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Your first videotape rental...?


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#1 Giraffe

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 10:30 PM

Hard to believe that we're closing in on 25 years (or so) since my family first got a VCR. I still have plenty of VHS tapes in storage. I'm going to guess that it was 1983 or so when we bought our RCA top-loading VHS machine, from Johnny Copeland's TV shop on Old Grandbury Road, next to Bolen's Toy Palace. We rented a couple of movies while we were at it: _Alien_ and _Tron_.

I was only about 14 years old at the time and _Alien_ scared the begonias out of me. I've never watched it again since. smile.gif I've since bought _Tron_ on DVD.

Later on we also rented movies from a place on McCart near Alta Mesa called "The Video Station," IIRC. They also rented out game cartridges for the Atari 2600. I blew a lot of my allowance on those video games, but it was still far cheaper than buying.

The Wedgwood Theater started renting movies on VHS about this time, too. I believe they had already expanded to two movie screens by then, perhaps to four. I recall some of those tape boxes always sat on the same locations on the shelves and some of them had the red color of the labeling bleached out by sunlight coming in through the windows. smile.gif

All these video rental places are gone now.

We used Blockbuster on Alta Mesa a lot, too. But -- incredibly -- now that's gone, too.

#2 Birdland in Handley

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 01:20 AM

VHS! How modern. We have masses of classic movies on Beta (the official whatever of the 1984 Olympics, sez the sticker on our old, defunct player). When we captured all those classic movies on our Beta tapes we thought "Job Done."
But we got a grip on modernity and did do a few VHS purchases and captures.
Now we are gun-shy of any format.
Music--We like our LP's. They still work.

#3 Stormrunner77

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 04:10 AM

Oh the days of VHS v. Beta.....or for the younger readers it would be the equivalent of BluRay v. HD DVD. I would say it was around '83 while my family was still in Florida that we would rent a VHS player from our local Albertsons. If memory servers me I remember seeing Tron and Firefox back then and of course the requeset Disney titles like Blackhole. When we moved to Fort Worth in 1985 we bought our first VCR from some store out on Cherry Lane @ I-30, don't remember the name. We would check out tapes from the Fort Worth library near Seminary. I remember back at that time the library still carried a few Beta tapes. I was the first one in my family to buy a DVD player....still haven't gone to the next generation player yet, but as soon as I saw Disney choose BluRay over HD DVD I knew which one would come out on top. You can't deney the power of millions of kiddos wanting their Hannah and Disney/Pixar films to turn the tide in a format war.....
Now where'd I put that cassette..... rolleyes.gif

#4 JBB

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 06:52 AM

I can remember my family renting movies at a store at Alta Mesa and McCart. We also used to rent movies from a rental store near Green Oaks and I-20 in Arlington. It was a store that rented things like carpet cleaners and wheelchairs and they had a small movie rental section in the back. I also remember how excited we were when "Top Gun" was the first VHS movie available for purchase at a reasonable price, around $29, I believe.

Blockbuster, the king of movie rentals for so long, seems to be dying a slow death. The one closest to me closed about a month ago. I don't see how they stay in business when they are so outnumbered by Netflix and DVRs and discount rental outfits like Family Video and Redbox.

#5 cajunmike

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 12:40 PM

I purchased my first VCR from Preston Video and drove all the way to Dallas in 1980 and paid $800 for it. My neighobor had a Sony BetaMax. Having lived in S.W. Fort Worth for over 20 plus years, we also rented videos from the Video Station on McCart and Altamesa. I gave away a box full of VHS tapes several years back.

I think the first one that I purchased for some unknown reason was Silver Streak with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. We have come along way.
Mike

#6 Brian Luenser

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 03:53 PM

I bought my first VCR in 1983. (waiting for the Beta-max vs. VHS war to be over.) It was a "4 head" Panisonic that I bought at Edison's in Arlington. It was $599. even though cheaper ones were $399. I had to have the "4 head" as it was the best and latest. Amazing. $599 in 1983 converts to $1,341. in 2009 dollars. Yikes. 3 times what I paid for my upper lower end Blu Ray player.

BTW I recently got a VHS to DVD recorder. I bought it on E-bay for $120. knowing it did not have a remote control. The remote control turned out to be $79. and YOU MUST HAVE IT to finalize the DVD for use. I have never seen a piece of electronics that you HAD to have the remote control. Yes, I should have just bought a new unit.

Converting my VHS tapes to DVD was just a matter of space for me in my small condo. Turned a big box into a photo album. In fact to save space, the first thing I do when I buy a DVD is throw out the cover and then put the DVD in my little DVD/CD "photo album" I have like a hundred DVD's in a space the size a book next to my Blu Ray player. The tapes I turned into DVD's were tapes I could not duplicate else-wise. Mostly great music guests on Saturday Night Live or elsewhere. I even had a tape that was the first time the Dixie Chicks were on TV. (Back when I used to like the Dixie Chicks.) I used to see them in Dallas wherever they played like in 1988, 1989? I bet I saw them 14 times. I have lots of their autographs and pictures. Big deal. Would throw it all out now except they may be worth something one day. My favorite Dixie Chick (Laura Lynch) lives here in Fort Worth of course. I see her from time to time. (She was replaced by Natalie Maines)

Top gun was the first cheap VHS tape in my memory also.

Video tapes do not last forever. Nothing does of course, but if you have important tapes, you had better record to DVD or hard drive.
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#7 cajunmike

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 05:08 PM

I do think I have one VHS tape packed aways somewhere if it has not vaporized. It was from a 1986 T.V. interview I did for an organazation that I was President off at that time. Might be funny for me to watch and see how dark my mustache was and how I looked in that blue pin stripe suit. I know for sure I was a lot thinner.
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#8 Papaw

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 07:48 PM

The first (and only) tape I ever rented featured some girl named Linda Lovelace, I think the title was Deep something or another, I hadn't been married long and I guess it must have vaporized also as it just vanished and I had to pay for it - I suspected the wife might have had something to do with it.

