New York subway gunman Bernhard Goetz may be on his way to home video stardom. MPI Home Video, which launched its "MPI Video News Magazine" last month with "Oliver North: Memo to History," hopes to feature Goetz in its second volume, tentatively titled "Inside Goetz." MPI is negotiating with a TV news reporter who has more than 60 hours of Goetz footage he would like to edit down to a home tape -- if his employers will let him. But the centerpiece of the planned one-hour tape, according to MPI Vice President Jaffer Ali, will be excerpts from Goetz's two-hour videotaped confession, to which MPI claims exclusive access. "It's very vulgar," promises Ali, "really hot stuff. Goetz seems like a mad dog -- something you couldn't show on TV."
And that, says Ali, is the point. "This is the way news should be -- uncensored," he says. He believes such video efforts will appeal to audiences in the same way as programs like "60 Minutes," whose continued success, he says, "proves that there's an appetite for controversial material. Video can be even more controversial. We don't have to believe words -- we can be much more truthful to reality."
While acknowledging that Goetz had no idea at the time he made his emotional confession that it might one day wind up in video stores, Ali professes no qualms about using the material. "News in general is an invasion of privacy, and this is no worse." In fact, Ali is trying to get Goetz involved in the project in some capacity: "We'd like to get him for in-store appearances." Goetz's availability may depend on what happens when he goes before the judge for sentencing next month -- MPI's target date for releasing the $19.95 tape.
Lady and Tramp on the Town Disney stars Lady and Tramp are about to replace Spuds McKenzie and pit bull terriers as America's most visible canines, thanks to tie-in promotions with McDonald's and the American Dairy Association that will put the characters' images in fast-food restaurants and dairy cases nationwide in the months following their October video debut. Consumers who purchase a McDonald's Happy Meal or five dairy products in late November and in December will receive a coupon good for a $3 rebate off "Lady and the Tramp's" $29.95 purchase price.
Disney marketing VP Carole Black is enthusiastic about the "billions of exposures" that will result from the affiliation and isn't worried that the effort will result in overexposure, or worse, a compromising of the high esteem that consumer research indicates the public has for Disney. "The concept of tying in with other corporations that are number one in their fields, with a high-quality image, seems very right," she says. What's more, the two tie-in companies sit nicely with Disney's image of wholesome family fun. According to Black's research, kids think going to McDonald's is a lot of fun -- "maybe not to the level that Disney is fun, but it's not so far askance in the food experience." And milk? "It's wholesome if not fun. No drink has a higher-quality image than milk."
Ortho's Home How-Tos Ortho, one of the biggest names in how-to books, is shooting for the same status in the how-to video market with a line of gardening and home-repair videocassettes that are due in stores next week. The first six tapes -- 24 are planned altogether -- offer advice on such topcis as plumbing, electrical repairs, kitchen remodeling and gardening.
Unlike most how-to tapes, which recycle footage from TV, the Ortho series was created exclusively for video. And it carries no commercial messages and features no sponsors' products -- not even any from Ortho. A division of Chevron Chemical Co., Ortho can afford to go all out on the productions, and it has: For the kitchen tape, the company repainted the same kitchen 15 times, and the viewer can watch the 15 different color combinations speed by on the screen to see the impact of each; for a landscaping tape scheduled for next year, Ortho camera crews revisited lawns over a period of three years to illustrate how a few years' growth can alter the landscaping balance. "It's the ultimate consumer's dream," says editorial director Robert Dolezal, "a variation on the 'let's try the piano over here' theme." The tapes, priced at $24.95, include a $5 rebate coupon.
From Page to Screen Booksellers may seem unlikely subjects for feature films, but last year brought two such efforts, and they are both on their way to video. In "Burglar," due next month, San Francisco bookseller Whoopi Goldberg moonlights as a petty thief, and in October's "84 Charing Cross Road," London rare book dealer Anthony Hopkins romances New York writer Anne Bancroft through the mail. Both films started, appropriately, as books ... "Swimming to Cambodia," a video of a film of a stage performance about making a movie based on a magazine article, comes to video rental stores next month. Jonathan Demme directed Spalding Gray's one-man performance.