Sunday, 5 September 2010

Things that keep me awake



It's 1:55 am, and I'm wondering why, in the early days of video, it was thought necessary to disguise one's VHS tapes as leather bound books?

The faux novel storage cases were available in normal outlets like Woolworths and Timothy Whites, so they couldn't have just been for hiding porno, surely?

I couldn't find a picture of one of the boxes, but I did find this rather nice Philips top loader VHS Recorder with an analogue clock, just the thing for watching that uncut version of 'The Burning' your Dad rented you from the petrol station.

4 comments:

King Modulator said...

perhaps to hide all those post-video nasty pirates from the kiddies? Zombie Flesh-Eaters looks so much more respectable tarted up to look like a Reader's Digest classic novel...

glad you mentioned the petrol station connection - my Dad would often stop to fill up after picking us up from school & leave me to wander round the sinister shelves of the newly-installed video shop in the garage.

and there they were - The Manitou, The Redeemer, My Bloody Valentine, Faces of Death, Driller Killer, Shatner versus the spiders, Burt Reynolds versus a tiger shark. and, of course, various cannibal shenanigans.

I liked the covers the best - they were often nothing more than primitive cut & pastes or crude painted renderings of each film's most grisly scenes. the six-year old me thought they were funny!

and, in the background, insinuating itself into mind and memory, the sweet heady aroma of traditional leaded petrol...

lovely!

Unmann-Wittering said...

Yes, but if you remember the plastic cases were for home recorded videos - films used to cost about £70 or something stupid like that.

We rented all our videos from a garage - pre-cert - my Mum & Dad just used to get me and my brothers what we wanted as long as there wasn't any nudity on the cover :D We saw some pretty horrible films as I recall!

King Modulator said...

might be something to with the old adage that "piracy funds terrorism" but there were certainly a lot of knock-off VHS nasties lurking inside those faux-leather "tomes" when I was a lad in rural Northern Ireland...

however, it did mean that when I was a little bit older there was a wide selection of lovingly preserved and tastefully presented "classics" hidden on the shelves & sideboards of various friends & acquaintances.

in your face tabloid scaremongers!

GCGM said...

Now that beast in the picture is a VCR machine. These were the very earliest (I think) home video recorders on the market, before Betamax. Massive square brick-like cassettes with two spools sat one atop the other, rather than the conventional side-by-side arrangement. The tapes come up from time to time on ebay, but machines to play them on are as rare as the proverbial rocking horse shite.

We too had the plastic tape cases, and it made the whole family appear very learned and academic at all the dinner parties we hosted. I even used to carry them under my arm occasionally around town.