#9 Birdland in Handley

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 02:05 AM

We have hundreds of classic films on unstable nitrate celluloid. . oh no. . . BOOOM! cracklecracklecrackle
Just kidding, just venting frustration about being losers in the format wars.

#10 Dismuke

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 08:42 AM

QUOTE (Birdland in Handley @ May 31 2009, 03:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just kidding, just venting frustration about being losers in the format wars.


I tend to take the perspective that the only way one can lose out on a format is when the day comes that one can no longer purchase the means of playing it back. I am not sure if that is the case yet with the old betamax players or not. If you have wax cylinder records from the 1890s and want to listen to them, there are a number of people who can sell you a vintage machine fully capable of playing them. My guess, however, is that restoring an old betamax player to working condition is a much more difficult task than restoring an old mechanical phonograph.

But so long as your recordings/videos survive in playable condition and you have the means to play them, they remain capable of delivering just as much enjoyment as when the technology was considered cutting edge. The fact that newer formats might be more convenient and have certain advantages does not diminish in any way what the older formats were able to offer. I regularly listen to 78 rpm shellac discs that are over 100 years old. So long as the records were properly taken care of (which, unfortunately, was not always the case) they remain fully capable of providing the exact same listening experience as when they were new.

Now, of course, it is true that videotape has a relatively short lifespan and that many tapes from the 1970s and 1980s are getting to the point where they are or soon will become unplayable. But that would still be the case even if new formats had not come along and the technology was still considered up-to-date. Either way, the content would still need to be transferred if one wished to preserve it.

One might be able to make the case that people who invest a lot of money in a brand new format end up being losers if the format never catches on. Such people spend a lot on playback equipment for which new content eventually becomes unavailable. But people who invest early into brand new formats almost always end up on the short end of the stick. Even if the format remains successful, within a few years it is usually possible to buy much better playback equipment at a fraction of the price. Unless the new technology offers features that are of immediate and important benefit for you, it is generally better to wait for it to become more widespread and for prices to drop before you invest any amount of money that you consider to be significant. And I certainly would be cautious about spending too much money on something such as a XM/Sirius receiver or an HD radio tuner as it is far from certain whether those services will become viable in the long term and survive. That's not to say you shouldn't buy one if those services provide content you are interested in - just be reasonably sure that you will have gotten your money's worth out of it if the service suddenly goes away in a year to two.

As to the long-term viability of recorded media - that is becoming a HUGE problem for all sorts of modern media. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, tape was considered to be the best archival material for recorded sound. Today there is a race to transfer such material before it deteriorates. Early CDs have NOT lived up to the lifespan that was promised when they were introduced. The CDs and DVDs that you burn on your home computer have a HORRIBLE lifespan - often they become unreadable in as few as two to five years, especially if one uses cheap brands. It is a matter of debate how long data on a hard drive placed in storage will last. Basically, the only sure fire way is to transfer the data to new media every few years and make sure one has plenty of backups in multiple locations.

And, as far as our cultural heritage is concerned, the best bet for preservation and perpetuation has always been for the material to remain in-demand and popular. About 80 percent of the films from the silent era no longer exist. Much of this had to do with unstable media. But the fact that films were no longer commercially viable after their initial run was every bit as much of a factor. The only reason that many of the surviving films from the early talkie era are still with us is because of the urgent need that the new television stations in the late '40s and early '50s had for material to fill up their broadcast day. They turned to the movie studios' vaults just in time to preserve many films from eventual destruction. And, of the ones that were preserved for television, there were some instances where entire scenes from pre-code era films were cut out and subsequently lost because they were considered to be way too scandalous for the more puritanical 1950s mindsets.

I think one major issue for the future is likely to be the preservation of websites such as this one. This website and forum, for instance, is a treasure trove of information. This forum will certainly be of great interest to people in the future who wish to study what was going on in Fort Worth during the early 21st century. How many copies of this website and forum do you suppose exist other than on the webserver it is hosted on? What would become of it if something terrible happened to John Roberts? Would somebody care to go through the trouble to keep making it available to the public? If not, would anybody go through the trouble to preserve and make periodic transfers of any backups he has made of it? There have already been a couple of instances where websites I relied on for obscure reference information have suddenly gone dark. We look back with horror at the shortsightedness of early movie studios who threw away priceless treasures in order to clear more space in their vaults. But I suspect that many similar mistakes are being made today with regard to digital information.

In the end, it might just be that the good old shellac 78 rpm record will out last everything that came after it. Many have already lasted over 110 years - which is not something that is at all assured of with modern formats. A century from now even if the content on a CD or DVD is intact it is going to be worthless unless there still exists some means of reading it - something that one is not really able to build for one's self out of scratch. To play a 78 rpm, all one needs is some way of spinning the disc at a constant speed. You can then place the corner of a piece of paper in the grooves and hear what is on the record. A piece of paper will not play very loudly or with nice fidelity - but in the absence of anything else, one at least will be able to access the content in a very rudimentary way. So if we end up getting slammed by an asteroid or a solar flair fries our electrical grid as some are warning about the possibility of and those who live through it are thrown back into a new stone age, when civilization is eventually reborn it may well be that the stuff you hear on Radio Dismuke is what will survive as examples of what our civilization achieved musically and not the stuff that came afterward - which, in my opinion, might not be such a bad thing!
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#11 Mark S

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 09:56 AM

Back when when VHS rental was just being introduced there was a place on Camp Bowie I rented from, but I can't remember the name of it. (I believe it was in a satellite building outside of where Peaches used to be) The cost was outrageous, but they were practically the only game in town at the time. As I recall, you had to pay a substantial (and non-refundable) membership fee, and then have money on deposit with them based on how many movies you wanted to get at a time. This was when a movie on VHS set you back about $90, and I lived in fear that my machine would eat one of their tapes!
I also recall when the first VCRs with "Hi-Fi" audio came out. I bought an RCA Hi-Fi VCR, and what do you suppose it set me back? $1,100.00!

