My Little Pony VHS Backcard / Lost Episode
My case, for the lost G1 My Little Pony episode or prototype VHS case with blurb, has been cross posted to Lost Media Discord and MLPTP forums and my FB page.
My family was on vacation across the upper west heading toward Butte, Montana in the summer of 1991 or 1992. I was eleven years old at the time. They stopped off at a video rental store in Butte asking for directions to a National Park of some kind. I looked around the store. There were three white painted wood carousel shelved VHS shelves. Six to eight shelves worth packed three to a shelf. So, they weren’t very large in width to hold much more than that.
One VHS caught my eye right away after two slow turns of the closest carousel case – My Little Pony with the signature rainbow logo against a pale blue background. The VHS case was paper cardstock, and the tape would slip out from the bottom. The front was titled “Down Memory Lane” or “Frolic Down Memory Lane”. I had seen all the cartoons from age 6 to current at that time. I knew every single episode. Something seemed off to me, I turned the case over and the title again over the blurb said, “Down Memory Lane” or “Frolic Down Memory Lane”. At the bottom of the sleeve the copyright was 1987 or 1988. The Hasbro logo of the time was also on the bottom in the center.
There were two ‘still’ shots in square panels below the blurb showing (on the left panel) adult Firefly and adult Northstar frolicking together running toward Lullaby Nursery. On the right panel showed Firefly laying down near an open window looking out and Northstar behind her near the other wall and a ‘thought bubble’ showing the two ponies wearing a pink baby necklace and one had a diaper. Both were kicking a ball around out front of the nursery.
This panel/still was on the left. The other was on the right on the VHS backing. Below both panels was the blurb.
The blurb read something like this:
It was a beautiful day. Firefly and Northstar are enjoying the sunny weather when they happen upon the Lullaby Nursery. Firefly is flooded with memories of when she and Northstar were baby ponies together. The fun times they played in the nursery came back as they entered the nursery telling stories of their childhood.
All the while I was reading the blurb, the old man, which was obviously a family-owned generic video rental store, watched me like a hawk. This was a time before cell phones with cameras attached. All my parents had was the optical long lens camera that I knew was put away in the professional gray bag. I wasn’t about to run in the station wagon to use that camera. The concept of taking a photo of an item such as this strange MLP VHS cartoon case would have looked even stranger to everyone around me. Besides, I wasn’t about to steal the item as I know for a fact just by how the old man stared at me, he would have snatched me by the arm. Not to mention my abusive parents would have beat me. So, I was trapped.
Mom called out to me that we were leaving. I put the MLP VHS case with its tape in the sleeve back on the carousel shelf. I looked back longingly at knowing I would never see that item again, however, I would never ever forget what I saw and read of this strange item.
Now, over the years I’ve tried to determine what it really could have been. Today on the MLPTP board I brought up the case again. This time with a tiny bit of help with the power of elimination, me and a few MLPTP members may have figured something out.
The cartoon VHS case cover and video may have been a first draft episode. The case would have been made in a basic print mockup. At that time between 1986 to 1988 the cartoons were being produced by Toei Animations. This prototype episode may have been scrapped for the “A Little Piece of Magic” episode (air date October 24, 1986). “A Little Piece of Magic” episode showcases Buttons and Ribbon telling some baby ponies about the fun games they would play when they were babies in the nursery. How they would use their imaginations using a red ball. This concept of the actual finalized episode reads like it was loosely based on the scrapped concept.
As for how the mockup case got thrown in for use with a possible legit or prototype episode, I have no idea.
As for the old VHS rental place in Butte, Montana, it was closed and gutted in the early to mid 2000s. When I posted about this mystery episode back in 2008 I think it was, a MLPTP member who lived in Butte had gone to see the video store I mentioned. She said the three white painted wood carousel cases were still standing as she could see them through the window.
For now, I will be recreating the two panels from the back of the case in watercolor. This piece will take me a few days as I want it to be as perfect as possible.
If you know anything about this mystery prototype or missing episode, such as script notes, physical VHS in question, anything, please let me know.