The Catacombs The Merchandise Guide
Video: US Laserdisc
Compiled by Martin Willey

Laserdisc (J2 Communications)

J2

"Force Of Life" and "Dragon's Domain"

USA: January 1990

"Special Collectors Edition" "Two Complete, Uncut Episodes!"

This laserdisc contained two episodes (16mm prints). The front cover featured a background photo of the Moon and the horizon of Psychon, top (the Eagle is obscured), and the logo over two large square photos from Force Of Life (Zoref stood in NGA3) and Dragon's Domain (the dragon). The rear cover features four smaller photos under the tag "Escape Into A World Beyond Belief" and episode descriptions.


Laserdisc (Image Entertainment)

Front Cover

USA: Released March 26th 1991; $29.95 each

A series of 23 video laser discs, each containing 2 episodes (total 46 episodes: the rights to "Bringers Of Wonder"/"Destination Moonbase Alpha" were held by CBS-Fox who refused to give up their rights to the episodes). CX noise reduction, hi-fidelity digital sound. Released in a batch of 16, then 4 more, then the final 3 discs. There were just 300 sets in total. Very poor sales led to rapid deletion.

The sleeve features the logo and the tag line "Escape into a World Beyond Belief", with Year One or Year Two publicity artwork. The first series artwork is the Charlton comics painting by Gray Morrow.

The back cover features four photos between the episode descriptions and credits. Most of the Year 1 summaries are from the original ITC publicity packs, but the Year 2 summaries seem to be original, and very hit-and-miss with accuracy (and even typos). Often the summaries include the full plot including the ending. The 5 photos between the summaries are uneven in quality, particularly colour control, and are mostly correct for the episodes (with a few exceptions). Overall, the errors suggest the jackets were designed in a rush.

The image and sound quality were good compared to VHS, with transfers made from high resolution 35mm prints (although inferior to later DVD image and sound). Some episodes on laserdisc (notably "All That Glisters" and "The Beta Cloud") suffered from darkness and poor colour control. In addition, the poor quality pressings (at the Philips Blackburn plant in the UK) led many copies to suffer from laser rot (oxidation of the aluminium layer) causing speckles on screen and ultimately making the discs unviewable. In addition, a few episodes (Ring Around The Moon, Collision Course and Dorzak) were cut in order to remove scratches. The quality problems (and use of the Philips plant) were imposed on Image by ITC.

Images thanks to James Poll.

Laser disc

The laser disc is a 30cm (12 in) diameter aluminium disc, covered in plastic. It is much larger than the 12cm (4.7 in) diameter discs used for DVD and Blu-ray. CLV (constant linear velocity) discs like this stored 60 minutes per side. The video format is analog, like a vinyl record, although the sound can be digital (CD, DVD and Blu-ray are digital formats).

Defective manufacturing allows the aluminium to oxidise, causing mold-like spots on the disc which can make them unplayable. On laser discs this was called "laser rot"; on CDs, it is called "bronzing". The Philips and Dupont Optical (PDO) plant in Blackburn, UK, was notorious for the poor quality laser discs and CDs produced from the late 1980s to the early 1990s.

Volume 1
Laserdisc Volume 1
Breakaway War Games
Volume 2
Laserdisc Volume 2
Dragon's Domain Force Of Life
Volume 3
Laserdisc Volume 3
The Black Sun Collision Course
Volume 4
Laserdisc Volume 4
Death's Other Dominion Alpha Child
Volume 5
Laserdisc Volume 5
Guardian Of Piri Earthbound
Volume 6
Laserdisc Volume 6
Mission Of The Darians End Of Eternity
Volume 7
Laserdisc Volume 7
Voyager's Return Matter Of Life And Death
Volume 8
Laserdisc Volume 8
The Infernal Machine Another Time, Another Place
Volume 9
Laserdisc Volume 9
Ring Around The Moon Missing Link
Volume 10
Laserdisc Volume 10
The Last Sunset The Full Circle
Volume 11
Laserdisc Volume 11
Space Brain The Troubled Spirit
Volume 12
Laserdisc Volume 12
The Testament Of Arkadia The Last Enemy
Volume 13
Laserdisc Volume 13
The Metamorph All That Glisters
Volume 14
Laserdisc Volume 14
The Exiles Journey To Where
Volume 15
Laserdisc Volume 15
The Mark Of Archanon One Moment Of Humanity
Volume 16
Laserdisc Volume 16
The Rules Of Luton The Taybor
Volume 17
Laserdisc Volume 17
The Beta Cloud Brian The Brain
Volume 18
Laserdisc Volume 18
The A B Chrysalis Catacombs Of The Moon
Volume 19
Laserdisc Volume 19
The Lambda Factor The Immunity Syndrome
Volume 20
Laserdisc Volume 20
The Dorcons Dorzak
Volume 21
Laserdisc Volume 21
The Seance Spectre Devil's Planet
Volume 22
Laserdisc Volume 22
Seed Of Destruction Space Warp
Volume 23
Laserdisc Volume 23
New Adam, New Eve A Matter Of Balance

Copyright Martin Willey