#12 Dismuke

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 11:22 AM

Back when I would occasionally rent movies there were a number of mom and pop video stores along Camp Bowie that came and went that I much preferred over Blockbuster. I liked them better because all of them offered a much larger selection of back titles and vintage films than did Blockbuster which seemed to focus more on current releases and which would periodically cleanse its back title offerings. I didn't rent films all that often so there was always plenty of stuff in the back titles I hadn't seen and had no need to limit myself to current releases. Every time one of the mom and pops would go out of business, I would end up going by default back to Blockbuster where I always found it much more difficult to find something I would be interested in.

During its last days, the old Sound Warehouse music chain had video rentals and would rent out its back titles for 49 cents per movie. I am one of those people who simply WILL NOT suffer through a bad movie - if I see no evidence that a movie has anything of value to offer me after 15 minutes, I will pull it out of the player. I have even walked out of theaters. Too many other fun things to do competing for my free time to waste it on a movie that I find miserable. What was nice about the Sound Warehouse on Camp Bowie was, if I was having difficulty finding something I thought I might enjoy, at that price I could just pick out a handful of "maybes" and even if only one of them was worth watching, it was still a bargain. Sadly, Sound Warehouse was purchased by Blockbuster Music - and, as one would expect, they did away with offering bargain back title movies in competition to their video outlets.

Last time I rented a video was several years ago at the Blockbuster at Camp Bowie and Bryant Irvin. When I was checking out, the little snot-nosed high school kid behind the counter gratuitously blurted out with a tone of disapproval: "do you know that it has been OVER A YEAR since you last checked anything out?" Not sure why or how that mattered one way or another. I just cheerfully replied back: "then I guess you should be all that much more appreciative of the fact that I am renting something from you tonight, shouldn't you?"

The last few times there was a commercially available video I really wanted to watch and thought I would enjoy, I just went ahead and bought it. A lot of the stuff I like to watch is vintage films that are not available commercially and can only be obtained from various film collectors online who buy and trade bootleg copies. I also have a shelf full of stuff vintage film collector friends have dubbed for me and stuff I have picked up for very little at places such as Half Price Books and ebay. Since I have yet to get around to but a fraction of the stuff on the shelf, my guess is by the next time I am in the mood to actually rent something on the spur of the moment, there might not be any brick and mortar rental places for me to go to.
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#13 Sam Stone

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 12:07 PM

I remember some of those places on Camp Bowie, too. Those would definitely be the first places my family rented videos. Now I do Netflix.

Speaking of obsolete formats, did anyone on here have laser disk? We didn't but every now and then in the early 80s I would be at someone's house who did, and I was just fascinated by those giant iridescent discs. Also, we had some family friends in the home AV business and as far back as the early 90s I remember them talking about how everything was going to be in HD eventually.

#14 Dismuke

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 12:08 PM

One other thing about video rentals that I DID NOT like was late fees. When I did occasionally rent videos, I usually spent as much on the late fees as I did the rentals. Making a second trip back to return them was always a hassle and for some reason it always slipped my mind to do so. Usually I just paid the fee next time I rented something. Once the time between rentals was long enough for Blockbuster to go through the trouble of sending me a nasty postcard in the mail for the grand total of something like $3.

For a while, there was an audio book rental place off of Camp Bowie. Having a lengthy commute, I thought it was a great service. One time after I first started renting from them, I was suddenly asked to go on a two week out of town trip for work. In my rush to get packed, I forgot all about the audio book rental until I got back - and even then, with all of the "catch up" work I had to do from being out of town, it was a few more days before I managed to find a chance to return it. My conversation at the store was a disaster:

Me: Hi - I have been out of town and I know that I am returning this massively late. How much do I owe you in late fees?

Clerk: Let me check on that for you..........it will be $36.

Me: Thirty six dollars??? That's more than it would cost for me to buy the darned thing.

Clerk: Yes. I am showing the price for it is $19. The late fee is so high because you had it out for so long.

Me: I understand that I had it out for a long time and that I do owe you money for late fees. But doesn't it strike you as being a bit odd that the late fees would actually exceed the replacement cost of the product itself? Shouldn't you at least cap late fees at some percentage - even a high one - of the product's replacement cost?

Clerk: I am sorry but that is what our policy is. When our product is out we are not able to rent it out to someone else so we are losing money on it.

Me: I understand that. But I am just curious. If three minutes ago I had walked in here and told you that I had simply lost it and was unable to return it, what would you charge me?

Clerk: We would charge you $19.

Me: So I would have been better off if I had walked in here and lied to you?

Clerk: I am sorry but that is what our policy is.

Me: And what if I were to just place it right here on the counter and walk out the door without paying anything? What would happen then?

Clerk: You would not be able to rent anything until you paid the late fee and we might eventually turn it over to a collection agency.

Me: And if I refuse to pay the collection agency - are they going to take me to court to sue me for $36? You certainly can't report me to the credit bureaus because I have not provided you with the information that you would need to do so.

Clerk: I am sorry, but the only thing I am able to do is apply the late fee towards the purchase of a pre-pay membership (where for something like $90 I could have had a certain number of audio books out at any time at a substantial discount over an individual rental)

Me: Unfortunately, such a membership makes no sense for me as I don't see myself wanting to rent all that often.

Clerk: I am sorry, but that is what our policy is and that is what you agreed to when you signed the rental agreement.

Me: True enough. I did sign the rental agreement. And if you insist, I will write a check out for $36 - because I did agree to it. But if I do so, you have my very sacred promise that this will be the last time I ever step into this store and that I will tell everyone I know who will listen about my experience today. If you choose that option, it will be a very pennywise - pound foolish decision on your part because, over time, I am likely to rent more than $36. But that is your choice to make.

Clerk: Sorry, but that is our policy.

