The nostalgia for VHS

Tonight, my wife and I watched one of our movies from our collection, which we haven’t watched in a long time.  The movie was “Angels In The Outfield” and it was a real pleasure to watch it again, after all this time.  Best of all, we watched it on VHS and that always brings us a lot of pleasure on its own, for the nostalgia we have for this video format.

Unless you’re a child of the 60’s or 70’s, you may not have much reverence for watching movies on VHS.  But, for us, there’s something very special about those little black boxes of Mylar ribbon, and the sounds of the mechanics inside the VCR as it unwinds the tape, preparing to entertain us.

It just makes that connection to those simpler days, when you would go down to the video store on a Friday to pick out the movies you’d be watching over the weekend.  When you’d sit down with the family or friends, with your bag of potato chips and can of soda, and watch a movie together.  Back then, we all didn’t have our own T.V. to watch (or portable video device), like today.  A household would typically have one, or maybe two T.V.s if you were lucky.  So, usually, if you wanted to watch a movie, you had company of some sort watching with you.  It was a family sort of affair.

Typically, most commercial VHS movies had previews of some sort on the first five minutes of the tape.  So, most of the time you had to “fast forward” past all of this to get to the movie.  But, when watching with a group, watching the previews was a good warm-up, which allowed everyone to get their drinks and snacks, get settled in on the couch and ready to watch the movie.  Even though you were at home, it was sort of like an “event”.  Or, at the very least, it was all part of the “tradition”.

Once the movie was over, the other part of the tradition was to hit the “rewind” button on the VCR to rewind the video tape back to the beginning, ready for the next time you want to watch the movie.  If you were a real “videophile”, you probably had a VHS tape rewinding device, which you used to rewind the tape, saving some wear and tear on your VCR.

And for me, this kind of ritual/tradition in movie watching is very much lacking in today’s world of modern conveniences.  Everything is so “instant”, there’s just not much appreciation that goes into an event, like watching a movie at home.  And, I think that we’ve lost something because of it.

It’s a very similar sort of thing that I appreciate when watching our collection of LaserDiscs, as well.  When I have to get up and “flip the disc” to side B, it’s sort of like having to change a reel on a film projector.  It’s just that extra bit of “ritual” that makes you appreciate what you’re doing and taking part in.

We really enjoy watching our collection of movies on VHS and LaserDisc and we’ll continue to do so for as long as I can keep our VCR and LD player in proper working condition.  These are items from our past that help us appreciate the simpler things in life, which adds so much enjoyment to our home entertainment experience.

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