Sunday, January 25, 2009

The "Magic" of Video - Part I-A:
DR. STRANGE - the 1978 TV Movie
Promos, Design Art and Swag

Hopefully you watched and enjoyed the presentation of the 01978 "made-for-TV" pilot movie of

(In case you missed it - as presented HERE)

Today we're just going to take a look at some (most) of the Promotional material, Design artwork and video releases for the film, which, as a collector of all-things Doctor Strange (eclectica and ephemera included), I have spent long hours (ok... years) to obtain.


First up, is the actual television print ad for the original broadcast of the movie.

which is found in THIS issue of TV GUIDE


There were, of course, numerous production stills and promotional photographs.
Here is one featuring Jessica Walter (Morgan Le Fay) and Peter Hooten (Dr. Strange) in plain-clothes.

There were several with Strange in his more ornate sorcerer's garb, as well as ones featuring actors on the soundstage. Most of those images were stills from the actual film, unlike this photo, which shows the actors in a shot not seen on screen.


This is a press-release notice that accompanied the pic giving all the pertinent information of the photo and the broadcast.


These next three images are actual character costume design studies (and some conceptual set designs) by artistic consultant (and former Doctor Strange comic artist); Frank Brunner.




These illustrations are from the fabulous art-book: After Image; the 2nd volume of the Brunner Mystique (although, I wholeheartedly recommend The Brunner Mystique as well).

If you're interested, After Image is available from: sellers like these.

Brunner Mystique available from here: as well.

One of the challenges for the costume design was the overall belief that costumes worn in the comics don't translate well into "real life", and as such, Doctor Strange's costumes were heavily retooled.

According to some of the interviews and articles, the first (and cooler of the two) was designed along the lines of "a man attending an opera", with a lush cloak (with a heck of a lot of 'bling').

It was far more favorable to the final costume that Strange wears at the end of the movie.
As opposed to his traditional "demon" emblem, the final costume features a "star-burst" symbol, which was actually one of Frank Brunner's trademark design elements.

(The brown bell-bottoms, however, were just a by-product of the times.
Hell, I had 'em too, back then, and I was certainly not a mystic master!)

Still, that final costume design is far worse and more outlandishly gaudy than the classic one(s) that Ditko designed.


These are but some of the magazines that featured promotional photos, interviews, articles and/or copy blurbs pertaining to the film.
It was, of course, the subject of many "revisited" articles and interviews, but we're just dealing with the ones that were released at the time.

It's entirely possible that there may also have been other magazines that featured information on the film at the time (and heck... I may even HAVE some - with the sheer number of magazines that I have, I might have forgotten about them).


What follows are the many video releases for the movie.

The 01987 U.S. release.

The 01993 re-release
(note the different MCA logo at the bottom)


The 01995 re-release
(still in shrinkwrap)

01986 German Edition
Oddly enough, this one has a copyright date of 1971 printed on the front. Seven years BEFORE the movie was released. A typo, obviously, as on the back cover they have the correct year.---------

One version of the UK tape
(no date listed except for the original 1978 copyright)

Another UK version
slightly redesigned from the one above

* I thought it would be interesting to reference from whence that UK cover art originated:
T'was from DOCTOR STRANGE v1 # 171, art by Dan Adkins...
Actually, I SHOULD say that it was RE-DRAWN by someone else, as there are differences between the original comic-art and the far cruder VHS cover-art.

If interested, original VHS tapes can be obtained HERE.

It's FINALLY available officially on DVD!
2017 US DVD Release

Not only do we get a USA (area 1) DVD. But they also released a UK (areas 2,4,5) DVD.

2017 UK DVD Release


There are, of course, many bootleg DVD's available, but none of them are official releases, and many are of poor video quality (closer to the YouTube video picture quality) than the authentic VHS tapes.

Some are quite good, but they are few and far between.

I personally own 4 or 5 different DVD versions - mostly purchased for the interesting interpretations of cover art and menu design (and, y'know... the obsession).


I'm going to end this entry with a portion of the 01980 Doctor Strange calendar (as shown in full detail in THIS POST).
These are the final panels in the calendar (December 31st and the following "free spaces" afterward).
The fun imagery for "Doctor Strange on TV!", the usage of the EYE of AGAMOTTO with the CBS logo, and Strange destroying a TV soundstage and film crew are cute, playful touches.


Next time, we'll take a look at the one other piece of merchandise from the film...
A movie needs ancillary products, and a super-hero movie needs... an ACTION FIGURE!
We'll take a look at one that never quite made it to market... and the final fate to which it befell.


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