Me. That's fine. I have already told you what my policy will be..............Here is your $36. Have a nice life.


That place eventually went out of business.


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#15 Giraffe

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 03:08 PM

QUOTE (Sam Stone @ May 31 2009, 12:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Speaking of obsolete formats, did anyone on here have laser disk? We didn't but every now and then in the early 80s I would be at someone's house who did, and I was just fascinated by those giant iridescent discs.


A friend of mine in Austin likes to collect RCA Select-a-Vision discs; these resemble Laserdiscs in a limited way, but they're not like DVDs. They're actually big LPs that are read by a stylus. The audio and video information is read off the disc as it spins inside the player. The discs themselves are inside these big plastic cartridges and are never supposed to be touched by the user. These were read-only (you couldn't record on them), and because of the physical contact, the discs and styli would wear out eventually. RCA quit making the players and the discs long ago, but there's still a small group of collectors out there. I'll bet plenty of thrift shops have some languishing in a bin under the counter, since nobody has any idea what they are.

#16 Giraffe

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 03:15 PM

QUOTE (monee9696 @ May 30 2009, 03:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I bought my first VCR in 1983. (waiting for the Beta-max vs. VHS war to be over.) It was a "4 head" Panisonic that I bought at Edison's in Arlington. It was $599. even though cheaper ones were $399. I had to have the "4 head" as it was the best and latest. Amazing. $599 in 1983 converts to $1,341. in 2009 dollars. Yikes. 3 times what I paid for my upper lower end Blu Ray player.


Video tapes do not last forever. Nothing does of course, but if you have important tapes, you had better record to DVD or hard drive.


Yep, looking through newspapers from the early 1980s makes us appreciate how cheap consumer electronics are these days. I worked for Sears for a while in a TV repair shop in Fort Worth, back when it was profitable to fix VCRs. The earliest home VCRs weighed a ton. Most problems were due to mechanical wear, particularly rubber belts.

Our old Super 8 home movies will probably archive longer than any other format. Good idea to hang on to the original film even after tranferring it to videotape or DVD. (I don't trust home-burned DVDs to archive well.)

Where was that Edison's in Arlington that you mentioned? I remember the one on S. Hulen.

#17 cajunmike

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 03:39 PM

I remember the first Edisons in downtown Fort Worth. Later the one on Hulen as I lived in S.W. FTW. You are correct that the VCR's were very heavy and could have been a boat anchor. I used to have T.V. VCR work done at Ruckers T.V. on Camp Bowie (Mike Webber) and after awhile it was not profitable for them to work on them.

Someone had mentioned the laser player. We had some at the restaurants that I had owned for training purposes. I could never find anyone who could service them.
Mike

#18 Sam Stone

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 05:06 PM

We had some of our TV/VCR work done at Ruckers, too. Our first VCR was a gigantic and heavy two-piece set. Half of it could be lifted out and plugged into a video camera to record. The video camera itself was pretty big and then you had a cable going to the VHS recorder that you wore on a strap around your shoulder. My parents used to lug all of that around to our birthdays and soccer games--they looked like a film crew. And then we had a TV that was like a piece of furniture--it was on casters, covered in wood, and weighed a ton. Yeah, those were the good ol' days.

#19 cajunmike

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 08:23 PM

Sam, that is funny. It reminded me that the VCR I had came with a Black and White camera that was hooked up with a cable and you could not go far in the house. We purchased a what we thought then was a big screen 25" RCA console T.V.
Mike

#20 shelley.debnam

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 11:13 PM

I remember our first VCR in the early 80's to be an Emerson brand, then I remember having to get my own so that I didn't have to share with my brother. I bought a JVC VCR at Highlands on Camp Bowie before they went out of business.

We rented from Movies Unlimited on Haltom Rd and a few years later from Take It Home Video on Denton Highway. I watched the Karate Kid so many times that I can still recite the whole darn movie.

Now I use netflix and HBO.

#21 Birdland in Handley

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:09 AM

Music--We like our LP's. They still work.
Dismuke, What are the advantages of shellac vs plastic and vinyl? In a post apocalytic world couldn't you use wind up springs tech and a sharp needle and a cone or lovley trumpet morning glory shaped thing to play records from the 50's on? I still have several 45 RPM hole-spacers at the ready.
rolleyes.gif

#22 Mark S

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 06:02 AM

QUOTE (Sam Stone @ May 31 2009, 01:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Speaking of obsolete formats, did anyone on here have laser disk? We didn't but every now and then in the early 80s I would be at someone's house who did, and I was just fascinated by those giant iridescent discs. Also, we had some family friends in the home AV business and as far back as the early 90s I remember them talking about how everything was going to be in HD eventually.


Yep, I had a laser disk player. I believe it was by Pioneer, and I took the plunge when their was a significant price drop. They were really pretty good, but the selection of movies on the format was always very limited. The size of the disks didn't bother me too much (they fit nicely on a shelf along-side my albums), but their storage capacity was extremely small. It was common to have to flip the disk halfway through a movie. In fact, I believe that some movies were also released in a special, higher quality version (I don't recall what they called them) that would require two "flipper" disks... dividing your viewing pleasure into quarters!


#23 Mark S

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 06:06 AM

QUOTE (Sam Stone @ May 31 2009, 01:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Speaking of obsolete formats, did anyone on here have laser disk? We didn't but every now and then in the early 80s I would be at someone's house who did, and I was just fascinated by those giant iridescent discs. Also, we had some family friends in the home AV business and as far back as the early 90s I remember them talking about how everything was going to be in HD eventually.


Yep, I had a laser disk player. I believe it was by Pioneer, and I took the plunge when their was a significant price drop. They were really pretty good, but the selection of movies on the format was always very limited. The size of the disks didn't bother me too much (they fit nicely on a shelf along-side my albums), but their storage capacity was extremely small. It was common to have to flip the disk halfway through a movie. In fact, I believe that some movies were also released in a special, higher quality version (I don't recall what they called them) that would require two "flipper" disks... dividing your viewing pleasure into quarters!


