Catalog Numbering System

While it may not look like it at first, there was some level of a method to the madness that was the DiscoVision numbering system. Titles were grouped according to their general classification. Dramas, Thrillers, Musicals all were grouped together. Inside each grouping, there was no apparent pattern to the assigning of numbers.

While the original DiscoVision catalog offering was being established, the numbering system came into being. The entire library of Universal Studios, both Motion Pictures and Television, were assigned DiscoVision numbers. These included not only the historic library of feature films, but all projects on the current schedule as well. A prime example is E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial, a 1982 theatrical release, which was assigned the number 13-009.

MCA DiscoVision couldn't help but deviate slightly from this list. Over the course of the 3 years they were in business, they moved Battlestar Galactica out of "Television Movies" and into "Feature Films" (where it should have been in the first place) and give it the corresponding price increase to match. Two other titles, To Kill a Mockingbird and Lonely are the Brave were assigned numbers in the groups "Drama" and "Action" respectively, but by the time the silver catalog was produced, both had been moved to the "Classic" section. In hindsight, it almost seems as although defined as "Classics", they really were "Black & White" features.

Titles from other studios - Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros. - were assigned numbers in the scheme as well. These programs were preceded with a single letter designator to denote the studio. D for Disney, P for Paramount and W for Warner Bros. The first digit after the '-' was also changed to a 5, for no apparent reason. Optical Programming Associates (Part of MCA Videodisc) added OPA- to the beginning of their titles, and made the first letter after the dash ('-') a 6.

The use of these numbers continued well into the MCA Home Video era. In 1982, the numbering system was abandoned for new new projects and restarted at "40001". This number was assigned to "Dr. Detroit" and numbers were used sequentially from there. When an older title came up, if it had not been issued on LaserDisc since the change over to the new numbering system, the DiscoVision number was used - exactly once. Any subsequent re-issue of the title would get a new 4xxxx number. For example, the 1987 re-issue of "Jaws" used 12001, while the widescreen version issued in 1992 got 41086. "The Hindenburg", issued for the first time on disc (post DiscoVision) in 1991 re-used the "DiscoVision" number of 11002. The one "oddity" out of this process was "1941". MCA had planned on issuing an extended cut of the film on LaserDisc in the late 80s using the "DiscoVision" number 16014, but the title eventually was cancelled. In 1996 when the title was resurrected, they gave both the CAV and CLV editions new 4xxxx numbers. The final title issued with a "DiscoVision" number was the 1992 release of "Nighthawks", 12021.

Feature Films


10-Drama30-Adults Only
11-Thriller31-Cooking Shows
12-Action32-Participation Sports
13-Science Fiction35-Home Projects
14-Westerns51-Animal Behavior
15-Biographies52-Self Improvement
18-Family Films64-Educational Films
19-Television Movies71-The Arts
20-Television (Episodic)72-The Dance
21-Classic Drama73-Performing Arts
22-Classic Comedy74-Music
23-Classic Horror75-Opera
24-Classic Western86-Spectator Sports
28-Adult Features87-Perseverance Sports
92-Christian Art
94-Christian Values

Catalog Numbering System after DiscoVision

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Updated: April 22, 2019
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