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|Featured CED VideoDisc No. 21 - Summer 2001|
The recently announced re-release of this movie to theaters and an impending DVD prompted me to choose it as the featured CED for Summer 2001. This is the earliest work available on CED from the classic 6-member comedy troupe consisting of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. The movie was originally in mono, but the new release will be in stereo both in theaters and on the DVD (a mono DVD has been available since 1999- be careful which one you buy).
The most interesting thing about the re-release, from a CED perspective, is the inclusion of 23 seconds cut from most prior releases of the Holy Grail. Well, the CED from 1983 had those 23 seconds, proudly proclaiming INCLUDING...THE MISSING 24 SECONDS!! on the front label of the disc caddy. There is a discrepancy of 1 second between the CED label and what they're saying now, but I believe that's just a difference in measuring its length rather than a difference in content. These missing seconds begin at 44:05 near the end of Side 1 just as Carol Cleveland (a Python regular) looks directly at the camera and begins talking to it. The missing section ends at 44:30 after various cast members have shouted "Get on with it!" and Carol Cleveland turns from the camera to close the door behind her. I timed the missing section length at 25 seconds with the digital counter on an SJT400 in page mode (playing the disc groove by groove). This may actually be a more accurate measure than the other estimates, as the counter is accurate to 8/60 of a second- the time it takes for one VideoDisc groove to play.
A couple of other unusual things about the Holy Grail CED are the inclusion of the theatrical trailer and the presentation of the movie in letterbox format. Trailers are very rare on CED's and usually are advertisements for other titles that appear on the disc after the regular movie is over. In the case of the Holy Grail, the 4-minute trailer is at the very beginning of Side 1 of the CED. The disc is also banded, with the trailer on Band 1, so random access players can be programmed to skip over it with the 30-button remote control. CED's were the first consumer video format to employ letterboxing, and Holy Grail was the second CED title released in what RCA called their "innovative wide-screen mastering technique."
As the following table shows, members of the Monty Python troupe are well-represented in the CED format. I've often wondered if there was a Python fan with powerful influence in the programming selection department at RCA.
|CED Title with Python Member(s)||Year||Python Member(s) in Cast (or other function)|
|Monty Python and the Holy Grail (NTSC)||1975||Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin|
|Monty Python's Life of Brian (NTSC)||1979||Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin|
|The Great Muppet Caper (NTSC/PAL)||1981||John Cleese|
|Time Bandits (NTSC/PAL)||1981||John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam (director, producer)|
|The Missionary (NTSC/PAL)||1982||Michael Palin|
|Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (NTSC/PAL)||1982||Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin|
|Privates on Parade (PAL)||1982||John Cleese|
|The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (NTSC)||1982||Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin|
|Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (NTSC)||1983||Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin|
|Yellowbeard (NTSC/PAL)||1983||Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle|
|European Vacation (NTSC)||1985||Eric Idle|
|Silverado (NTSC)||1985||John Cleese|
|Spies Like Us (NTSC)||1985||Terry Gilliam|
The start of the missing seconds where Carol Cleveland turns her head and begins talking directly to the camera. The optional time 44:05:17 and band 09 display appears near the bottom of the image. The elapsed disc playback time is read as 44 minutes, 5 17/60 seconds.
The end of the missing seconds as Carol Cleveland turns her head away from the camera. The elapsed disc playback time of 44:30:13 indicates a length right around 25 seconds.