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|Featured CED VideoDisc No. 12 - Spring 1999|
Shown above are the FOX and CBS variations of Star Wars, a CED title manufactured with two different caddy labels, though the program contents and stock number on both variations are identical. The FOX variation on the left has a banner extending across the top of the caddy label that completely obscures the Death Star in the original art work. This was left off the CBS variation which was manufactured later on and is rarer than the FOX variation.
Star Wars was a highly anticipated and immensely popular CED title when it was released in August 1982. This title even drove the sale of RCA's stereo SGT200 and SGT250 players, which became available only two months earlier. At that time CED was the most popular way to experience Star Wars in stereo by running the player left/right audio outputs through a stereo TV or audio amplifier.
Two significant events took place around the time of Star Wars' CED release which account for the label variations. One was the opening of CBS's CED pressing facility in Carrollton, Georgia which became (and remained) the only disc pressing facility besides RCA's Indianapolis, Indiana plant. The other event was the merger of CBS and Twentieth Century-Fox Video to form CBS/FOX Video. Star Wars, being a massively pressed title, was eventually released with the updated CBS/FOX logo.
Star Wars was the first single-disc CED title released at the $34.98 price point and was the only CBS/Fox title ever set at this higher price. The price points for single discs titles up to the release of Star Wars were $14.98, $19.98, $21.98, $24.98, and $29.98. Only a few of the later MCA and Warner single-disc titles were also priced at $34.98. Despite the higher price there wasn't much complaining. Such was not the case when MCA released the two-disc Conan the Barbarian in November 1983 at a price of $44.98 (two-disc sets usually were priced at $34.98 or $39.98). This caused such a negative backlash that this price point was never used again, and it set off RCA's $19.98 advertising campaign in January 1984.
There have been rumors that the Star Wars CED, being an early video release, contains some scenes missing from the later video releases of the movie. I did a side-by-side comparison of the CED with the first letterbox LaserDisc release and saw no differences. This comparison was somewhat of a hassle to accomplish because the CED is slightly time compressed causing the CED player and LaserDisc player to rapidly fall out of sync. Time compression was used on the CED to fit the movie and end credits into the 120 minute limit of a single CED disc (this limit was increased to 126 minutes in 1984).
One persistent rumor is that the Star Wars CED contains a scene where Luke misses with the grappling hook the first time he throws it across the chasm in the Death Star and has to throw it a second time. I've checked about a dozen Star Wars CED's for this scene and haven't seen it, although you may want to check your copy (the grappling hook scene is 25 minutes into Side 2). This missing footage may have been present only in the 70mm theatrical print shown in nine theaters during the original May 25, 1977 release. More information on this is available in the Star Wars Compendium of Lost Footage.
Now that the CED Magic Collector's Guide CD-ROM is completed and provides a detailed CED visual record, I'm hoping that collectors will email me other label variations they discover, as Jesse Skeen did with this Star Wars variation a couple years ago. I'm looking for any variation other than the presence or absence of handles or handle cutouts on the caddy (half the existing CED titles may have this variation). New variations will be added to the CED Label and Caddy Variations page.