Deal-a-Meal Warning Screens
1st Warning (1985-1991)
Warning: We see a hand holding a gun, the barrel facing us. The hand turns the cylinder and fires it. The words "FBI WARNING", in a thick red font with white shadows, zoom out, and the following text fades in, all in white:
OF THIS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL
WITHOUT PRIOR LICENSING IS
FORBIDDEN BY FEDERAL LAW:
VIOLATORS WILL BE
© (year) DEAL-A-MEAL CORP.
The gun is fired again, as the screen cuts to black.
Technique: Live-Action, as well as the animated text.
Music/Sounds: Begins with a drumroll, then part of the Dragnet theme, a gunshot, more of the theme, and another gunshot accompanied by the sound of a body falling to the ground.
Availability: Rare. It first appeared on the instructional video that came with the Deal-a-Meal program. It later appeared on a Goodtimes VHS reprint of Richard Simmons' Sweatin' to the Oldies.
Legacy: This, the warning below and the 4th warning are probably some of the most creative warning screens out there. It's notable to be startling due to the theme & the gun though.
2nd Warning (1989-Early 1990s)
Warning: We see a black screen momentarily and then hear a judge banging his gavel and yelling "ORDER IN THE COURT! ORDER IN THE COURT!!!" in a rather unconvincing manner. Then the screen lightens up and we see a black-and-white courtroom scene, possibly taken from an old movie. The judge continues talking. He asks the convict in this scene, "Answer the question, did you or did you not copy Sweatin' to the Oldies 2?" We see an old woman shaking and gritting her teeth. The judge asks "Well?", and the man confesses "I did." in a sorrowful manner. Everyone gasps and the woman screams. The judge orders two policemen, "Take him away, boys.". After the guilty man is taken away, a newspaper spins up to us briefly and it reads:
ANY COMMERCIAL USE OR DUPLICATION
OF THIS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL
WITHOUT PRIOR LICENSING IS FORBIDDEN
BY FEDERAL LAW.
VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED!!!
COPYRIGHT (year) DEAL-A-MEAL CORP.
The judge then says "Don't even think about copyin' THIS videotape." and a jail slam sound is heard, as the screen cuts to black.
Technique: Mostly live-action.
Music/Sounds: Dramatic music is heard over the voices. A low, brief whoosh is heard when the newspaper spins up to us, followed by loud police sirens.
Availability: Only found on Sweatin' to the Oldies 2.
Legacy: Same as above.
3rd Warning (1991-1994)
Warning: On a blue background, we see "FBI Warning:", and the standard warning text under it, all in italics.
Availability: Rare. Found on Sweatin' to the Oldies 3, The Marky Mark Workout and Richard Simmons' "Ideal Your Way to Health".
4th Warning (1992)
Warning: (This one straddles the line between being a comedic PSA and a warning bumper, but hopefully it should count.) We fade into Richard Simmons, who greets us: "Hi, I'm Richard Simmons." The camera zooms out to show some policemen next to him: "And this is the law!" (The policemen say "hi"). As the camera briefly flashes to a building the men are standing next to, Richard tells us "In this building right here, someone is illegally duplicating my Sweatin' to the Oldies videos! Can you BELIEVE someone would do something like that? Well, we are gonna go in there and BUST this operation. Let's go, guys, that's it, let's go!" The gang head into the building, and one of the police officers drags him before letting go ("Oh, have a little manners!"). We fade as the men are now in the building ("We're onto something big now. It's the warehouse!") The camera enters a room filled with tons of boxes, as Richard shows us some illegal copies of the tape ("Look at this. Look at this. Isn't anybody honest anymore?"). The police receive a message on their walkie-talkies that they've "got the ringleader" of the operation, and they go further down the room's hall. The camera pans down as Richard comments on the amounts of copies of the first two Sweatin' to the Oldies volumes as well as a large rack of numerous VCRs. Then comes the bombshell: "What....MOTHER?!?! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!" Richard's mom reveals she was making copies of his tapes for her friends, and after it's revealed she made 50,000 copies, he orders her to be taken away by the police, which they do. We fade to a pan-out of a police car now holding Richard's mom, and he tells us: "Please, don't duplicate tapes. This can happen to you...or your mother." (He is visibly trying hard not to laugh in this scene.) The cop car drives away, as Richard's mom tries calling out to be let out (he just replies back with "Bye, Shirley!"). We then fade into a screen with an FBI warning on it. In a red-bordered box with a purple background, we see the large red text "FBI", with a white box text to it inside with the bold red text "WARNING" on the top and the standard warning text underneath, and a copyright stamp is shown below the box.
Technique: It's all live action.
Music/Sounds: The dialogue and corresponding sound effects.
Availability: Seen on Sweatin' to the Oldies 4.
Legacy: A hilarious and fitting send-off to a company known for their unique and creative warnings.