All the VCRs that will ever be made have been made.Think about that for a second. Stereo systems still come with cassette players. The vinyl resurgence has spurred manufacture of new record players. But as of a few weeks ago, no new VCRs will ever be made.
When I was young, VHS tapes were everywhere. There was amazing artwork on horror tapes that made the worst movies imaginable seem awesome. There were the classic Disney clamshell cases that took up more shelf space than a regular movie. And there are still the rarities: those films released on VHS, meant for a VCR, and that have yet to be released on DVD or Blu-ray.
It’s a good thing that Goodwill and other thrift stores seem to have an adequate stock of VCRs.
How else will I watch my VHS copy of Metallica’s “One” video? Sure, I can watch it on YouTube, and I’m fairly certain the metal band’s first music video is on a DVD collection, but nothing is like watching it as it was originally released.
And then there’s my Type O Negative “After Dark” tape and the concert video of AC/DC’s “Stiff Upper Lip” tour. These things matter to me because they are from the time when I saw these bands live.
Granted, VHS tapes have been obsolete for a number of years. But I’m not alone among a generation who edited home video by connecting two VCRs together and doing the best I could.
I find it interesting that the death notice of VCRs coincided with the official announcement that Hastings is going out of business. I had a Hastings card during my early teen years, and the existence of the chain was a bonus for me when my wife and I moved back to Moscow.
I couldn’t tell you how many 49-cent videos I rented in my lifetime, and I couldn’t tell you what they all were, but I remember some of them.
“Caveman” starring Ringo Starr … it just doesn’t feel right to watch that movie in high definition, either on DVD or via a streaming service.
And those horror movies I mentioned earlier, well, I can’t say I’d want to pay a dollar to watch some of them again, but 49 cents felt like the perfect price.
I said goodbye to my last VCR and most of my tapes a few years ago, I hate to admit. Just to age myself even more, I’ll quote glam rockers Cinderella and say that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Maybe I’ll go hit up a thrift store, find a working VCR and some tapes. I’d be out fewer than 20 bucks and have a grand time.
Unless the thrift stores are jacking up prices on VCRs, knowing now that supplies are limited.
T.J. Tranchell recorded a few weddings, a couple plays and family reunion events on VHS tapes. Without a VCR, he assumes it must be time to digitize his past. What are your favorite VCR memories? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.