Three years ago my catalog of VHS tapes entirely eclipsed my DVD collection. I had all kinds of old VHS tapes, mostly obscure movies I got for free when I worked at the video store, and some good ones too, but my DVDs were limited to a few boxed sets like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. I didn't see the need to re-purchase something on DVD that I already had on tape, since the tapes worked fine (and you stinkin' kids! get off my porch! Yeargh!). But as the months passed and I got sucked on to the DVD bandwagon (albeit several years too late), I started ridding my shelves of many of the VHS cassettes that I used to hold dear. It was for the better, though, as now my wife and I have a decent collection of DVDs, mostly from the $5.50 section at Target, that is slowly, but surely, overtaking our tapes.
But a good movie is a good movie, and why throw out a perfectly good copy of Gladiator or The Rock* when one does not yet have it on DVD? And so a few weeks ago I sat down to catch a few minutes of the original Alien while eating breakfast. Oddly enough, however, much of the movie was black-and-white, despite the fact that my copy was, decidedly, a colour version. The next day, while indulging in another 15 minutes of Ripley and the hapless crew of the Nostromo, I noticed that the picture came through in perfect color...for about 40 seconds. Then the tape started sputtering, the picture went to shades of grey, and not long thereafter the entire screen fuzzed out.
Same thing happened with Aliens, Gladiator, and other movies. Turns out our VCR, which my wife bought from my brother Andy several years ago, is on its last 4-head 19-micron leg. We thought about getting it repaired, but figured we would get laughed right out the door of any given Radio Shack if we even mentioned it to them. Our friend Sarah let us borrow one of those shifty head cleaners, which helped a little, but not nearly enough.
Would our collection of VHS tapes finally be, once and for all, obsolete? It was either face facts, or shell out money for a new VCR, which I'm not even sure you can even buy anymore.
But then, and who would have thunk it, I came across not one, but four VCRs at my work that were bound for the dumpster. I quickly snagged them and they are resting safely in my car trunk until we can try them, one by one, in hopes that our VHS tapes will have a new lease on life. Sweeeet.
*I am not suggesting that The Rock, or any given Michael Bay movie, is good, but sometimes you just gotta watch Sean Connery blow the jeepers out of San Francisco in a Humvee