Forget about the singing: In these days of the sports media extravaganza, it ain't over until the fat lady makes a video. The obligatory Winter Olympics highlights tape is due at the end of this month from ABC Sports and CBS/Fox Video. Nobody at ABC is sure exactly what's going to be on it -- the network has yet to edit down the miles of footage it brought home from Calgary -- but ABC Sports administration manager Valerie Furie promises an appropriately international perspective. "I don't think we can emphasize Americans too much this time around," she says, although "any American gold medal performance will be included." That leaves plenty of time to fill on the rest of the tape, which will run between 60 and 90 minutes and be priced at $24.98; another $10 will also buy ABC's 150-minute tape of highlights from the 1980 and 1984 Winter Games. There's no word yet on whether the tape will carry any advertising, but any commercial message that does find its way onto the video probably will not interrupt the action -- a refreshing change from ABC's fitful broadcasts of the past few weeks. But Olympic viewers looking forward to a four-year respite from Jim McKay's chatter are out of luck: The ABC Sports team will be represented on tape in full force.
Lest the Olympic flame cool between now and September, the spring will bring as many tapes as the United States won medals last month to remind us how much we're looking forward to the Summer Games in Seoul. ABC's official highlights tape from the 1984 Summer Olympiad will be back on the market from Palisades Entertainment (90 minutes, $24.95). And sports documentarian Bud Greenspan will be represented by five April releases from Paramount. To deal with the 1984 Los Angeles Games, "Sixteen Days of Glory, Part II," a new compilation of 1984 highlights, will be marketed alongside the repriced Part I at $24.95 (150 minutes each). And three more 46-minute episodes of "The Olympiad" TV series will bow at $14.95: "Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin," "The Marathon" and "They Didn't Have a Chance."
Superlatives reproduce like rabbits in movieland, but there's one Hollywood hare who lives up to his hype, and he's profiled in one of this week's releases. "Bugs Bunny Superstar" is a 1975 documentary about the good old days at Termite Terrace, the rundown bungalow on the Warner Bros. lot that witnessed the birth of Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester and the rest of the Merrie Melodians. Bugs' creator Bob Clampett hosts this 90-minute feast of movie trivia, offering such tidbits as Bugs' first three words (the obvious answer), the inspiration for Bugs' carrot-eating style (Clark Gable's roadside vegetable snack in "It Happened One Night") and the real-life model for Tweety (Clampett's own baby pictures -- the resemblance is evident). Ten vintage cartoon shorts are also included in the $19.95 MGM/UA Home Video release. MGM/UA is also releasing a quartet of one-hour ($14.95) compilations of the best moments of four Merrie Melodies stars -- Bugs, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd. All of the cartoons predate 1948, the cutoff date for the sizable chunk of the Warner Bros. library that ended up in United Artists' hands decades ago.
They're not quite the video equivalent of the blank book but they're close: Image Pops, arriving later this month from MPI Home Video, feature vintage film footage to which viewers are encouraged to add sound tracks. Each of the six half-hour, $14.95 tapes offers film clips, gathered from a variety of sources, with a common theme: the '50s, the '60s, science fiction, comedy, sports or dance. Enterprising VCR owners are instructed to add their own music tracks, providing their machines are hooked up to their stereo systems (usually through those mysterious "audio in" outlets on the back of the VCR that most people never use). If this all sounds complicated, consult your VCR owner's manual; but if you're still wondering what possible practical use such a product might have, you're on your own.
Mark Your Calendar
The coming months will bring an exceptional number of new titles to video rental shelves; here's a guide to notable March rental releases for plan-aheaders.
March 1-3: "Hamburger Hill," "Matewan," "The Squeeze." March 9: "Beverly Hills Cop II." March 10: "Maid to Order," "Amazon Women on the Moon," "The Thrill of It All." March 15: "Stakeout." March 16: "Surrender," "Petulia," "Any Wednesday." March 17: "The Living Daylights." March 18: "Wish You Were Here." March 23: "The Nun's Story." March 30: "Innerspace," "The Princess Bride," "Maurice," "Made in Heaven." March 31: "Walk, Don't Run," "Fat City."