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White Screen of Death

What happens when a tape from Thorn EMI, Columbia, Paramount, or MCA tape from the early to mid '80s ends

The Bell & Howell - Video Systems/Rank Video Services America/Deluxe Video Laboratories test pattern is a British-Worldwide test card that appears at the end of a videocassette that is duplicated at Bell & Howell - Video Systems, Rank Video Services America and Deluxe Video Laboratories. It actually looks more grayish in color when compared to real white, but people call it the White Screen of Death because it comes after a black screen on a videocassette and does so in a manner that may startle most inattentive viewers. It has so far appeared on Rank-duplicated tapes distributed by: 


Here is what tones were used on tapes from these companies:

400hz (Lowest Pitched)Edit

  1. Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment (in 1982)
  2. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (in 1982-1983)
  3. MCA Videocassette Inc. (in 1982)
  4. Golden Book Video (1985) (Heard on a pressing of Mercer Mayer's Stories)

463hz (Lowest Pitched) Edit

  1. Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment (in 1981) (heard on a pressing of Seems Like Old Times)

500hz (Lowest Pitched)Edit

  1. Paramount Home Video (heard on a 1980 pressing of The Shootist)
  2. MSD Video (heard on a 1986 pressing of The Adventures of Classic Cartoons: Woody Woodpecker and Friends)

880hz (Lower Pitched)Edit

During this tone, a single click can be heard every second.

  1. MCA Videocassette Inc. (1980-1981)
  2. Paramount Home Video (1981) (some tapes)

933hz (Low Pitched)Edit

  1. Paramount Home Video (heard on a 1984 pressing of Hatari)
  2. MCA/Universal Home Video (on some printings of The War)
  3. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (on some printings of Shocking Treasure)
  4. FoxVideo (on some printings of True Lies)

963hz (Low Pitched)Edit

  1. Fotomat Video (heard on a 1979 pressing of Nashville, as well as the 1980 pressing of Smokey and the Bandit)
  2. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (in 1983)
  3. Walt Disney Home Video (Heard on 1995 UK Pressing of Winnie The Pooh: Growing Up - Helping Others)

1000hz (Normal Pitched)Edit

  1. Paramount Home Video (Slightly higher pitched 1020hz tone as heard on a 1984 pressings of Footloose and Trading Places)
  2. Walt Disney Home Video (heard on tapes distributed by VideoVisa)
  3. MCA Videocassette Inc.
  4. MCA Home Video
  5. MCA/Universal Home Video
  6. Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment
  7. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video
  8. Columbia TriStar Home Video
  9. SVS Triumph
  10. Media Home Entertainment (heard on a 1984 pressing of Felix the Cat in Outer Space)
  11. Hi-Tops Video (heard on a 1986 pressing of Madballs: Escape From Orb)
  12. Sony Wonder
  13. Diamond Entertainment Corporation (heard on some copies of Legends of Entertainment Video among other tapes.)
  14. MGM Home Entertainment (on tapes distributed by VideoVisa)
  15. Warner Home Video (heard on some pressings of Batman, Wrongfully Accused, City Of Angels, Battlefield Earth, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever and The Avengers and on other tapes distributed by VideoVisa)
  16. D.K. Vision (Dorling Kindersley) (heard on some pressings of the Hullaballoo Videos)
  17. New Line Home Video (heard on some pressings of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me)
  18. Lorimar Home Video (heard on a pressing of Jane Fonda's Workout: Workout with Weights)
  19. CBS/Fox Video (some tapes)
  20. Key Video (some tapes)
  21. Playhouse Video (some tapes)
  22. FoxVideo
  23. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (heard on a 1999 British pressing of The Simpsons: Oh Brother Where Art Thou? and on tapes distributed by VideoVisa)
  24. View Master Video
  25. Thorn EMI/HBO/Cannon Video
  26. J2 Communications
  27. Golden Book Video
  28. Random House Home Video
  29. Pacific Arts
  30. World Wide Home Video (heard on a 1984 pressing of Two a Penny)
  31. Feature Films For Families
  32. Brentwood Home Video
  33. International Video Entertainment
  34. Live Home Video
  35. Family Home Entertainment
  36. Hallmark Home Entertainment
  37. Vidmark Entertainment
  38. Simon & Schuster Video
  39. Republic Pictures Home Video
  40. Price/Stern/Sloan Video
  41. Nintendo of America INC
  42. VideoVisa Video
  43. Central Park Media
  44. Continental Video
  45. RTC Video
  46. Tycoon Home Video
  47. Spartan Home Entertainment
  48. Mattel Video (heard on a pressing of The Story of P.J. Sparkles)
  49. MSD Video

1020hz (Slightly High Pitched) Edit

  1. Paramount Home Video (Heard on a 1980 pressing of Rough Cut)

1120hz (High Pitched)Edit

  1. Paramount Home Video (heard on a 1980 pressing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, as well as the 1981 pressing of When Worlds Collide and the 1980 pressing of Barbarella)
  2. MCA Videocassette Inc. (heard on a 1981 pressing of Flash Gordon)
  3. Family Home Entertainment (heard on a 1995 pressing of Nick & Noel)

1200hz (Higher Pitched)Edit

  1. Fotomat Video
  2. MCA Videocassette Inc. (heard on a 1982 pressing of The Amazing Spider-Man)

Dial tone Edit

  1. Walt Disney Home Video (heard on a 1991 pressing of Walt Disney's Masterpiece: Fantasia and on other tapes)
  2. Video Collection International (Heard Once On UK VHS of ALF 4: Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue And Keepin’ the Faith)