#24 Dismuke

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 09:51 AM

QUOTE (Birdland in Handley @ Jun 1 2009, 03:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Music--We like our LP's. They still work.
Dismuke, What are the advantages of shellac vs plastic and vinyl? In a post apocalytic world couldn't you use wind up springs tech and a sharp needle and a cone or lovley trumpet morning glory shaped thing to play records from the 50's on?
rolleyes.gif



The HUGE advantage of plastic/vinyl verses shellac is the vinyl provides a much quieter playing surface. The technology for plastic records was actually around and in limited, VERY niche use as far back as the early '30s. The reason it did not catch on commercially until after the war was because, due to the Depression and wartime shortages, a large number of steel needle wind-up phonographs were still in use and few could afford the expense of upgrading to a turntable with a lighter weight electrical pickup. The shellac discs contained a certain amount of gritty material that was designed so that the record would wear down the steel needle (which has to be replaced EVERY time you play a record) rather than the other way around. In the very late '50s, the last years that 78 rpm records were in production in the West, some companies began to issue them in vinyl pressings. The sound quality on them is outstanding - you actually get better fidelity at higher speeds, though the obvious disadvantage is you get less playing time per side. But if you put a vinyl 78 - or an LP or a 45 rpm - on a windup, it will destroy the record.

As for how long they will last - I have never been able to find any hard numbers and I don't know that anyone knows for sure. The general assumption that has been in implicit in threads I have followed in a sound archive discussion group I subscribe to has always been that shellac discs will outlast vinyl ones. All plastic degrades over time. How long that time is depends on how well it was made and the conditions under which it is kept. In the case of the vinyl records made in the 1950s and 1960s, I would guess that it would be in the hundreds of years - but I have no idea of how many. I have some early LPs that are 60 years old and still in great shape apart from damage inflicted by carelessness. I wouldn't be so optimistic about the LPs made in the late 1970s and especially in the 1980s after the record manufacturers began to start making thinner discs out of cheaper - and sometimes even recycled - material. Those records would scratch if you looked at them the wrong way and would even let off a plastic smell when they were removed from their sleeves.

The vinyl records are actually making a comeback of sorts. Sales of new ones have actually been going up in recent years in contrast with the collapse of CD sales. Best Buy has even announced that it will start carrying them again in its stores - something that just a few years ago would have been considered unthinkable. I have not actually seen any. I would hope that, since they are being marketed as a premium product, that they are pressed with better materials than what was used at the very tail end of the LP era.

As for other factors in terms of durability - one big downside of shellac discs is they are very brittle. Thus if they are dropped or sat on or twisted in any way they are most likely going to crack or break. Vinyl records, however, are much more sensitive to heat and will very easily warp. Shellac 78 rpms will also warp when they are improperly stored and subjected to excessive heat. But such warps are often fixable by placing the record between two pieces of glass in a low temperature oven. Warped vinyl records are pretty much a loss. When played on modern equipment with lightweight tone arms and styli, it is virtually impossible to scratch or wear out a 78 rpm record while playing it. The skips and groove wear you find on old 78s is from the old fashioned steel needles and heavy tone arms - especially if the tone arm was accidentally dropped or pushed or if the owners were too poor or too cheap to replace the needle after every single play. On the other hand, it is VERY easy to create a skip when you play a vinyl record on modern equipment and accidentally push the tone arm. Modern equipment will also cause wear out vinyl records if they are played often enough. One of the reasons I do not enjoy playing LPs very much is they are so easy to damage - especially if one is interested in playing tracks in the middle of the record. With modern equipment, the only danger of damaging a 78 is if one is careless in how one carries it around or stores it.

As for being able to get sound out of an LP or 45 under primitive conditions, I have never actually tried it. But the basic principle of how the sound is generated is the same so I would think you can. The grooves are much more narrow so there might be more of an issue in terms of amplifying the volume. And one will be much more likely to damage the record in the process of doing so. I will have to dig through some stuff and see if I have any trashed out LPs I don't want and see what happens. So how likely post-Radio Dismuke era stuff will survive probably depends on how long any such dark ages last. A few hundred years, chances are good that stuff put on LP or 45 will still survive. Longer than that, I would place my bets on shellac. But even if it is shellac, it is a tongue in cheek exaggeration on my part to say that the stuff that survives would end at the Radio Dismuke era. Shellac 78s continued to be made well into the late '50s in the West - though by that time it was mostly older and poorer people buying them. Outside of the West, windups continued to be used for a while longer in remote parts of the Soviet Union and shellac 78s were still being made into the early '70s for people in rural areas of India where there was no electricity. There are actually Indian pressings of the Beatles on shellac 78 rpms that you could play on a wind-up phonograph. I wouldn't recommend it however, as such records were not made in great quantity and, as a result, are extremely rare, collectible and worth a lot of money.


QUOTE
I still have several 45 RPM hole-spacers at the ready.


I think early 45s would be fun to collect - but I have too much on my plate collecting wise as it is. The one major exception to my overall dislike of post-war era music is the doo-wop type stuff from the late '50s and very early '60s. A lot of the music from that period was very fun in contrast to the dreary and banal "easy listening" stuff of the late '40s and early '50s and was highly melodic and often quite beautiful in contrast to the stuff from the mid '60s through today which is either non-melodic or anti-melodic. The very first records that I ever played was when I was about 6 years old. They were 45 rpms from the years that my mother spent in Germany. You mention the hole spacers. Some of the hole spacers that were with those records were incredibly cool - very different than any that I have ever seen with American records from that period. And some of them actually had the wide center hole pre-filled with a triangle shaped insert with a standard sized 78 rpm/ 33 rpm spindle hole in the middle. The insert could be punched out for those who had early 45 players which had the wide spindle and only played 45 rpm records. Even though I didn't understand a word of German, some of those records were incredibly fun. I really need to ask my mother to borrow them so that I can make digital transfers. One of the performers I remember was a fellow named Peter Kraus who was known at the time as "the German Elvis." For those who enjoy the music from that period, a lot of his stuff has been posted to YouTube. Here are a few examples:





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-SxFOGjeY4


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#25 McHand

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 10:09 AM

QUOTE (Sam Stone @ May 31 2009, 01:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I remember some of those places on Camp Bowie, too. Those would definitely be the first places my family rented videos. Now I do Netflix.


