Throwback Thursday #2: VCR

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The hey days of the VCR may be long over, but the memories and nostalgia still live on. In multiple totes are many family videos that were shot back in the ’90s and early 2000s that can only be played on one of these retro boxes unless they are painstakingly converted. The classic episodes of America’s Funniest Videos featured home videos on mini-VHS tapes, most likely played in a VCR at the studio. It was a delight to collect Disney movies on VHS, with their unique cases featuring sleek artwork, and the joy of hearing the “pop” and rush of air being released from the case after you opened it. Long ago, finding a cassette in a different color other than the standard black was a real treat. Different colors meant the videos were special, one-of-a-kind, or generally suitable for children of all ages.

Sadly, it’s now or never to convert our old VHS tapes to DVD or Blu-ray because of the magnetic tape degrading overtime, all those precious memories threatening to be lost forever. Christmases at Grandma O’s when I was five years old, vacations to Busch Gardens, old videos of me trying to hit a ball off the tee.

“Please be kind, rewind”, says that courteous label on rental movies that I took great pleasure in abiding by. It was a way of giving the employees less work to do when the video was returned, though some people liked to be mean and not rewind. I was always afraid that if I didn’t rewind, the store would come back at us with an extra charge or something. Rewinding one tape may not seem like much, but imagine having to rewind multiple titles with one VCR behind the counter, all before the first customers come in. Those words are an ultimatum essentially.

The “I taped the football game over our wedding and reception” was a classic plotline of late 20th century TV and movies.

Your little sister or brother might have put food or small toys into the video slot.

The tape might have gotten jammed in the machine or become tangled with the headers

The VCR featured in the photo above is a Magnavox 4-header of mine. Not exactly collector worthy, a pretty common everyday model, but it still works perfectly, owing to the continued improvement and refinements of everything up to it. This classic machine still has its uses and isn’t quite dead yet, not until all families of the 20th century are long gone or a national law orders all of these infernal machines to be tossed in a landfill, which would be a sad ending to a deeply rooted generation.