Slide shows seemed like a lot of trouble even before home video came along, so a slide show on tape sounds like a technological step backward. Undaunted, Forum Home Video will proudly blaze that home entertainment trail this month with "Lt. Col. Oliver North's Secret Slide Show," a video document of what may be the only slide show that TV viewers ever minded missing. Fortunately for Forum, cameras recorded North's off-the-air presentation to the Senate Iran-Contra Select Committee, and it arrives on video with North's personal frame-by-frame narration intact.
The tape, which runs just under one hour, offers a satellite's-eye view of Soviet installations in Central America, secret Soviet military bases and more, all for $24.98. Forum, which bought the footage from an unspecified news service, has sold more than 37,000 copies of "Oliver North: His Story," the tape it assembled from CNN's coverage of North's testimony. Citing continued sales of that tape, a Forum spokeswoman expressed optimism about the slide show's prospects. "It's not really the time of year for something like this," she conceded, "but there are history buffs and news junkies who would be interested in it. They're out there somewhere."
A Lot of Water Under the Bridge
After repeated delays, the adventure "White Water Summer" is finally coming to tape next week. The film, originally titled "Rites of Summer," casts Kevin Bacon as the leader of a wilderness survival program for teen-age boys, who are no match for the challenges offered by their surroundings and their hard-driving supervisor. After initial filming was completed, the filmmakers called for extensive reshooting to pump up the white water action angle. That meant a lot of rewriting, because the boys had come of age, most notably lead teen Sean Astin, who went into the production as a prepubescent 13-year-old and was a taller, deep-voiced 16 by the time the project finally wrapped. The substantially restructured film (which now uses the original footage in flashback sequences) got a test release in the Pacific Northwest this summer, but the rest of the country will have to settle for the tape.
Christmas Seal Comes Alive
The face that will grace an estimated 3 billion Christmas Seals this season may be on its way to your TV screen. Candy Claus, the 1987 Official Christmas Seal Child, is the cartoon star of an animated home video program that tells the ragdoll-to-riches story of a toy who comes to life through Santa's redemptive love. Proceeds from the sale of the 25-minute, $19.95 tape, titled "Candy Claus," will go to the American Lung Association, which is marking its 80th anniversary this year.
'Stagecoach' Rolls Again
Just when the networks threaten to cut back on TV movie production, last year's "Stagecoach" remake arrives on tape to remind us just what that unique art form has to offer. A big hit on the small screen last year, this shrinking of the 1939 John Ford epic offers the kind of small-star cast that only shows up on television: Kris Kristofferson (in the role that made John Wayne a star), Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Elizabeth Ashley, Anthony Newley and Tony Franciosa. There's even Willie Nelson, for whom the role of the drunken doctor (which won Thomas Mitchell an Academy Award) has been transformed into Doc Holliday, the famed gunfighter. Nelson wrote and performs the title song; the rest just act.
Warner Home Video has added one more holiday to keep track of this season: Superman's 50th Birthday. To celebrate -- or perhaps to make up for this summer's disastrous "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," just out on tape -- Warner has assembled two video flashbacks to Superman's small-screen glory days. Each one-hour, $29.95 volume of "TV's Best Adventures of Superman" features two episodes (one in black-and-white, one in color) from the George Reeves series of the 1950s, as well as a vintage cartoon short from Fleischer Studios. Volume 1 highlights milestones from Superman's career: "Superman on Earth," the series' 1951 pilot, which tells the now-familiar tale of his Krypton origins; "All That Glitters," the 1958 episode that concluded the series; and the animated "Superman," from 1941, the character's screen debut. On the second volume, Superman battles Mr. Big in "Crime Wave" (1951), rescues a kidnaped Lois Lane in "The Perils of Superman" (1958) and saves Metropolis from an army of cartoon robots in "The Mechanical Monsters" (1941).