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When was the Special Edition first shown on TV?

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Hi,
i wanted to know, when was the Special Edition’s of the original trilogy first shown on TV?
And when it was shown in Germany on TV?
Because i wanted to know if i watched the theatrical versions, or the Special Edition’s from 1997 as a 4 or 5 year old kid.

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I don’t recall the originals playing on tv after 1997. And they probably had not been on tv in the U.S. for a few years prior, building up to the 20th anniversary and so as to not cannibalize sales of the One last time OOT video release. Spike Tv had the exclusive U.S. basic cable rights to the OT and the prequels from 2008-2014 and that was always the special editions.
The SE’s probably made the rounds on HBO and other pay cable networks before the Spike deal kicked in.

All the films (up to Rogue One) have been on TNT and TBS quite a lot lately. I presume they paid a hefty fee for exclusive basic cable rights.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I didn’t get the Special Editions on video until 1999 and prior to that I had seen them on TV and had even borrowed them from someone at one point so that kinda gives you an idea. No idea about Germany.

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Was it basic cable or broadcast? I saw TPM air on a local station around 2002 or 2003.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I remember that TPM and the SE trilogy were broadcast on Canal+ in late 2001 in France. That was the occasion for me to have the movies undubbed (and with subtitles) recorded on VHS (I only had the dubbed VHS set), that was sweeeeeeeeeet :3

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SilverWook said:

Was it basic cable or broadcast? I saw TPM air on a local station around 2002 or 2003.

Nah a regular broadcast. I think it was either TNT or TBS.

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TNT and TBS are basic cable. 😉

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Ahh my bad. 😂😂😂 But anyways yes I do recall seeing the SE’s on basic cable circa 1998 or 1999.

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Oddly enough, I very clearly remember the first broadcast of the ANH SE that I saw here in the States was a local one.

IIRC, it was on channel 20 here in DC (WDCA), which by that point was part of UPN (it was actually one of only four Paramount stations in the entire country pre-‘95 and therefore the home of TNG and DS9 in this neck of the woods (and Babylon 5 before it moved to TNT for its final season)).

Anyway, I remember realizing somehow that this wasn’t a network broadcast and I found that really weird for a Star Wars movie.

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I was able to see TNG, DS9, and B5 every Sunday night back to back on the same local channel here back then. Great way to wind down the weekend. 😃

It’s possible that the SE quickly replaced the OOT in existing film syndication contracts that were in place before the SE’s existed. It would certainly fit George’s modus operandi.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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In my country 1996 was the last time the originals were shown and 2002 was the first time for the SEs. The SEs were still shown in 2005 but in 2009 they were the DVD editions.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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Anakin94 said:

And when it was shown in Germany on TV?
Because i wanted to know if i watched the theatrical versions, or the Special Edition’s from 1997 as a 4 or 5 year old kid.

If i remember exactly it was 1999 or at the latest 2000 when the Special Editions were shown for the first time on German TV. After the Special Editions had their 97’ release at the cinema and were available on VHS afterwards, german TV stations still broadcasted the Theatrical Cuts for quite some time.

EDIT: The TV Station ProSieben broadcasted the OT for the last 20 years here in Germany. But according to this site…

https://www.fernsehserien.de/star-wars/sendetermine/prosieben/-2

… there is an odd gap between 1998 and 2000. In 98 the OT (maybe in its SE version?) was shown only once. In 1999 completely absent. Since 2000 there is a continuous OT broadcast by ProSieben. I remember seeing the Theatrical Cuts saturday afternoon on Kabel 1 (another German TV Station) in 1999.

Rogue One is redundant. Just play the first mission of DARK FORCES.
‘Star Wars is a buffet, enjoy the stuff you want, and leave the rest.’ - SilverWook

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Thanks for your replies.
I don’t know these global tv channels, but it’s interesting and nostalgic for me.
I prefer the SE 97, instead of the 04 and the 2011 one’s.
How old are you guy’s at watching it first.
I’m sorry but i like the SE97, i don’t have a problem with it.
I think i like it, because i was a kid.

@Haarspalter
Do you remember, that it was on Pro7?
If yes, than i’m 100% sure that i’m watched the SE trilogy at these dates.
Because i remember, that i got at christmas 1999, the Lego Star Wars Set 7150 with an Y-Wing and Vader’s Tie Fighter.

Pro7 channel:
ANH - Saturday 8.January 2000 (20:15-22:55)
ESB - Saturday 15.January 2000 (20:15-22:55)
ROTJ - Saturday 22.January 2000 (20:15-23:05)

Ok, then they showed Theatrical versions last time on these dates.

ANH - Saturday 14.February 1998 (20:15-22:45)
Repeated at Monday 16.February 1998 (02:05-04:15)
ESB - Saturday 21.February 1998 (20:15-22:50)
Repeated at Monday 23.February 1998 (01:45-03:55)
ROTJ - Saturday 28.February 1998 (20:15-23:00)
Repeated at Monday 2.March 1998 (00:55-03:25)

Damn, that my dad never recorded the first Special Edition on VHS.

