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As soon as Thunderbirds had been released on television, the merchandise quickly followed, and naturally the shows themselves were what everybody wanted to see over and over again.
Home Moves (Reel To Reel)Edit
In 1965 the average school child had to wait for the re-runs on TV, but made available to purchase were Home move machines, these reel to reel machines could be set up in a darkened room, the reels available were 45 feet long and contained black and white, silent, cut down versions of an episode that could be projected onto a wall.
Released by a company called "Arrow Films", they were eventually available in Standard 8, Super 8, Colour Super 8 formats. Only five episodes were released for sale and sold for forty-five shillings and sixpence, a huge amount of money in 1965. They also released an Italian version of some episodes.
For a complete listing of releases see main entry:
- Main article: Arrow Home Movies (Reel to Reel)
At least one episode was apparently released in Germany, by a company called Accentfilm GmbH. Details unknown.
Released by Century 21 in the 1960s. See Century 21 Records for a complete list.
The Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) is an analog video disc playback system from the early 1980s. It was developed by RCA.
Betamax And Video 2000 TapesEdit
The big breakthrough in home entertainment came in 1981 with the release of Tapes in Betamax and Video 2000 formats. Machines were available at an affordable price, and for the first time episodes were available to watch at anytime on your own Television.
3 different tapes were released, "Thunderbirds to the Rescue" (the episodes Trapped in the Sky and Operation Crash Dive, joined together to form one film), ""Thunderbirds in Outer Space" (Sunprobe and Ricochet) and "Countdown To Disaster" (Terror in New York City and Atlantic Inferno
Betamax tapes were released in the UK in 1981 by Precision Video, followed by USA (Family Home Entertainment 1985), Australia (Syme Home Video 1984), Japan (Emotion-Bandai 1984) and finally, Spain (Elite 1985).
Video 2000 tapes were release in the UK in 1981 (Precision Home Video) before quickly being over taken by the more popular Betamax and VHS formats.
For a complete listing of Betamax and Video 2000 Tapes see:
- Main article: Betamax Tapes
The Betamax format was replaced by VHS which became the standard format until the introduction of DVD in the late 1990's
The first VHS tapes were releases in the UK in 1981, at the same time the Betamax and Video 200 formats by Precision Home Video. VHS tapes were also released along side other countries Betamax versions.
In 1986 Channel 5 Video (UK) released a set of 16 tapes, the first 3, were reissued and repackaged, and for the first time, the whole series were available on the remaining 13 tapes.
A Complete list of Suppliers Of VHS TapesEdit
- Precision Video ,UK 1981 (3 volumes)
- Emotion-Bandai, Japan 1984 (3 volumes)
- B.MJ Mygale, France 1986 (32 volumes)
- Film Pack, Australia 1989 (16 volumes)
- Polygram, UK 1991 (16 volumes)
- Festival Video, Australia 1991 (5 volumes)
- Polygram UK, 1991 (8 double volumes)
- Design Home Video, Australia 1993 (10 volumes)
- A+E Home Video, USA 1994 (4 volumes)
- Polygram Video (Fox Kids) USA 1994 (4 volumes)
- SVM Enterprises, Netherlands 1993 (15 volumes)
- Sony Music, France 1994 (8 volumes)
- Malofilm, Canada 1994 (6 volumes)
- Polygrame Video, Australia 1994 (4 highlights volumes)
- Video Log, Spain 1996 (12 volumes)
- Polygrame Video, UK 1996 (4 highlights Volumes)
- Columbia House, Canada/USA 1997 (8 volumes)
- Carlton, UK 1999 (16 Volumes)
- Net.5 Video, Netherlands 2000 (16 volumes)
- Reel Corporation, Australia 2001 (16 volumes)
- A+E Home Video, USA 2001 (12 volumes)
In total the series was manufactured by over 21 different suppliers and released in over 90 countries around the world in English, French, German and Japanese dialogue and sub-titles.
A complete guide to the volumes can be found here:
- Main article: The History of Thunderbirds on VHS Tapes
VHS Box SetsEdit
In 1993 Polygram released the first full set of tapes in a box set. Carlton also released a full series in a box set in 2000 and in America, A+E released the whole series in 4 box sets.
A complete guide to VHS box sets can be found here:
- Main article: VHS Video And DVD Box Sets
Compact Video CassettesEdit
The Compact Video Cassette (CVC) format used a tape smaller than VHS and Betamax. It was first introduced in 1980 by both Funai and Technicolor. CVC cassettes measure c. 105x66x13mm.
Kidstuff released two audio-cassettes in 1981. Both featured one TV episode, adapted by novelist Tony Broadbent, with added narration by Clive Burton.
In 1992, Polygram released four individual cassette tapes, as well as three double-cassette volumes, containing some of the Century 21 audio-stories.
In 2001, Penguin released four Thunderbirds audiobooks. Each contained two episodes, with added narration by William Roberts.
- Vol 1: Trapped In The Sky / Pit Of Peril
- Vol 2: Martian Invasion / Brink Of Disaster
- Vol 3: Desperate Intruder / The Impostors
- Vol 4: Attack Of The Alligators! / Atlantic Inferno
Also very popular in the 1980's were Laser discs.
A complete list of Thunderbirds Laser discs can be found here:
- Main article: Laser Discs. (Under construction.)
The DVD format first arrived for sale in the UK in 1999 and was an overnight success, all other formats were discontinued. This format is still being sold into 2016 with the latest releases coinciding with the 50th anniversary.
A Complete list of Suppliers Of DVD DiscsEdit
- Carlton, UK 1999 (8 volumes)
- Bridge Pictures, Netherlands 2001 (8 volumes)
- A+E Entertainment, USA 2001 (12 volumes)
- Granada TFI, France 2001 (8 volumes)
- Suevia Films, Spain 2001 (11 volumes)
- Reel Corporation, Australia 2001 (8 volumes)
- Granada International, UK 2004 (8 volumes)
- ITV Studios, UK 2004 (8 volumes)
- Bridge Pictures, Netherlands 2004 (4 volumes)
- Suevia Films, Spain 2005 (11 volumes)
- Epix, Germany 2008, (10 volumes)
- Design Reel Corporation, Australia 2010 (8 volumes)
- Terminal Video, Italy 2012 (2 parts, 12 discs total)
DVD Box SetsEdit
In 2001 Carlton (UK) released the first box set containing the whole series and other companies under licence have followed including Bridge Pictures (Netherlands), A+E (USA), ITV Studios (UK), Granada (France), Columbia House (Canada), Epix (Germany), Eagle (Spain) and companies in Japan.
A full list of DVD box sets can be found here:
- Main article: VHS Video And DVD Box Sets
UMDs (Universal Media Discs)Edit
For playback on the Sony PlayStation Portable.
In 2008, ITV Studios (UK) released the series on the new Blu-ray format, these discs are multi-region and to date (2016) have only been produced in 4 countries (UK, Australia, USA and Japan) as several options are available on the discs that allows you to view in different languages or sub titles.
A complete list of Blu-Ray discs can be found here:
- Main article: Blu-Ray Discs
- ↑ The authenticity of this item can not be guaranteed