MY YOUTH IN HOME VIDEO
The other night I was scanning through the many options of quality programming on Netflix. At the click of a button there is so much variety to choose from. Blockbuster movies, hit TV series, documentaries and more. Then it got me thinking about my childhood and teen years. I was always a massive movie fan before I got into comics. But I didn’t have Netflix. I owe it all to my VHS player.
I’m not talking official VHS tapes brought like DVS or Blu-rays today. I’m talking blank tapes you were free to do what you wanted with. Your very own video library. Me and my sister had our own tapes of cartoons. Needless to say mine was far superior. At the start of the tape was Dumbo. My go to Disney movie as a kid. After that it was chocked full of my earliest tastes of geekdom. One episode each of M.A.S.K, Thundercats, Pole Position and Bravestar. Then there was a episode of a Batman cartoon featuring Mister Freeze. Then two shorter Superman cartoons. The first with a safari gone wrong and the second with I kid you not an evil hat! Lastly there was a Teenage Mutant Ninja (Hero) Turtles episode. With the Turtles still being in my wheel house I was able to do a bit more research into this episode. I discovered it to be the first appearance of Casey Jones. “Casey Jones: Outlaw Hero” episode 23 of season 3. The plot also featured Krang making it so household electrical items became sentient and attacked people.
The video library my Dad had put together was my education and my life line. On a rainy day you would stick a video on. Nothing on the TV? Stick a video on. A day off sick from school, stick a video on. It gave me my first tastes of movie franchises. Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Ghostbusters. They were the most popular. I would say Empire Strikes Back and Last Crusade were well-worn and almost dust before we switched to DVD. For some reason we never had A New Hope so the first time I saw that was with the release of the first edited version on VHS in 1998. Another positive and I think it’s a positive is that I got desensitized pretty early. Terminator 2, Die Hard, Batman 89 I saw them all man. When I think about the video library my Dad put together between those films coming out and me being born is outstanding. This was pre digital TV era too, so he had to wait for them to be on one of four channels. At one point we had a neighbour with digital who would record stuff for us. Thanks to this I got to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie before all my friends. Funny story when I got TMNT 2 for my birthday I couldn’t wait for my friends to leave my party so I could watch it. Ah the solitude of a nerd.
Truth be told I was still using my video recorder well after I got a DVD player. There was the time I tried to make a tape of all The Simpsons movie parodies. When the first X-Men movie came out one channel was repeating the animated series and another was showing X-Men Evolution. I made tapes for both. Oh of course I had a few tapes of porn too! Every week when I got the new TV guide I would scan through it looking for movies from all genres that I could tape, watch and learn. The sound of my recorder whirring was the soundtrack to my sleep for months. My greatest achievement when it comes to using my video recorder has to be The Wire. When The Wire was shown on none digital TV in the UK it was on late. They showed season 1 then had a gap between season 2. Then season 2 to 5 was shown without a break. Sometimes with two episodes a night. The only way I could stay on top of it was to record it one night, watch it the next evening, rewind the tape and record that nights episode and repeat. It was primitive Netflix and in a way I invented binge watching. I got through all five seasons of The Wire and only missed two episodes! Unfortunately one of those was the one where Stringer was killed… Oops spoiler!
Now this weeks blog may seem like nothing more than filler and I’m not going to argue you are wrong. But near Christmas I tend to get a bit sentimental and start looking backwards before the New Year having plenty of time to look forward. Netflix and the digital age is great but come on I bet everyone has a video recorder story.
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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