Home Videos: VHS & DVD
Like the G.I.Joe toy line, Sunbow's animated series was available to fans in the form of plastic. However, unlike the toys, fifteen companies helped distribute the series on VHS, Beta, laser disc and DVD: Billy Clap, Celebrity Home Entertainment (CHE), Cinepix Film Properties Video (CFP), Collins Video, Family Home Entertainment (FHE), Golden Entertainment, Good View, Kideo Entertainment, Maverick Entertainment Limited, Polyband, Rhino Home Video, St. Michael Video Library, Tempo Home Video, Video One Limited and Video Van Enterprises.
Because G.I.Joe was marketed as "Action Force" in England, the vast majority of the audio tracks for the episodes released in the UK were modified in order to mention the name
of the toy line as well as the team's battle cry, "Full force."
While compiling data for the UK videos, I decided to define a dub as every instance a new voice is heard. For example, if the UK Duke says something, then the UK Sgt. Slaughter (who is called Sgt. Slammer in England) replies and is followed by the UK Duke speaking again, then I believe three audio dubs have occurred.
Most of the dubs were glaringly obvious simply because the uncredited UK voice actors did not sound like the US cast. And, unfortunately, during "Cold Slither" on Tempo - 94862, the UK dubs were mixed with the original lines so that the viewer could hear the US and UK versions at the same time.
Despite the changes to the episodes, fans in England were offered 27 videos, which is an impressive number considering that US fans have seen 25 distinct G.I.Joe videos.
However, England was not the only international market for G.I.Joe videos. At least sixteen videos were released in Australia, two in France, three in Germany, four in India, seven in the Netherlands, one in Japan and seven in Singapore. Although the total number of videos released in each country is not known, the tapes offer insights about the presentation of the series in markets outside of the United States.
For example, rather than including a straight translation of the dialogue, the voices of the German and French actors were modified to match their character's surroundings and costumes. Some of the changes include the voices of Sgt. Slaughter and Wet Suit echoing down a long, empty hallway in the German editon of "Ninja Holiday" and a muffled voice for Beach Head, who wears a mask, in the French version of "Iceberg Goes South."
If you decide to add the international videos to your G.I.Joe collection, please keep in mind that the episodes were recorded in different formats. You will need to either pay a company to translate the NTSC (format for United States and Canada), PAL (format for England, Singapore, Germany, India, Australia and the Netherlands) or SECAM (format for France) videos to a format compatible with your VCR or purchase a multi-system VCR. Also, for the DVDs released outside the US, you will need a region-free DVD player that can translate the video signal from PAL to NTSC.