I remember one of those places on Camp Bowie; I think it was in the strip with Mott's & Bluebonnet Bakery (or maybe those are two different strips but next to each other). I also remember the Sound Warehouse and when it became Blockbuster. At any rate, we used to rent the VCRs, because A) we didn't have one yet or B) ours had been stolen in a break-in. We rented a LOT of movies.

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#26 Phil Phillips

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 03:42 PM

QUOTE (Giraffe @ May 31 2009, 04:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (monee9696 @ May 30 2009, 03:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I bought my first VCR in 1983. (waiting for the Beta-max vs. VHS war to be over.) It was a "4 head" Panisonic that I bought at Edison's in Arlington. It was $599. even though cheaper ones were $399. I had to have the "4 head" as it was the best and latest. Amazing. $599 in 1983 converts to $1,341. in 2009 dollars. Yikes. 3 times what I paid for my upper lower end Blu Ray player.


Video tapes do not last forever. Nothing does of course, but if you have important tapes, you had better record to DVD or hard drive.


Yep, looking through newspapers from the early 1980s makes us appreciate how cheap consumer electronics are these days. I worked for Sears for a while in a TV repair shop in Fort Worth, back when it was profitable to fix VCRs. The earliest home VCRs weighed a ton. Most problems were due to mechanical wear, particularly rubber belts.

Our old Super 8 home movies will probably archive longer than any other format. Good idea to hang on to the original film even after tranferring it to videotape or DVD. (I don't trust home-burned DVDs to archive well.)

Where was that Edison's in Arlington that you mentioned? I remember the one on S. Hulen.


The Arlington store was on the SE corner of Pioneer Parkway (Spur 303) and Park Springs.

#27 Saginaw

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 04:30 PM

I got my very first VCR (a top-loading General Electric) in about '83, and it cost me nearly $700! Almost bought a Beta, but resisted the urge. My older brother, on the other hand....

No idea what my first video rental was, but I do remember the first tape I played on my new VCR: 'Star Wars'. I knew someone who could record shows for me off cable, which was cool. The one little detail that I distinctly remember about the fairly early days of video recorders were the weight of the VCR tapes. I guess they were constructed much more sturdily than what's available now, but I still have a few of the older makes and, compared with today's tapes, they are definitely more weightier. Well, I had the machine for about a year, maybe a little over, then I sold it to pay a bill. Chalk that move to being young and irresponsible. rolleyes.gif I'd get my next VCR in 1987, through RTO Rentals, and I've had VCRs ever since.

I'd like to splurge on a digital recorder, but my computer does have a digital player. Maybe soon.


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#28 JPO

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 09:27 PM

I absolutely remember the day we got our first VCR... My parents came home from somewhere and sat the three of us boys down and said "How would you like to see 'Star Wars' AND 'Superman' tonight?'" I became very excited, as I thought they were taking us to a "double feature." I had never been to a double feature but had heard about them quite a bit from all of the 1950's nostalgia that was in the air in the late 1970's/early 80's. I was briefly disappointed by the appearance of the VCR (it was a Quasar, two VERY heavy components and, yes, that massive video camera...) as it would not mean a trip to the movies, but quickly discovered that being able to watch those two films back to back and over and over had its great advantages. I can still recite them from beginning to end... remember Margot Kidder's awful song "Can You Read My Mind" as Superman whisks her off of that Art Deco balcony?

Oh and my cousin Darlene worked a The Video Station on McCart for years - it was behind the Taco Bueno... I used to get the extra movie posters (usually for really forgettable movies, like "The Pick-Up Artist") and hang them in my bedroom...

#29 801hme

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 05:23 AM

We got our first VCR my senior year of high school, '85. First movie rental was "A Soldier's Story" from either Ft. Worth Books & Video or Bergeron's on Meadowbrook Dr. A buddy of mine a little later worked at the FWB&V when it was in the Jett building downtown (where Jamba Juice & the Radio station are now). That was always a nice excuse to go downtown. The VCR was a RCA brand & came with a stuffed "Nipper" dog (from the "his masters voice" RCA logo). My lab puppy adopted the stuffed dog, and carried it around like a security blanket until it was just a rag.

#30 Sam Stone

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 07:42 AM

QUOTE (JPO @ Jun 1 2009, 11:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I absolutely remember the day we got our first VCR... My parents came home from somewhere and sat the three of us boys down and said "How would you like to see 'Star Wars' AND 'Superman' tonight?'" I became very excited, as I thought they were taking us to a "double feature." I had never been to a double feature but had heard about them quite a bit from all of the 1950's nostalgia that was in the air in the late 1970's/early 80's. I was briefly disappointed by the appearance of the VCR (it was a Quasar, two VERY heavy components and, yes, that massive video camera...) as it would not mean a trip to the movies, but quickly discovered that being able to watch those two films back to back and over and over had its great advantages. I can still recite them from beginning to end... remember Margot Kidder's awful song "Can You Read My Mind" as Superman whisks her off of that Art Deco balcony?


Hah! Those were the two videos we watched over and over again, too. I wish I could remember the brand of the VCR. I remember that it had very tiny metallic buttons. We also owned a very early walkman that itself was the about the size of a VHS tape.

#31 SWRebel

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 02:22 PM

I have no idea what the movie was, but it was rented from a place on the North end of Westcliff Shopping Center.