With clickingEdit

  1. Paramount Home Video (sometimes with an 880 Hz tone)
  2. MCA Videocassette Inc. (with an 880 Hz tone)
  3. MCA Home Video
  4. MCA/Universal Home Video
  5. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video
  6. Columbia TriStar Home Video
  7. SVS Triumph
  8. Sony Wonder
  9. Warner Home Video (heard on some early pressings of Batman)
  10. CBS/Fox Video
  11. Key Video
  12. Playhouse Video
  13. FoxVideo
  14. View Master Video (sometimes with letterboxing)
  15. J2 Communications
  16. Golden Book Video (sometimes with letterboxing)
  17. Random House Home Video (sometimes with letterboxing)
  18. Pacific Arts
  19. International Video Entertainment (sometimes with letterboxing)
  20. Live Home Video
  21. Family Home Entertainment (sometimes with letterboxing)
  22. Vidmark Entertainment
  23. Simon & Schuster Video
  24. Republic Pictures Home Video
  25. Price/Stern/Sloan Video
  26. Central Park Media
  27. Mattel Video (heard on a pressing of The Story of P.J. Sparkles)
  28. Walt Disney Home Video (Heard on a 1996 Pressing of Walt Disney’s Masterpiece Collection Copy of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh)

Letterboxed with red barsEdit

This variant only appears on SLP-mode tapes and some SP-mode tapes from before late 1989.

  1. Golden Book Video
  2. International Video Entertainment
  3. Family Home Entertainment
  4. View Master Video
  5. Random House Home Video

SilentEdit

Sometimes, a version with no tone can be heard. This is usually seen on tapes duplicated somewhere other than B&H/Rank/Deluxe, such as:

  1. Simon and Schuster Video (1986)
  2. Blockbuster Video (1993)
  3. WorldVision Entertainment (1993) (Seen on a pressing of Happily Ever After.)
  4. Universal Studios Home Video Canada (2001) (Seen on a Canadian pressing of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.)
  5. ABC Video (1994): (Seen on a pressing of Leslie Nielsen's Bad Golf Made Easier.)
  6. MCA/Universal Home Video (1995): (Seen on a pressing of Freddie the Frog.)
  7. WarnerVision Entertainment (1995): (Seen on a pressing of People)
  8. Nintendo of America INC. (1997-2000)
  9. Sony Music Entertainment (1994-1999, 2002): (Seen on pressings of The Beginner's Bible: The Story of Noah and Elmo's World Family Feature, perhaps among other tapes.)
  10. Sony Wonder (1994-1999, 2002): (Seen on pressings of The Beginner's Bible: The Story of Noah and Elmo's World Family Feature, perhaps among other tapes.)
  11. Columbia Music Video (1994-1997)
  12. Epic Music Video (1994-1997)
  13. Random House Home Video (1997): (Seen on a pressing of Green Eggs And Ham.)
  14. Pioneer Entertainment (1999): (Seen on a pressing of the English-subtitled version of Sailor Moon S: Hearts in Ice.)
  15. Paramount Home Video (1999): (Seen on a pressing of Blue's Clues: Blue's Discoveries.)
  16. Walt Disney Home Video (2001): (Seen on a pressing of Recess: School's Out.)
  17. Manga Entertainment (2002): (Seen on a pressing of the English-dubbed version of The End of Evangelion.)
  18. Big Idea (2003): (Seen on a pressing of VeggieTales: The Ballad Of Little Joe.)
  19. VCI Entertainment (2005)
  20. Dreamworks Home Entertainment (2000-2005): (Seen on a pressing of The Road To El Dorado as well as a pressing of Shark Tale.)
  21. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2005-2006)

Other colorsEdit

This test pattern has also been seen in other colors apart from white.

BlackEdit

  1. The Adventures of Classic Cartoons: Woody Woodpecker and Friends (MSD Video, 1986 pressing, 500 Hz tone)
  2. Battlestar Galactica (MCA Videocassette Inc, 1980 pressing, 1000 Hz tone)
  3. Catch-22 (Paramount Home Video, 1982 pressing, 1000 Hz tone)
  4. Escape from Alcatraz (Paramount Home Video, 1983 pressing, 1000 Hz tone)
  5. The Shootist (Paramount Home Video, 1980 pressing, 500 Hz tone)
  6. Smokey and the Bandit (MCA Videocassette Inc, 1980 pressing, 1000 Hz tone)
  7. The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: There’s No Camp Like Home (Walt Disney Home Video, 1991 Pressing, 500 Hz tone)

Lime greenEdit

  1. Nashville (Fotomat Video, 1979 pressing, 963 Hz tone)
  2. Smokey and the Bandit (Fotomat Video, 1980 pressing, 963 Hz tone)
  3. Winnie The Pooh: Growing Up - Helping Others (Disney, 1995 UK Pressing, 963 Hz tone, Which not found it Yet)

Red Edit

  1. The Simpsons: Oh Brother Where Art Thou? (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 1999 UK Pressing, 1000 Hz tone)
  2. Gift Wrapped (New Age Video, 1987 Pressing, Silent)
  3. The Christmas Visit (New Age Video, 1987 Pressing, Silent)
  4. ALF The Animated Series - A Mid Goomer Night’s Dream And Bone Losers (Lollipop Video, UK Pressing, 1000 Hz Tone)

How to Find a Tape With This Ending Edit

  • To find White Screen of Death and the Moaning Sound at the end of a tape, make sure that there's a sticker under the tape label and no barcode on the tape guard.