongside the first Universal Pioneer laserdisc players in Atlanta. It doesn’t offer the best video transfer (as is evidence here), but the DiscoVision intro is a treat.  The jacket artwork also features a risqué drawing of the swimmer and a famous deleted scene.

Optical Analog
Contrary to popular belief, the DiscoVision moniker had nothing to do with the late seventies dance fad.  Instead, it was the name bestowed on upstart Gauss Electrophysics by parent company MCA after they acquired them in an effort to explore optical disc media as a viable video storage medium.  MCA DiscoVision began demonstrating the technology as early as 1972, although it would take them years to patent it and work out the kinks.  I won’t belabor the details further, except to point you to Blam Entertainment Group’s excellent website on the subject. 

It should be noted DiscoVision Associates (DVA) is still around, the owner of some 800 patents related to optical disc media.
Graphic Scene Cut from the Film