Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

One of Today's Purged Objects

It's 1981. I'm working as a manager at a record store. RECORDS. Our store also has a video rental club. We have about 200 movies in our selection. They are kept under lock and key in a glass-front display case. There are round openings in the glass, large enough to put your hand in to turn over a video to read the back cover, but too small to pull the movie out and steal it.

When people decide on a video to rent, one of us goes back there with our little silver key to retrieve it.

Home video is new and fresh and freakishly exciting. You can watch a movie of your choice whenever you want. In your house. My God. You can even pause it to go pee.

There are many discounts available to those of us who work in the store. Promotional records, big employee discounts on brand new videotapes. Discounts on excitement.

It is time to make a commitment. I will buy some movies. And, oh! Some concert videos! Duran Duran, The Tubes, Def Leppard. I will have my own utopian society in my apartment. But first, the big decision.

Beta or VHS?

I research. I watch both formats. One is obviously superior to the other. I decide. I start collecting movies. They are expensive. It doesn't matter. They're glorious, luxurious videotapes of many of my favorites. Blazing Saddles, Time Bandits, The Go-Go's in Concert (shut up), Annie Hall, everything Monty Python I can find. I buy them all.

In Beta.

5 years later, Betamax goes the way of the Edsel.

And even after the evil VHS is made obsolete by the DVD, I carry those Beta videos around in boxes every time I move. Way into the future. All the way to Phoenix.
And I become aware of the extent of my ass-hattedness.


  • At 1:29 AM, Blogger Steve B said…

    It's only mental if you don't actually HAVE a Beta player anymore.

    In which case, yeah, you're looney toons.

  • At 6:31 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I kept buying used Betamaxes off and on, and watching them die.

    Then I only kept the Beta tapes that aren't out on any other format, so I could try to get them transferred. (One of those things I never get around to.) This one sneaked through. It was purged.

    My looneytoon syndrome, however...still with us.

  • At 7:11 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Oh, p.s....I didn't get rid of ANY until just before I moved here. I finally saw the futility.

    Beta was not going to make a comeback.

  • At 7:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You don't have a big box of 8-tracks, do you?

    If it makes you feel any better, we have several large Rubbermaid tubs full of VHS tapes. We haven't watched them in years, but they kept moving with us. I cringe when I think about how much money I spent on those movies.

  • At 8:44 AM, Blogger Domhan said…


    There. I said it. I feel better now.

    And it's true. I do have a Beta player in my storage unit. It still works, but I haven't hooked it up to a TV in years. I have darn few commercial Beta tapes, but I have quite a few "taped" tapes. Sig Oth's aunt owned this machine, and we still have her old tapes. Written on some of them are things like "GenHosp.Wedding" and "11:00 news. Plane crash."

    Oh steve b and others, please do not shun me because I own a Beta player! Yes, I am a little looney, but I truly dig old things that still operate. (You should see the 1948 toaster that I use every weekend!) I am also the steward of my grandmother's working early 1900s Brunswick phonograph that has one speed: 78rpm...and slower (as the crank unwinds).

  • At 10:00 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Futuresis, I've been cringing a lot lately over how much money I've spent on stuff I've never, ever used. Especially books and clothes. I kept daydreaming of closing my eyes and having the stuff disappear and be replaced by the pile of cash that I blew on it.

  • At 10:02 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Domhan! How did I not know you had a BETA!?

    Yes. The shows *I* recorded are the precious ones. I used to watch "Night Flight" on the USA Network, and all kindza stuff I'd like to have access to again. There's a guy here in town who transfers Betas to DVDs so I might try that. If the tapes aren't so disintegrated that they're useless.

    Carrying the pre-recorded tapes around, the ones you can get on DVD, is mostly just an issue of hurt pride.

  • At 10:16 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    But seriously, I do love 8-track tapes. The first one my very cool older brother owned: Soundtrack from Man of La Mancha.

    Ahhh. Now THAT was music.

  • At 11:25 AM, Blogger Norma said…

    I have all my Disney movies in Beta. Plus a Wham! collection of videos. My family graciously gave them all back to me when I moved out to become an adult. But they kept the Beta machine. TEAR.

  • At 11:31 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Oh my God, Norma. It TOTALLY makes my day to know that you have WHAM on Beta. I'm absolutely stunned. And somehow affirmed in my own life.

  • At 1:18 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    Wow, dare I admit that my first view of any kind of porn was one of my dad's commercial beta tapes. when I asked him what it was he said that it was one of the tapes that came with the player... Ehem, you know, like those creepy people in the photos frames at the store. YEAH, RIGHT, Dad. Way to go. Yep, it was "Orgimania" or something like that. What a way to shatter an impressionable 15 year old's mind. NOT plain old porn, but the WAY-out-there, high-class advanced shit. Ooof. There. That's MY memory of betas. I can't stop laughing now.... = ]

  • At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What's interesting is that while VHS won the consumer video war over Beta,
    Beta became a standard in the professional video world. Even today while the world of professional broadcasting is being taken over by digital formats, the Beta is still used regularly to record commercials and send them to TV stations across the US.
    Which makes all of you with those Beta tapes and players far advanced over VHS users. You might even say you are a professional Looney!

  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Don't touch it! It's PURE EVIL!

    Heh. I love that movie, whatever format it's in. Can't go wrong with John Gielgud as the Supreme Being. And midgets.

    Speaking of 8 tracks, my dad was thoroughly convinced they were the Wave of the Future. And my husband still has a laserdisc player. Chagrined. And he hasn't dumped it yet, either. He's one of those sorts that feels something should retain the same value one originally paid for it (even fourteen years later)...

  • At 4:31 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Orgimania??? Is that like combo of sex and origami? Do they, like, fold themselves up into odd shapes?

    Oh. I'll bet they do.

  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    So THERE. Oneavid is a professional guy and he knows what's what. And my betas are SUPERIOR.


  • At 4:34 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Mel, I love, LOVE laserdiscs. I never had a player, but I had a couple of "defective" discs that people brought back to our store. Because they were so pretty.

    And if you were experiencing any sort of altered state, you could look at them and think they were giant CDs and laugh really hard.

    I wanted to get a hundred of them and suspend them from the ceiling. But they were a little pricey for that.
    Your husband is right. You should be able to take that Laserdisc player and cash it in for its original value. It only seems fair.

  • At 4:44 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Pshaw. The man's head might explode if I said he was right...

  • At 4:49 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Dang. Don't be blowin his head up into pieces just for a laserdisc player.


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