Edit:
Ok you found the same website with the program page. 😃

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This is interesting, because the first time ever I saw Star Wars might be the last time Pro7 showed the original versions. We actually recorded them on VHS. We also kept the corresponding TV Magazine article and it says “Nach zwei Jahren TV-Pause endlich wieder auf dem Bildschirm”. So according to your findings I guess it was 2000 then. The magazine article also talks about Episode I that already has been released in 1999, and they say this broadcast is not yet the Special Edition but the orginals.

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This might be faulty memory kicking in here, but I’m vaguely remembering that the Sci-Fi Channel (pre-SyFy days, pre-Battlestar Galactica reboot) used to intermittently show the original versions in rare marathons, post Special Editions. I can’t verify that though, and I really might be remembering it incorrectly, but I think it happened?

I also believe the Special Editions were still being shown at some outlets even after the 2004 DVDs had come out. Now, of course, everything is the 2011 blu-ray versions, but for awhile there I vaguely remember it being kind of a crapshoot as to which version you were going to be watching if you caught it on television with the commercial breaks and everything. Was it the SE’s? Was it the DVDs? The only real consistency was that no matter who was showing it, they were definitely cropping it, whether it was to 4x3, or 16x9.

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^They marathoned the original versions in widescreen right before the special editions were released. It was the first time I saw them in widescreen and was completely fixated on every inch of new visual information the entire time.

…I think… 😛

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I think at 2010 was shown the last time the 97’ Special Edition in german TV on Pro7.
I also remember that they said “Special Edition” in the preview up to 2012.
But i don’t know if the currect version on this channel is the 2004 or the 2011 one.
At 11.Oct.19 i will check it.

@MaxRiibo
Can you make a photo of the magazine?

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I don’t have the Magazine, just the small part about the movie cut out.

It’s not much so I’ve made a transcription:

20.15 PRO 7 Krieg der Sterne

Nach zwei Jahren Tv-Pause endlich wieder auf dem Bildschirm: George Lucas’ Kultfilm über die Rettung des Universums
Science Fiction
Das neueste “Star-Wars”-Abenteuer (“Episode 1”) schrieb 1999 Filmgeschichte: In den ersten 24 Stunden spielte der Streifen an US-Kinokassen 51,65 Mio. Dollar ein - soviel wie keiner zuvor! Wie alles begann mit Han Solo, Luke Skywalker & Co., kann man hier noch einmal verfolgen, PRO 7 zeigt allerdings die Originalfassung und noch nicht die neue, auf Video längst veröffentlichte überarbeitete Version (mit sattem digitalen Surroundsound, mit einer komplett neuen Szene und ein paar versteckten zusätzlichen Gags). Mit damals revolutionärer Tricktechnik, einem Panoptikum phantasievoller Sternenkrieger sowie atemberaubenden Actionsequenzen gelang George Lucas 1977 die Renaissance eines schon längst totgesagten Filmgenres: der “Weltraumoper”. Teil 2 und 3 zeigt PRO 7 an den kommenden Samstagen.
160 Min.
USA, 1977 D: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Peter Mayhew R: George Lucas

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Anakin94 said:

Thank you for this. 😃

I found out another thing. The version PRO7 showed in 2000 was not the real original version. It was a special cut for TV where a single shot of the front view of TantiveIV and the Star Destroyer in the beginning of the movie is missing. You can read about this version here https://www.schnittberichte.com/schnittbericht.php?ID=463266
For years I thought this shot was a new addition from the special edition because of that.

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Nice find, but where is the info that the “Cut” version was shown at 2000?
They said that this version, was shown 1990 at Sat1.
I would like to know, what is about the audiotrack.
The audiotrack has to be remixed, that it fit to the videocut.
Because if it was not remixed, you would hear the cut in the music.

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That cut version was shown in 2000 because like I said we recorded it on VHS and I have seen this recording countless times as a kid. 1990 was just the first time ever this TV-cut has been shown.
The Audio part of the missing sequence was just missing as well, if I remember correctly. It must have worked quite well, because I never realized that this was a missing scene and not something from the Special Edition until years later.

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Ah ok, i misunderstood it.
Thank you for the infos.

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Anakin94 said:

Ah ok, i misunderstood it.
Thank you for the infos.

I now got the VHS running and I think the audio track was NOT just cut in the missing scene. During the sequence where the Tantive IV is hit by the turbolaser the music is different. I think they play a small part of the original music from the cut sequence here instead…

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I remember when Star Wars, was on TV at 2001 to 2003, there was a Doku running before the film starts.
I was not allowed to watch it, because i think i had to go to school, at next day.
Do you know something about that?
Can this be was on Galileo?