Does anyone here have(or have read) the actual article that this blogger is referencing?:
For the last few weeks I have been reading through back issues of Mix to get a sense of how the magazine has reported on the development of digital sound technology in Hollywood. One article that stood out from the rest examined the theatrical re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy in 1997. Larry Blake, the author of the piece and a sound practitioner himself, confronted the whole question of whether or not George Lucas was committing heresy by tampering with the “original” films. Essentially, Blake found that even in 1977 there were multiple “originals” in theatrical circulation.
This brings me back to Larry Blake’s Star Wars article. During the original release of Star Wars in May 1977 Twentieth Century-Fox released no fewer than four versions of the film to North American theaters. While audiences may have seen the same film, they heard three different ones. Star Wars was one of the first films to be mixed in Dolby Stereo and the very first film to employ a low frequency effects (subwoofer) channel, resulting in some very experimental mixing techniques. No one was quite sure how to best create a multichannel mix and the tools were not yet in place to ensure that the Dolby Stereo mixes were problem-free. By my count, there were four separate mixes readied for distribution: a 4-track master (LCRS, or Left, Center, Right, Surround), a 6-track version (LCRS+LFE), a 2-track Dolby mix (LR), and a mono track.
To be sure, the differences among the sound tracks were not merely cosmetic. Some sound effects, foley, and dialog were missing from some mixes. Ben Burtt recalls that as he and his sound crew scrambled to create the various mixes in the weeks leading up to the film’s premiere “there was a lot of stuff [in the 2-track version] that wasn’t in the stereo optical [4-track], including lines of dialog and sound effects, because opticals were being cut in after the mix.” Burtt notes that the simple-stereo 2-track mix “was the first mix finished and was also the least complete creatively, because at that time the stereo optical [format] was an unknown quantity and Dolby wanted to test it and find out how it was going to work. That mix was rushed out of the door, and we didn’t think it was that important because it was only going to be heard in a few theaters.”
Recalls Burt, “By the time we go to the monaural there were even further developments: more changes in dialog, more changes in sound effects, different processing.” He goes on to joke that “There was an offscreen line of Threepio’s, where he says, ‘That’s the main power station tractor beam switch, and you’ve got to go there and turn it off.’ And that was not in the 6-track version of the movie; it was only in the stereo optical [4-track]. It wasn’t even in the mono print, and I don’t know how it happened, but we found that line and now it’s back in.”
All of this very intriguing and slightly confusing.
So Burrt is claiming 3PIO's tractor beam line was in the 4 track stereo optical version and not in the mono print.?
It is definitely in the mono print so this must be a case of faulty memory on the part of Burrt---right?
But then, 3PIO's line did surface in the 1984 HiFi stereo VHS release.
If my understanding is correct---The original 35mm stereo audio track as it appears on the the 1982 VHS tape(and laserdisc)only has 3 audio channels(if you run it through dolby pro logic)---Left Center-Right.This was how dolby stereo tracks were encoded onto VHS linear stereo tapes prior to 1984-85.
Up to this point the surround (4th)channel was missing!
After 1984-85 new VHS Hifi stereo tracks were released to the public that could be decoded through Dolby pro logic that would reveal that 4rth channel (the surround track).
Was 3PIO's tractor beam line in the surround track?
(although all dialogue by tradition is routed into the center channel)
---hence the reason why it was not heard on the VHS/laserdisc releases in 1982-83?
--reveals the name of the article that the above blogger is referencing:
Blake, Larry, “The Force Returns: Remastering The ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy,” Mix, February 1997
I saw Star Wars in 1977. Many, many, many times. For 3 years it was just Star Wars...period. I saw it in good theaters, cheap theaters and drive-ins with those clunky metal speakers you hang on your window. The screen and sound quality never subtracted from the excitement. I can watch the original cut right now, over 30 years later, on some beat up VHS tape and enjoy it. It's the story that makes this movie. Nothing? else.