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The birth of the hobby


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#1 of 41 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted February 18 2014 - 08:40 AM

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I know many people here only started with this hobby when shows started to be released on DVD. But there are a few of us who go back further than that. In 1976, the first collectors' publication started when Betamax first came out. I found this article in an early issue and I have to tell you, the guy really got it right and had great vision.

I tried to paste it here but that didn't work, so here's the link:

 

http://www.betainfog.../tvnpage3.6.htm

 

Basically, what he said was the networks and studios can't be relied upon to save shows. To them, its just product, which either does or doesn't have a commercial value and if it doesn't there is no reason to expect them to retain it or even if they do, to ever make it available again to the public. So, if the public, i.e. us, wanted to make sure that shows would still exist in private hands, it was up to the collectors to save them.

 

Private collecting didn't start in 1976 with Betamax. There were people taping on 3/4 Umatic and 1/2 inch reel to reel since the late 60s. Not to mention film collectors. Betamax just made it more mainstream.

 

 

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#2 of 41 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted February 18 2014 - 09:29 AM

And "Jeopardy" and "Celebrity Sweepstakes" alas will never be among us again.

 

Good article that also hits on how we did indeed first view VCRs as a way to experience the thrill of owning our own copy of a movie and not being dependent on what the TV schedule would say when we could watch it.     Even though I didn't get a machine until 1985, I was part of that mindset.


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#3 of 41 OFFLINE   Scott511

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Posted February 18 2014 - 10:18 AM

Great article!

 

I started recording in 1981, and except for a dozen or so films, television was all I ever recorded.

 

Up until ads in the back of various video magazines placed by tape traders, I only ran into people who recorded movies. Those people never understood why I wanted to record TV series to keep.

 

Except for a couple of series, I stopped around the mid-90s. The landscape of TV was changing and I was becoming less interested.

 

There's so many series, unsold pilots, etc that I would like to see released today. I have many in my collection, but the more you watch the tape, the more hoary they get. So it would be nice to have clean copies again.



#4 of 41 OFFLINE   Vahan_Nisanain

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Posted February 18 2014 - 10:50 AM

Neil, in all your years of recording TV shows, have you ever used professional formats to do so? It appears D-5 (introduced in 1993) is by far the best to use. Before, it used to be U-Matic.

 

How exactly would you record TV shows many years ago? Would you record one episode per tape, like in most master tapes of shows?



#5 of 41 OFFLINE   Cinescott

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Posted February 18 2014 - 11:01 AM

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I purchased my first VCR in 1982 and distinctly remember feeling like a criminal, since the Sony Betamax Supreme Court Case (Sony vs. Universal) wouldn't be decided until January 1984. Until then, the Hollywood machine made it very clear they felt that any video recording was copyright infringement.

 

Videotaped films in the early 80s were still under a rental model, since purchasing tapes at retail could cost you $80 or moreA few years later, that changed and pricing dropped. Around then is when I started collecting films and I've been going ever since.

 

Today, it's a veritable candy store. Thousands of films available on Blu-ray and DVD, DVRs, High Definition video, High Fidelity HD Audio, etc. You younguns don't realize how good you have it. 


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#6 of 41 OFFLINE   Vic Pardo

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Posted February 18 2014 - 01:52 PM

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who recalls the talk shows that would routinely get interesting people of their eras on, whether Dick Cavett, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Irv Kupcinet, David Susskind or any number you can name. Fortunately, Cavett preserved so many of his shows and has made them available, but how many of the other great episodes of the other shows survived? I remember director Robert Aldrich making a rare TV appearance (the only one I ever saw) on Merv Griffin to promote THE LONGEST YARD with his star, Burt Reynolds. How great an extra that would have made on the LONGEST YARD DVD. Or when Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood went on Kup's Show to promote DIRTY HARRY and Kup brought out San Francisco mayor Joseph Alioto to comment on the film. Again, that would have been a great DVD extra also. Or David Susskind sitting with a bunch of South Bronx street gang members. Or Evelyn Keyes promoting her book, "Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister" on Mike Douglas, with Truman Capote along for the ride. I'm sure many of you can think of many other examples of memorable guest lineups on shows that came on before the VCR era. All things that should have been preserved. 



#7 of 41 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted February 18 2014 - 02:03 PM

My first VCR was a Zenith Beta machine which I bought for $298, which was a bargain because I remember seeing a VHS machine selling for more than $700 a couple of year earlier. The bad news was that an L-750 blank Beta tape was going for about $8. I remember my excitement when I confirmed that I could actually tape a movie from HBO. In those days I was more interested in recording movies myself than buying pre-recorded stuff, so I upgraded to Sony HI-Fi and then to Sony Super Beta. In fact, I still have my Super Beta deck. I also have a Panasonic S-VHS deck.