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#32 David Love

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 09:21 AM

My first VCR had a remote, connected to a 12' wire you plugged into the back. Was mainly used to record movies from this new kind of cable service that erected a 30' tower with an elliptical dish on top pointed directly at the cable company's repeater, since we were too far out to get normal cable. Paying for a movie was out of the question.

Only advantage was this company got new channels way before the regular cable companies, I paid a small fortune for some good quality tapes so I could record movies and I really wanted to catch the music videos on this new channel coming out, everyone was saying it wasn't going to be on for long, more of an experiment so I wanted to make sure I captured as much as possible, because there was no telling when they'd be back on, if ever.

By the end of the summer I was so sick of seeing the Buggles, they played stuff over and over and over, still going but they rarely play music today.

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#33 BillyG

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 04:19 PM

I worked at Edison's on Grapevine Hwy when it first opened. I had the honor to work in the Electronics department when VCR's first came out. Huge honkin things they were! $1100.00 price tag.

It was such a cool time to work there. Sony Walkmans, Atari Video game systems, Telephone answering machines...all made their debut at that time in the late 70's early 80s.

We used to rent our movies at Sams Video on Belknap and Denton Hwy where the old Haltom Theater was.

#34 cajunmike

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 04:33 PM

Billy.

Your right on the price for the VCR's. I paid over $800 plus for mine and had to go to Dallas in 1977. The Sam's on Belknap you mentioned was a furniture store when we moved to the Haltom City area in 1966. My mother bought a lot of furniture there.
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#35 BillyG

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 04:42 PM

QUOTE (cajunmike @ Sep 26 2009, 05:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Billy.

Your right on the price for the VCR's. I paid over $800 plus for mine and had to go to Dallas in 1977. The Sam's on Belknap you mentioned was a furniture store when we moved to the Haltom City area in 1966. My mother bought a lot of furniture there.


Yes, I remember that furniture store.. They moved down the street behind the Arbys at Belknap and Haltom Road. The Arbys recently burned down.. sniff sniff... cry.gif

#36 Mark S

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:02 AM

QUOTE (cajunmike @ Sep 26 2009, 05:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Billy.

Your right on the price for the VCR's. I paid over $800 plus for mine and had to go to Dallas in 1977. The Sam's on Belknap you mentioned was a furniture store when we moved to the Haltom City area in 1966. My mother bought a lot of furniture there.


I was working for the Star-Telegram in the '80s, and won a $750 gift certificate to Sam's in a sales contest. I went to the Belknap store and picked up my 2nd VCR, an RCA with 4 heads and hi-fi sound. It was a funky "convertible" model, a part of which could un-dock to be used in conjunction with a camcorder. The hi-fi feature had just been introduced. The cost? $1,500! (don't even get me started on the Maxtor 535 megabyte hard-drive that cost me $1,100 so long ago!)

#37 cajunmike

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 06:44 AM

When I bought my Magnavox VCR in 1979 it came with a Black and White camera that had about a 6' cord attached to the unit. I guess we were suppose to stand right in front of it. I think may have used that camera one time.
Mike

#38 GGJ

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 12:56 AM

Hey Ya'll:

I"m a longtime lurker, and first-time poster to this incredible forum.

My first video rental was from Clark's Video in Keller, right before the railroad tracks on Golden Triangle Blvd. We also rented alot from Diamond Food Store in Keller, as well as from Kwik Kountry in Haslet. (Remember when gas stations and grocery stores had video sections?) Later we were fans of Video Update in Fort Worth, as well as the local libraries.

Now, we also do Netflix...and still do the libraries!

#39 waywr

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 12:18 PM

First post. Just last night found this site, and I'm thrilled. Brings back a lot of memories of my days growing up in Fort Worth.
My first video rental occurred at Take It Home Video on Berry Street in late 83/early 84.
I'd just purchased my first VHS machine, from a store in Ridgemar Mall if memory serves.
It was a top loader, the tray rose up from the top of the machine. It had two components. One was to be used when using a video camera.
Never got around to buying a video camera, but had the machine until 1990 when it finally gave out.
It had a hand-held remote, and a second remote, which connected to the machine through a cord about 20 feet long.
I tried in vain to get my parents to buy a VHS a year or so before. Instead they bought something else. We'd been to visit my aunt and uncle in California in 1982.
They had a sort of laser disc player. Except it wasn't like the laser disc players that used to be around, the ones where the movie looked like an album-sized CD.
These were plastic discs in a plastic sleeve. You had to slide the whole plastic sleeve into the player. When you pulled it out, it left the disc inside to play. After you watched the movie, you slid the sleeve in again and it pulled the movie disc out.
I told my parents that system wasn't very good because you couldn't record shows, and there weren't many discs available. I only remember a couple of places in Fort Worth that sold those discs, and none that rented them. (Even video rental places were fairly new at the time. Blockbuster wasn't around yet, most were mom and pop shops, or places that sold TVs and stereos, all better than Blockbuster in my opinion).
Anyway, we had that system for a year or so. Had Gone With The Wind, Ordinary People, Animal House, Some Like It Hot and a few others.
When I bought the VHS, I went to Take It Home and signed up. Rented A Hard Day's Night and Bonnie & Clyde.
Funny, my parents wouldn't touch the Video player for several months, afraid they'd break it or something. No turning back once they did figure it out though.
I went on to work for Take It Home for 2-3 years in the late 80s. Berry Street was the first store, opened in 1983 I beleive, but they had eight or so stores eventually. The Landman family sold the stores later. They eventually went out of business in the mid to late 90s.
Someone mentioned video stores on Camp Bowie.
There was Century Bookstore and Video in the group of buildings that hold Harper's Bluebonnet Bakery.
Take It Home, in 1987, opened a location across the street from Kincaid's Grocery Store.
There was another, can't remember the name, on the old brick park of Camp Bowie between the Take It Home and Century locations.
I no longer worked for Take It Home by that time, but a few of the people that I still knew did. When Take It Home sold, it remained in its location for a while, then moved into the other video store, between it and century. I think the owner of that other video store bought Take It Home, but I'm not sure.
Anyway, when it moved, 94 or so, I don't think it was called Take It Home anymore. Either way, the second location store went out of business a year or so later.
The old Take It Home location became a medical supply store for a while. The building's still there, I think, but I'm not sure what, if anything, is in it.
The Camp Bowie Century store closed sometime in the 90s as well.
There was also a Blockbuster on Camp Bowie, farther down, close to where it turns into Hwy 80. That location closed and moved to the current location, across from Ridglea Theater, probably 10 or 15 years ago. Was also a Blockbuster way out on Hwy 80 by all the car dealerships. It closed a long time ago though.
Oh, there was a Century off Berry Street, by TCU, for years too. I remember going there when it was just a book store, in the days before video rentals.
Take It Home, on Berry, about 1988, moved to the old Sound Warehouse location across from Paschal HS (Remember the old Mr. Beef that used to be there?)
Sound Warehouse moved further up Berry to the strip center where, think it was, White's Auto and some office supply store, and the Back Porch were. That strip center since torn down to make way for a TCU parking lot.

