The Walt Disney Classics was a series of VHS releases of Disney animated features that spanned from 1984, with its very first release being Robin Hood, to 1994, with The Fox and the Hound; VCDs of this series were released from 1998 to 2003. Many Disney animated features made their home video debuts through this series. It is often referred to by fans as the "Black Diamond" collection, referring to the shape of the black diamond-shaped "Classics" logo seen on the spine of each video's case and at the beginning of each tape.
Although the series initially consisted entirely of older Disney animated features from before the mid-1970s, the success of The Little Mermaid led to more then-recent films being released as part of the collection as of 1990.
Walt Disney Home Video released the Classics line in 1984 to release their animated films on home video in a brand name. Before resigning, then-current Disney CEO, Ron Miller, had plans to release their animated classics on home video. The older Disney executives still believed that releasing their animated films on home video would be a little bit risky, despite having released Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Fun and Fancy Free, and The Three Caballeros on home video around the early 1980s. The "untouchable" Disney Classics would usually be re-released in theaters around 7-10 years. And the executives thought that if they had the film on videocassette already, they would not go to the movie theater to see it anymore. Plus, it would gamble away from future theatrical revenue.
But by 1984, Walt Disney Home Video was getting increasingly popular, so they decided to release Robin Hood on home video to begin their new Classics line. It was chosen because Robin Hood wasn't one of the more popular Disney animated classics at the the time, so it wouldn't be too much of a risk to release it on home video. Robin Hood was released with a suggested retail price of $79.95 on VHS and Betamax and $34.95 on Laserdisc. The tape was also part of Disney's wrap and ready-to-give promotion, since it was released a few weeks before Christmas Day. The release of Robin Hood was a small success, eventually becoming one of the best-selling home video titles in 1984.
- Walt Disney Mini Classics
- Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection
- Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection
- Walt Disney Platinum Editions
- Walt Disney Diamond Editions
- Walt Disney Signature Collection
- Article about the videos at DVDizzy.com
- History from Preview of Imaxination's Guide to Disney Videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qbirIwLQh4&t=12s