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#8 of 41 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted February 18 2014 - 08:38 PM

I got my first VCR in 1984 and I remember the first things I started recording were It's Your Move on NBC and full days programming from MTV. I wish I had recorded much more during that time, although I am pleased I made the decision to not cut out the commercials. As an aside, for 30 year old tapes, they have held up pretty well.



#9 of 41 OFFLINE   jcroy

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Posted February 19 2014 - 12:27 AM

full days programming from MTV

 

...

 

As an aside, for 30 year old tapes, they have held up pretty well.

 

Back in the day, I use to record a lot of music stuff too.  Mostly a lot of godawful heavy metal song videos.

 

Very little of it held up over the last 25+ years.  (Such as old Motley Crue and Ratt videos).

 

 

The only tv show I bothered recording was Star Trek.  In the end, I hardly ever watched these taped copies.  Over the years, I ended up mostly watching the broadcasted reruns instead.



#10 of 41 OFFLINE   jcroy

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Posted February 19 2014 - 02:18 AM

Before the dvd era, I was largely ignorant of the tv on vhs and laserdisc market.

 

I only ever heard of Star Trek episodes and some episodes of X-Files being released on vhs and laserdisc, largely through a friend.  Back in the 1990's, I had a friend who was hardcore into laserdiscs who was always talking about X-Files.

 

The only "tv on vhs" tapes I ever bothered buying, were several "Beavis and Butthead" and "Daria" compilations.  They were usually in the music or cartoons videotape section at various record stores.  I don't think I ever saw any other "tv on vhs" tapes at such record stores.  (Or I wasn't looking hard enough).



#11 of 41 OFFLINE   Scott511

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Posted February 19 2014 - 02:52 AM

My first VCR was a Zenith Beta machine which I bought for $298, which was a bargain because I remember seeing a VHS machine selling for more than $700 a couple of year earlier. The bad news was that an L-750 blank Beta tape was going for about $8. I remember my excitement when I confirmed that I could actually tape a movie from HBO. In those days I was more interested in recording movies myself than buying pre-recorded stuff, so I upgraded to Sony HI-Fi and then to Sony Super Beta. In fact, I still have my Super Beta deck. I also have a Panasonic S-VHS deck.

 

Our first one was a top loading Beta deck in 1981 it was a whopping $1500 bucks, and blank Beta L-830 tapes were $24.95 each. Needless to say I was cutting commercials as I was recording to cram as much as I could on one tape.

 

By fall of 1984 I had wore that machine out, and switched to a Panasonic VHS deck. VHS tape was easy to come by in the little town I lived in, and by then the prices had dropped on blank tape overall.

 

Many of my tapes from those days still look and play great. However those I watched over and over more than the others have started to show their age.



#12 of 41 OFFLINE   jcroy

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Posted February 19 2014 - 03:23 AM

(On a huge tangent).

 

Back in the day, the thing that completely turned me off from collecting videotapes of any kind (whether tv shows or movies, taped or prerecorded), was when prerecorded VHS movies were starting to be encoded with "macrovision" protection.  (I was completely ignorant of laserdiscs in those days).

 

http://en.wikipedia....ovision#History

http://articles.phil...try-cotton-club

http://www.nytimes.c...il-pirates.html

 

At the time, this very much killed off any and all interest I had, before I ever purchased a single prerecorded vhs tape.  (Shortly thereafter, I started to buy a lot of audio cds, which I thought was a more "worthy" product to buy than macrovision crippled VHS tapes).

 

 

In an alternate universe where macrovision and other analog vhs tape protections never existed at the time (circa mid 1980's), I might have went gung-ho into collecting VHS movies and tv shows.  (In this universe, I only started going "gung-ho" into buying a lot of movies and tv shows in 2011).



#13 of 41 OFFLINE   Mr. Handley

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Posted February 19 2014 - 05:26 AM

The only current shows I taped on a regular basis were Twin Peaks and Saturday Night Live.  I also taped a complete run of All In The Family (the syndicated versions) and also a few random reruns of SCTV.  I saw the VHS collection of Dark Shadows and damn near bought it, but just then TV on DVD started becoming available.  The first TV show I bought on DVD was The Twilight Zone, but it was a pain in the ass to find all the individual volumes in the stores, although I eventually did find them all.  I still marvel at how many shows have actually been released over the years, while also wanting still more to see the light of day.


