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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:

270hz (Ultra Lowest Pitched) Edit

  1. MCA Videocassette Inc. (heard on a 1980 pressing of Cheech and Chong's Next Movie)

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)
  2. An Eaglemoss Video (heard on a pressing of The Animals of Farthing Wood Vol. 6 - Who Shall Wear The Crown?)

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, and on some rare pressings)
  3. Walt Disney Home Entertainment (heard on a 2003 pressing of Finding Nemo)
  4. Touchstone Home Video (heard on some pressings of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Ernest Saves Christmas)
  5. MCA Videocassette Inc.
  6. MCA Home Video
  7. MCA/Universal Home Video
  8. Universal Home Entertainment (heard on a RARE Pressing of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and a SUPER RARE 2005 Reprint of Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, and among other late 90’s tapes heard for 30 seconds until 2001)
  9. Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment
  10. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video
  11. Columbia TriStar Home Video
  12. SVS Triumph
  13. Media Home Entertainment (heard on a 1984 pressing of Felix the Cat in Outer Space)
  14. Hi-Tops Video (heard on a 1986 pressing of Madballs: Escape From Orb)
  15. Sony Wonder
  16. Diamond Entertainment Corporation (heard on some copies of Legends of Entertainment Video among other tapes.)
  17. MGM Home Entertainment (heard on a 1985 pressing of The Wizard of Oz and on other tapes distributed by VideoVisa)
  18. 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)
  19. D.K. Vision (Dorling Kindersley) (heard on some pressings of the Hullaballoo Videos)
  20. New Line Home Video (heard on some pressings of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me)
  21. Lorimar Home Video (heard on a pressing of Jane Fonda's Workout: Workout with Weights)
  22. CBS/Fox Video (some tapes)
  23. Key Video (some tapes)
  24. Playhouse Video (some tapes)
  25. FoxVideo
  26. 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)
  27. View Master Video
  28. Thorn EMI/HBO/Cannon Video
  29. J2 Communications
  30. Golden Book Video
  31. Random House Home Video
  32. Pacific Arts
  33. World Wide Home Video (heard on a 1984 pressing of Two a Penny)
  34. Feature Films For Families
  35. Brentwood Home Video
  36. International Video Entertainment
  37. Live Home Video
  38. Family Home Entertainment
  39. Hallmark Home Entertainment
  40. Vidmark Entertainment
  41. Simon & Schuster Video
  42. Republic Pictures Home Video
  43. Price/Stern/Sloan Video
  44. Nintendo of America INC
  45. VideoVisa Video
  46. Central Park Media
  47. Continental Video
  48. RTC Video
  49. Tycoon Home Video
  50. Spartan Home Entertainment
  51. Mattel Video (heard on a pressing of The Story of P.J. Sparkles)
  52. MSD Video
  53. BMG Video (Specifically heard on the Cabbage Patch Kids Videos and Sometimes on Other Videos)
  54. Video Treasures (heard on a 1996 Anchor Bay Pressing of Thomas and His Friends Help Out)
  55. Anchor Bay Entertainment (heard on a 1998 pressing of Thomas Comes to Breakfast and the 2001 Pressing of Best of Thomas)
  56. BBC Video (heard on a 1996 pressing of A Close Shave and a 1998 pressing of Journey Home: The Animals of Farthing Wood)

1020hz (Slightly High Pitched) Edit

  1. Paramount Home Video (heard on a 1980 pressing of Rough Cut)
  2. Nintendo of America INC (heard on a 1996 pressing of Nintendo 64: Change The System)

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. Universal Home Entertainment (heard on a RARE Pressing of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and a SUPER RARE 2005 Reprint of Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat)
  6. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video
  7. Columbia TriStar Home Video
  8. SVS Triumph
  9. Sony Wonder
  10. Warner Home Video (heard on some early pressings of Batman)
  11. BMG Video (heard on a 1996 pressing of Cabbage Patch Kids: The Clubhouse and the 1997 pressing of Cabbage Patch Kids: The Screen Test, and sometimes with letterboxing as Cabbage Patch Kids: The New Kid)
  12. CBS/Fox Video
  13. Key Video
  14. Playhouse Video
  15. FoxVideo
  16. View Master Video (sometimes with letterboxing)
  17. J2 Communications
  18. Golden Book Video (sometimes with letterboxing)
  19. Random House Home Video (sometimes with letterboxing)
  20. Pacific Arts
  21. International Video Entertainment (sometimes with letterboxing)
  22. Live Home Video
  23. Family Home Entertainment (sometimes with letterboxing)
  24. Vidmark Entertainment
  25. Simon & Schuster Video
  26. Republic Pictures Home Video
  27. Price/Stern/Sloan Video
  28. Central Park Media
  29. Mattel Video (heard on a pressing of The Story of P.J. Sparkles)
  30. Walt Disney Home Video (heard on a 1991 pressing of DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, and a 1996 pressing of Walt Disney’s Masterpiece Collection copy of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh)
  31. Big Idea, Inc. (heard on some 3-2-1 Penguins and Larry-Boy VHS pressings)
  32. Touchstone Home Video (heard on a 1990 pressing of Ernest Saves Christmas)
  33. Anchor Bay Entertainment (heard on a 1996 pressing Video Treasures copy of Thomas and His Friends Help Out)