#40 Funkdoobiest

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 01:26 AM

I was young, but I remember the first and really only video store in the North Side area was the Take It Home in River Oaks. It was in that shopping center next to White's Auto Parts Store, which was later Western Auto by Braum's. I remember we drove up and the line was out the door and down the porch/sidewalk area. So the video store we would go to was called Video Port in the Ridgmar area, by the Mervin's and Miller's Outpost at the time. My mom got to know the owner well enough that he would give us movie posters once he was done with them. So we had all the coolest 80s movie posters on our walls. Evil Dead 2, Friday the 13th part ?, Fright Night, among others.

I also recall the first kind of 24hr "Redbox"-type machine was in the mid-90s in Haltom City. It was right where the Haltom Theater is. There was the video store and the furniture store next door. Well in place of the furthermost window was the VHS vending machine. You picked your movie, put in your bills and it would drop a cassette. The choices were pretty limited as I'm sure it was because of the mass of the tape.

#41 waywr

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:51 AM

Trying to remember all the Take It Home locations. Even though I worked there for a while, I don't remember all of them.
I do recall they had locations on:
Berry St.
Camp Bowie
McCart
River Oaks
One out in the Denton Hwy or NRH area.
The last one they opened was, I think, somewhere out near Arlington it seems.
I think there were one or two other locations, but can't remember for sure.
The home office, for Take It Home and Landman Lighting, was on Montgomery Street in a building near the Vending Nut Company. That buildings later became the office of Texas Quarterhorse magazine. I guess it still is.
Probably more information than anyone here is interested in, but there it is.
I do recall that 7-11's and a lot of other stores, grocery stores and Two Bucks and such, got into the video rental business for a time, back in the early 80s.

#42 SWRebel

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 09:00 AM

The Take it Home on Berry had a little room set aside for Adult entertainment.
I also recall a computer failure that resulted in movies that were no-charge ..........and in my ownership of several VHS tapes.

"To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, ‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, & the fruits acquired by it.'"

#43 Mark S

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:53 AM

I also rented at that Take it Home. Isn't that where you took a card or slip of paper up to the counter and they'd get your movie from the back? I also remember that adult area, tucked into the corner right next to, almost behind, the counter. That had the unfortunate result (so I'm told rolleyes.gif) of making you look like a perv to anyone checking out a movie.

QUOTE (SWRebel @ Jan 4 2010, 09:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Take it Home on Berry had a little room set aside for Adult entertainment.
I also recall a computer failure that resulted in movies that were no-charge ..........and in my ownership of several VHS tapes.



#44 Giraffe

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 09:07 PM

I was browsing in a thrift shop in Arlington last week and stumbled upon about a dozen movies on CED. These resembled old Laser Discs in a limited way; instead of being read by a laser, these were essentially LPs and the video and audio were literally read by a needle stylus. You could not record on these, and eventually discs would wear out. RCA came up with this system in the 1970s and there are still a few collectors out there.

I did not buy these CED movies, but I wrote down the titles so I could notify a friend of mine in Austin who collects them. He said thanks anyway, but he already had those movies in more modern formats. He did tell me something interesting, though. He said that when the CED format was sliding downhill, RCA tried to "sweeten the pot" by releasing some concerts/live performances only onto CED by artists who were on the RCA record label at the time. That apparently only prolonged the inevitable, but said concert films (I don't have any specific examples) are apparently avidly sought by collectors, as they are not available on any other video format. (Yet...?)

I double-checked eBay anyway, and all the titles I saw at the thrift shop are worth only about a couple of bucks each -- which is what the store was selling them for. smile.gif




#45 Mark S

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 09:38 AM

Holy cow, the video quality must have been terrible! I don't remember hearing of CED before... I'll have to keep my eyes open at the flea market. I'd sure like to see what the movies and players looked like... did they resemble a record player?

QUOTE (Giraffe @ Apr 3 2010, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was browsing in a thrift shop in Arlington last week and stumbled upon about a dozen movies on CED. These resembled old Laser Discs in a limited way; instead of being read by a laser, these were essentially LPs and the video and audio were literally read by a needle stylus. You could not record on these, and eventually discs would wear out. RCA came up with this system in the 1970s and there are still a few collectors out there.

I did not buy these CED movies, but I wrote down the titles so I could notify a friend of mine in Austin who collects them. He said thanks anyway, but he already had those movies in more modern formats. He did tell me something interesting, though. He said that when the CED format was sliding downhill, RCA tried to "sweeten the pot" by releasing some concerts/live performances only onto CED by artists who were on the RCA record label at the time. That apparently only prolonged the inevitable, but said concert films (I don't have any specific examples) are apparently avidly sought by collectors, as they are not available on any other video format. (Yet...?)

I double-checked eBay anyway, and all the titles I saw at the thrift shop are worth only about a couple of bucks each -- which is what the store was selling them for. smile.gif






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