Archive for January, 2011


Digital Killed the Video Star

Laurence Harvey (in blond hair and moustache) and Lee Remick in The Running Man

So, I have a dirty little secret: I still use a VCR to record and view VHS tapes. In fact, my mother and I are probably the only people on Earth who know how to successfully program a VCR timer in under a minute.

What’s the deal? Don’t get me wrong – I have a DVD player. But I have a collection of about 150 movies spread out over 50 tapes, mostly recorded from Turner Classic Movies. This leads to some really weird combinations. For example, on one tape, I have The Running Man (1963) a Carol Reed-directed thriller about insurance fraud, starring Laurence Harvey, Lee Remick, and Alan Bates; Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning ode to Diane Keaton, Annie Hall (1977); and Moonstruck (1987), the movie for which Cher accepted her Best Actress Oscar looking more underdressed than usual (depending on which meaning you give to “underdressed,” I suppose). On these tapes, I also have lots of Hitchcock, silents, and foreign classics.

The day will come when I’ll have to give up this antiquated set-up because VCRs and VHS tapes will no longer be made. However, buying replacement DVDs for all of these movies on tape would be expensive. And some of the movies are not available on DVD.

What to do? Suggestions welcome.