So guess what I spent more of my pocket money on when I was a kid? Renting videotapes! Yes, remember those? Black, plastic with a thin reel of film visible? I had stacks of them! Recording every likable series and movie that came on TV. No internet back then. ‘Back then’…sounds as if I’m speaking of centuries ago but it wasn’t more than a decade…10 years, give or take, when we were using these technology marvels to record and re-record on the VCR (Video Cassette Recorder).
Timer-record was an absolute must. What’s that you ask? When you set the VCR to start and stop recording at a given time, on a given channel. How else would I have seen an episode of Knight Rider, that I’d miss if I had to go out? No YouTube, remember? Newly released movies were at once borrowed from the neighbourhood video store. It was a race against time, especially during the weekends, with customers wanting to get their hands on the movie, before all the copies were given out.
At home I had this really organized system by which I had labelled my entire collection of tapes. Each tape had about 2-3 hours of space, in which I had recorded series, movies and bits of miscellaneous shows that came on TV.
Always a joy to see the ever familiar pictures, their themes still ringing in your head! But the list gets longer….V: The Final Battle, Street Hawk, Magnum P.I, Black’s Magic, Manimal, Matlock, Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Wonder Woman,Island Son, Sledge Hammer, Dan August, The A-Team, Paradise, Profiler, Highlander, L.A Law, McKenna, Dolphin Cove, Earth 2, The Flash , Viper, CHiPs, Remington Steele, BUGS, Bergerac, Van Der Valk, Counterstrike, Falcon’s Crest, Five Mile Creek …I could go on all day!
Some memorable theme tunes/songs, which I still randomly hum!
I recall the ‘fear’ of having missed an episode, never to be seen again! How off was I? Not only do we get entire seasons online, but people actually have the time and energy to write down, word for word, complete episodes!
As for comedies…. Alice, Golden Girls, Benson, Check it Out, Bewitched, Sydney, Family Ties, Who’s The Boss, Webster, Different Strokes, Out of This World, Chico and the Man, My 2 Dads, Major Dad, Hey Dad, Family Man, Mr. Belvedere, Full House, Alf, Valerie, The Lucy Show, Rent a Ghost…..
Fun theme songs!
Cartoons/Kiddie shows…Captain Planet, Voltran, Thundercats, Denver The Last Dinosaur, Seabert, Tiger Sharks, Gumby, Moondreamers, Noozles, Shamzam, The Paw Paw Bears, Defenders of the Earth, Saber Rider & The Star Sheriffs, G.Force, Button Moon, Pink Panther, Chip & Dale, Charmkins, Woody Wood Pecker, Rainbow, Lassie, The Muppet Show, Sesame Street (obviously!)… None of which required parent supervision. I find it extremely ridiculous that cartoons too have ratings. Kids can no longer be kept unattended in front of that channel.
Catchy theme songs!
- My Little Pony
- Care Bears
- He-Man & She-Ra (I Have the Power)
- Bionic 6
- The Littlest Hobo
- Fraggle Rock
- Duck Tales
Then, time, as always, played its part. We were introduced to the marvels of LDs, but only for a short while before the flurry of DVDs took over. And then there was no stopping them. Goodbye videotapes. But I refused to admit the inevitable and even though DVDs were all the rage, I still had my videos, I mean, how useless that you couldn’t record! But technology had the last laugh and along came DVRs. I could see my videotapes and VCR being left behind in the fray, lonely, forgotten…useless. I still refused to admit defeat (why is it so difficult for us, or maybe just me, to accept change?) In the mix of it all, the internet triumphantly reared its skillful head.
The excitement of searching and exclaiming when you actually did come across a long, lost series. “You can find just about anything here!” These words now obviously obsolete.
Amusement in the eyes of this generation when they hear my tales. A generation that will never experience the “wow factor”, as they stream, download and watch whenever they wish, unable to relate to our past. A past of constraints, of limitations but one gladly experienced and missed ever so often.
The time has now come for me to bid adieu. Hoarding, never a good idea. Hoarding uselessly, even less of a one, but that’s a tautological statement to say the least. The video store down the street is no more. Star Video, a name I’ll never forget. Technology indeed creating and snatching away livelihoods.
I wonder, will my original Superman VHS ever become a collector’s item?