Black Cauldron - Book and Record

Retro Records: The Black Cauldron (1985)

Fun fact, friends. 1985’s The Black Cauldron was actually intended to be released in 1984. In fact it was intended to be the big Holiday release for Walt Disney Pictures. The reason for the delay? It might have had something to do with the test screening of The Black Cauldron. The one that rumors claim sent smaller children running from the private theater in Burbank, California. That might of course be hard to believe at first, but I would ask you to certainly check out the teaser trailer, before making your decision!

[Via] Bslatky

For The Black Cauldron things looked pretty grim. It’s even been said that Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was the studio chairman, took the film and attempted to edit it himself. Against the wishes of producer Joe Hale (Robin Hood, The Black Hole) in fact. Supposedly it was the CEO of Disney at the time, Michael Eisner, that stopped that editing, but Katzenberg felt strongly that changes needed to be made. So not only did The Black Cauldron get pushed from it’s Holiday spot to July of 1985, but some of the more darker aspects were excised as well.

[Via] Sky TV

However, in the end much like 1979’s The Black Hole the film failed to reach its audience. Or at the very least the movie going public of the time weren’t ready to embrace the film. Furthermore it wasn’t even until August 4th, 1998 that The Black Cauldron was released for home media!
Black Cauldron - VHS Tape

That isn’t to say I knew anything about all of that behind the scenes drama in my youth. As a matter of fact the first time I even knew a movie was coming out was thanks to a collectible butter tub featuring scenes from the film. Of course there were puzzles, children’s books, as well as coloring books.
Black Cauldron - Coloring Book

Naturally there was also a wonderful book and record for The Black Cauldron.


So, go grab your favorite beverage and snack. Sit back and let us journey back to 1985 as we listen and read The Black Cauldron on Retro Records!

[Via] RAD

Black Cauldron - Poster

Stark Trek II - Book and Record

Retro Records: Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Khan

Audio, the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of Retro Records and this time we have Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan! In truth I had an interesting time trying to nail down when this was released. I have found sites that claimed it came out in 1985. Others purported however that is was 1984. Since of course I couldn’t see the inside of the book itself I had to keep looking. Finally I did indeed come across the correct information and Buena Vista’s adaptation of 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan looks like it was published in 1983.

I have mentioned in the past how much time I spent alone as a child. While there were neighborhood kids to play with when visiting my Grandparents. I mostly entertained myself when at home with my books and toys. Granted the Atari 2600 and a subscription to the Buena Vista book and record club went a long way to helping too.

With this adaptation of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, you can safely assume they have streamlined the film a bit. Of course they have also toned down quite a bit of the death count from the movie. Which is totally understandable considering the age of their target audience. That doesn’t mean they don’t take the opportunity to show off a mortally wounded Khan!
Star Trek II - Wrath of Khan - Khan

Honestly this 1983 adaptation does a fine job of presenting the overall story from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Although I am going to have to bring up that the impersonation of Admiral James T. Kirk…is odd to my ears.
Star Trek II - Wrath of Khan - Page 1

This is the first Buena Vista book and record that I have noticed they colored out a background character’s face. Seriously, what is going on back there? Did Scotty accept an trainee from Ariannus – maybe another mutation?
Star Trek II - Wrath of Khan - Scotty

Most importantly of all, Buena Vista managed to capture the excitement of the movie. Yet again while not showing us all of the poor crew members of the Enterprise that were hurt and killed during the epic space duel. You still however get that thrill as well as the tension of the film itself. Thanks to not just the narration but the chosen photos used throughout the book.
Star Trek II - Wrath of Khan - Chekov

Grab your favorite snack and beverage. Relax and travel back to 1983 as we listen and read Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

[Via] Secret Cavern

Since we are on the topic of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. How can we pass up a moment to not listen to that epic theme from the late and great James Horner?

[Via] Jedi King 12

ALF Drops In

Retro Records: ALF Drops In – Book And Tape (1987)

What can make a morning better? ALF can do that very thing, of course! Now it’s no great secret that those of us here at The Retroist enjoy 1980’s ALF. We have been known to share once or twice…or more, our appreciation of everyone’s favorite Melmacian.

Having said that, I will have to admit I wasn’t aware that ALF had any Read-Along Books and Tapes back in the day. But lo and behold there were at least four of them produced. Besides ALF Drops In that we are sharing today. There was Super-ALF, ALF Plays Detective, and ALF Goes Wild as well.

I found it equally important that they were all released by Buena Vista. Indeed, the same company also known for book and record combos like last week’s The Black Hole!

In this instance, ALF Drops In retells how Gordon Shumway met the Tanner Family. In addition to some great artwork throughout the storybook. It appears that all of the cast provided their voices to their characters from the TV series. Either that or they took audio from various television episodes – but I highly doubt that was the case.
ALF Drops

The narrator for ALF Drops In is none other than William “Bill” Woodson. Who narrated a great deal of those books and records for Buena Vista. As well as providing all manner of voice work – which I might add included a very famous line from the Super Friends!

[Via] Brian Young

Seeing that this is in fact a book and cassette tape. I certainly hope you will forgive me for lumping it in the Retro Records category. So without further ado let us join ALF and the Tanners for ALF Drops In!

[Via] Cat Jay Bird

You enjoyed ALF Drops In but are needing more information?


I am very happy to inform you that you are in luck. As the Retroist himself has already recorded a podcast on ALF – which you can listen to below!
Retroist ALF Podcast

The Black Hole

Retro Records: The Black Hole Book and Record (1979)

It’s turning out to be a Black Hole kind of weekend. I mean – just look at Earl Green’s excellent Cygnus model post from the other day. A fan made piece of art that blew us away to say the very least. And now in addition we have this offering. The book and record adaptation of The Black Hole from 1979!
The Black Hole

Thanks to this video upload by Old Disney Records we can thrill once again to the exploits of the crew from the U.S.S. Palomino. Crossing paths in the darkness of space with the crazed Dr. Hans Reinhardt and the dangerous Maximilian. Aboard the mysterious Cygnus and the very real threat of the ravenous Black Hole.

I have an incredible amount of fond memories concerning the Walt Disney Productions’ book and records. I still have many of those I grew up with including this record. TRON, Davy Crockett, Mary Poppins, and more. Granted not all of them are in as good a condition as the one you will hear in the video below.

While the book and records were well known in their adaptations of trimming the fat for a story. Of course I will remind you they only had a small amount of time on the 33 and 1/3 records. The fact is the total running time for The Black Hole is a little over 9 minutes. To help in this process the adaptation of the Black Hole cuts loose two crew members of the Palomino.

For example Ernest Borgnine’s role of Harry Booth, the engineer, has been excised.
The Black Hole

As well as Anthony Perkins’ part as Dr. Alex Durant.

Having said that it is still a solid package. Managing to keep the main gist of the story and exciting moments intact. They even use some of John Barry’s excellent soundtrack as well as sound effects from the film.

The most interesting aspect of it is how it tackles the ending of the movie. For those of you that haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing The Black Hole the conclusion is…equal parts terrifying and subject to interpretation.

Now without further ado, joins us on Retro Records as we listen to 1979’s The Black Hole!