Letterboxed with red barsEdit

This variant only appears on SLP-mode tapes and some SP-mode tapes from before late 1989, possibly from the 1990’s.

  1. Golden Book Video
  2. International Video Entertainment
  3. Family Home Entertainment
  4. View Master Video
  5. Random House Home Video
  6. BMG Video (heard on a 1996 pressing of Cabbage Patch Kids: The New Kid and The Adventures of Mole)

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 (1995-1996): (Seen on pressings of Jenny Craig Let’s Get Started and 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 (1994, 1997): (Seen on pressings of Richard Scarry’s Best Sing-Along Mother Goose Video Ever and Green Eggs And Ham.)
  14. Family Home Entertainment (1997): (Seen on a pressing of Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.)
  15. Pioneer Entertainment (1999): (Seen on a pressing of the English-subtitled version of Sailor Moon S: Hearts in Ice.)
  16. Paramount Home Video (1999): (Seen on a pressing of Blue's Clues: Blue's Discoveries.)
  17. Walt Disney Home Video (1994, 1995, 2001): (Seen on pressings of Spot Goes to School, Mickey's Fun Songs: Beach Party at Walt Disney World and Recess: School's Out.)
  18. Manga Entertainment (2002): (Seen on a pressing of the English-dubbed version of The End of Evangelion.)
  19. Big Idea (2003): (Seen on a pressing of VeggieTales: The Ballad Of Little Joe.)
  20. VCI Entertainment (2005)
  21. Dreamworks Home Entertainment (2000, 2005): (Seen on a pressing of The Road To El Dorado as well as a pressing of Shark Tale.)
  22. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2005-2006)
  23. Polygram Video (1998) (Seen on a pressing of Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie.)

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)

Blue Edit

  1. Cheech and Chong's Next Movie (MCA Videocassette Inc, 1980 pressing, 270 Hz tone)
  2. Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (Disney Videos, 1995 UK Pressing, 270 Hz tone, formerly)
  3. The Magical World of Winnie the Pooh: All For One, One For All (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, Late or Early 2003 or 2004 UK Pressing, 270 Hz tone, formerly)

Shuffling color bars Edit

Another test pattern has also been seen that the color bars are shuffling.

  1. Life with Father (Congress Video, 1985 Pressing, Silent)
  2. Various Video Collection International Tapes (1986-1995 UK Pressing, Silent)
  3. Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet (Polygram Video, 1987 Pressing, Silent)
  4. The Fastest Guitar Alive (MGM/UA Home Video, 1990 Pressing, Silent)
  5. The Busy World Of Richard Scarry: The Busiest Firefighters Ever (Polygram Video, 1995 Pressing, Silent)
  6. The Busy World of Richard Scarry: The Snowstorm (Polygram Video, 1996 Pressing, Silent)
  7. The Busy World of Richard Scarry: Sally's First Day at School (Polygram Video, 1996 Pressing, Silent, and appears for a split second)
  8. The Busy World of Richard Scarry: The Best Christmas Present Ever (Polygram Video, 1996 Pressing, Silent)
  9. The Busy World of Richard Scarry: The Best Birthday Party Ever (Polygram Video, 1997 Pressing, Silent)
  10. The Busy World of Richard Scarry: The Best Christmas Surprise Ever (Polygram Video, 1997 Pressing, Silent)
  11. The Little Princess (Madacy Video, 1997 Pressing (1998-2002 Reprint), Silent)
  12. Various Madacy Videos (2000-2004 EP Mode Pressing, Silent)
  13. Clifford's Sing-Along Adventure (Karl Lorimar Home Video, 1986 Pressing, Silent in B&W)
  14. Paddle To The Sea (Morningstar Entertainment, 19?? Canadian Pressing, Silent in B&W)
  15. Walt Disney's Cinderella (Walt Disney Home Video, 1992 UK Pressing, Silent)
  16. Various Disney Videos (1992-2000 UK Pressing, Silent)
  17. Various WWF Home Videos (1998-2004 EP Mode Pressing, Silent)

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.