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USA/CANADA WARNINGS


1st Warning (1979-1981, 1984)

Warning: We see the Warning screen scrolling up. The word "WARNING" appears in a cream color; the Warning text is in white. Everything's in capitals.

FX: The scroll up of the Warning.

Cheesy Factor: It seems the graphics and animation were done on a 1970s computer. Also, the top text should have been said "FBI WARNING" instead of "WARNING".

Availability: On all MGM/CBS releases of the era. This warning also appears on the 1984 CBS/Fox release of S.O.B., but at the end, following the movie. (MGM/CBS originally released the film in 1982 as part of their label). It makes a surprise appearance on every I Love Lucy Collector's Edition videocassettes from CBS Video Library.

Scare Factor: Low.


2nd Warning (1981-1990, 1991, 1992)

Warning: We see the Warning screen scrolling up. The word "WARNING" is in red with white outline between two white lines; the warning text is in white and now appears in lowercase. The black bars are at the top and bottom of the screen, but faded.

Variants:

  • On classic MGM movies, the warning is in black and white.
  • On laserdiscs and CED Videodiscs, "cassette" is replaced by "videodisc".
  • On Turner Home Entertainment releases, the warning text is in a different way.
  • On PBS Home Entertainment releases, the warning text is in a different way with red background.

FX: Same as the previous Warning screen.

Cheesy Factor: The cheesy thing about the warning is the same as the usual FBI Warnings of the era. It was fixed for the next warning.

Availability: On all MGM/CBS and MGM/UA releases from the era. Also seen on Wood Knapp Video releases of United Artists and MGM films, as well as a couple of Nova Home Video and Junior Home Video releases at the time. For an odd reason, this appeared on the original VHS release of Thelma and Louise. Possibly an editing mistake on MGM's part. Finally, this warning can also be seen on the 1992 reprint VHS of Fiddler on the Roof, because it was released in 1990, and they forgot to change the warning.

Scare Factor: Low.


3rd Warning (1990-2005)


Warning: It's nearly the same as the 1988 FHE/USA/Vidmark/IVE/Live/Avid/Trimark/Artisan/Lionsgate Warning Screen, except the bottom text is rephrased and not in italics nor bold and in uppercase letters. 

Variants:

  • Most MGM DVD releases have an updated version of this Warning. A brighter shade of red is used, and the text is in the Johnston font (except for "WARNING", which is set in Arial).
  • On Newvideo and Screen Media Films releases, the warning text had no drop shadows.
  • On post-2004 Viz Media releases, the word "WARNING" has no drop shadow while the warning text is different.
  • On 1998-2005 DreamWorks Home Entertainment releases, the word "WARNING" is underlined the bottom text is gone.

FX: None.

Cheesy Factor: The top text should have been said "FBI WARNING" instead of "WARNING".


Availability: On all MGM releases from the era (with the exception of the 2002 NBC.com exclusive VHS of It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, which had no warning at all; however, the 2003 VHS of that same movie had this warning). Also seen on New Line Home Video releases from 1992 to 1997, as well as HBO DVD releases and some WarnerVision/KidVision releases. The final MGM releases to use this logo are VHS's distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Scare Factor: Low. The cut from the MGM Home Entertainment logo could frighten some.

Final Note: When Sony acquired MGM's home entertainment rights in 2005, it went to use the warnings from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. When Fox acquired MGM's home entertainment rights in 2006, it went to use the warnings from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.



INTERNATIONAL WARNINGS

United Kingdom

1st Warning(1980-1986)

Warning: On a black background is white text fading in: This video cassette is a genuine first generation copy produced on behalf of and with the approval of MGM/UA HOME VIDEO Then it fades out and goes to a warning scroll. On the same black background, we start with the word "WARNING" appearing in yellow, followed up by white generic text using the same font. Finally, at the end, a yellow message appears on the bottom, saying: This prohibition maybe enforced by legal action.

Variant: There is an early version of the warning where the "Genuine first generation copy" notice is omitted, no underline on "WARNING", and the yellow message is in white. This can be seen on the MGM/CBS pre-cert release of Clash of the Titans.

FX/SFX: The scroll up of the Warning on the second screen.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Scarce. The easiest find is on a mid-1980s UK copy of The Wizard of Oz.

Scare Factor: None.


2nd Warning (1986)

Nickname: "The World's Longest Warning Screen"

Warning: On a blue background, the following yellow text is typed in: This video cassette is a genuine first generation copy produced on behalf of and with the approval of MGM/UA HOME VIDEO It then scrolls up very slowly. The same is repeated for the next four blocks of text, however when the last block finishes typing in, the warning fades out.

FX/SFX: The typing in and scrolling up of each block of text.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Rare. Seen on the UK rental release of Cry for the Strangers.

Scare Factor: None.


3rd Warning (1986-2000)

Warning: There is yellow text on a blue background. On the first screen, it reads: This video cassette is a genuine first generation copy produced on behalf of and with the approval of MGM/UA HOME VIDEO Then it transitions via flip effect to the next screen with the same blue background. We see "WARNING" at the top with warning text (which has a quote at the beginning) underneath it, also in yellow. Then it flips to another screen with the second portion of the text, and to another with the third and last portion of it. Finally, it flips to the fifth screen, which reads: Any such unauthorised action could give rise to civil or criminal proceeding."

Variant:

  • Sometimes all the screens were stacked on one another and they scroll up on a blue background.
  • On later tapes, the warning was in an Arial font and it looks enhanced

FX/SFX: The flipping of each screen. The scroll up of the text in said variant.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Seen on British MGM/UA tapes of the era. Examples include Thelma and LouiseGoldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies.

Scare Factor: None.


4th Warning (2000-2005)

See 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Warning Screen for details.

Australia

1st Warning (1980-1990)

See PBV/CEL Warning Screen for details.

2nd Warning (1990-2000)

See Warner Home Video Warning Screen for details.

3rd Warning (2000-2005)

See 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Warning Screen for details.

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