Mastervision – The Search Gets Complicated…

Mastervision Logo

If you’ve looked over at our checklist, you will have seen that Mastertronic’s obscure VHS range Mastervision is one of the most difficult of all of the company’s labels to collect. To the best of our knowledge, no official records exist of what was released for this short-lived label so the most comprehensive list that exists is the one found on this site.

It’s taken us years to compile this list in its current form. That has been down to online searching – from sales sites to images, specialist collectors groups – every avenue possible. We’ve looked at all of the releases we do know about and cross referencing those against other budget labels to see where they might have been sourced and working backwards to find a common starting point for companies these might have been sub-licensed from so we can extrapolate what else might exist. It’s worked for a few titles getting us closer to filling in gaps in our list.

We know roughly 60 titles exist going by the catalogue numbers, but everything changed this week. An eBay search uncovered a new tape, Tom Jones: Live In Las Vegas. I already owned another release in their music series, An Evening With… Tom Jones (one that was sub licensed from another publisher) but this was the most astonishing release I’ve added to the collection so far. To put this into some context, the “An Evening With…” releases have completely different packaging to most Mastervision releases and the only way to identify them is from the tape itself, a reference to Mastervision on the rear, and the number on the spine. Apart from that, the packaging is identical to the original publisher.

In the case of the Tom Jones tape, this was number MV047, and had a run time of 60 minutes and featured 19 of his most well-known songs. Now this is where things get interesting… The latest tape, Tom Jones: Live In Las Vegas has the number MV047A. Until this point, I’d never seen a Mastervision tape with a suffix on the number before but that’s not where the mystery stopped. This tape also had a runtime of 60 minutes and featured 19 songs. More accurately, the same 19 songs as the other tape in the same order. It appears that these are the same video, just with a different title and packaging, hence the number variant so it would seem that they were part of a separate license agreement.

In the case of the second version, this features standard Mastervision branding and is a better fit visually with the rest of the range. However, it does seem to be much harder to find as this is the only time I’ve encountered this video in years of searching.

But what does this mean for our wider Mastervision hunt? Well, at the moment we know of two releases in the range that are part of the “An Evening With…” series so that raises the question whether the other tape has an alternative version. However, we are currently investigating whether several other titles might exist that have been licensed from the same range. If that is the case, then there could be as many as six or seven variants in the range. And if that is happening to the music titles, are there variants for any of the other tapes as well?

Collecting Mastervision tapes has just got a lot more interesting…

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