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#14 of 41 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted February 19 2014 - 07:56 AM

Here's the second page of the article:

 

Videophile Page2.jpg


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#15 of 41 OFFLINE   Jeff Job

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Posted February 19 2014 - 10:45 AM

Our family did not get a VHS deck until 1984, but I did faithfully record one show - "The Twilight Zone" -and got half of the series before they were chopped up to include more commercial time. I would also "live-edit" them to remove commercials, so that I would have only the episode and the commercial bumpers. The only problem is that they would be on at 2:30 AM Sunday morning. I got a lot more sleep on the weekends once I bought a second deck a few years later.

 

I looked at those tapes a while back, and considering they are 30 years old, still looked pretty good.



#16 of 41 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted February 19 2014 - 11:22 AM

My family got a VHS VCR in December 1984, when I was 20 months old, so I have no memory of a time when we didn't have the ability to record things off TV. The earliest home recording we still have was from The Disney Channel a year later, and most of the stuff that were movies and cartoons from about a year later. Unfortunately, most of it was recorded in SLP speed. We taped movies and shows occasionally, and we did buy some movies from the stores. Whenever they taped stuff off network TV, they almost never left commercials in, so we ended up with a bunch of CBS broadcasts of Charlie Brown and Garfield specials with small snippets of the beginnings of scenes missing and the end credits cut off at the very end (as well as network broadcasts of movies like The Sound of Music, Annie, and The Wizard of Oz that were also sans commercials, and the broadcasts of the latter two films are long since taped over after we purchased the uncut versions and had no more use for the "edited for television" cuts), but occasionally they forgot to press pause during the breaks. By the time I started recording stuff myself, I left the commercials in.

 

I never recorded TV shows regularly, just individual episodes, like the last episode of Family Ties. By the end of the decade, we did buy some TV on VHS during that era, mostly the Disney Afternoon shows, but Mom bought some of her favorite Star Trek: TOS episodes on tape. The Simpsons was the first show I taped faithfully, and I have every episode up until about 2005 when I decided "that's all I can stands, I can't stands no more." By that time, I was recording it on DVD-R. I did manage to get most of Bob Barker's final season on The Price is Right in that format. During the 1990s, I accumulated large chunks of 1970s and 1980s sitcoms in their syndicated versions. My Mom actually asked me to stop taping so many shows. By 1993, we upgraded to a Hi-Fi stereo VCR.

In my search for uncut TV episodes, I actually bought a Betamax player in the late 1990s and stacks of tapes. I managed to find huge chunks of Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere, several movies of the week, small handfuls of soaps and network broadcasts of 1980s sitcoms and dramas. The VHS tapes held up, but the Betas looked better and held up better. The only thing I hated about Betamax was the fact that the players would often change speeds, and it, too, had tracking to deal with. With a minority of tapes, you had to turn a button to hit the "sweet spot," where tracking-related issues were at a minimum.


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then.


#17 of 41 OFFLINE   JoeDoakes

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Posted February 19 2014 - 11:44 AM

I'm still waiting on a DVD release of Far Out Space Nuts.  If only I had known.



#18 of 41 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted February 19 2014 - 11:54 AM

Back in the 70s, when I was a kid, I used to record the audio of shows I liked. Not really sure why - I guess I wanted to preserve them, since in those days, when it was gone, it was gone, unless it went into syndication. Had a handheld tape player that I used to stand up in the top drawer, so the mic was near the TV speaker. I have no idea whatever happened to those tapes.

 

I guess that was my first experience at archiving shows I liked. In the 80s, I'd use videotape, but they were so cumbersome, and a real pain to find one thing you wanted on them (especially in 6 hour mode). Very glad for the advent of TV-on-DVD (and blu-ray). 



#19 of 41 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted February 19 2014 - 12:16 PM

I got my Beta in 1982, and used it to tape episodes of Dark Shadows off a local PBS station, as well as General Hospital.  I switched to VHS in 1987, and now I have all of DS on DVD with the feature films in Blu-ray.  I wonder if there are private collectors who have off-air soap episodes from roughly 1975-78 on Beta.  Most of the soaps only began to archive color episodes in 1978- first the ABC-owned shows, followed by the Procter & Gamble shows a year later.  The exceptions being shows owned by independent companies or a major studio, like:

 

Dark Shadows

Ryan's Hope

Days of our Lives

The Young and the Restless
The Doctors.

 

There are several hours worth of General Hospital from 1976-78 on YouTube, obviously from a home video collection.  I wonder how many other home Beta tapes within the attics of America yet hold otherwise lost TV shows.....


Bring "The continuing story of PEYTON PLACE" home on DVD: the one that started it all- from Dallas and Dynasty to Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl!!! Starting this May, see the legendary saga starring Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, and Oscar-winner Dorothy Malone on DVD thru...

#20 of 41 OFFLINE   Hollywoodaholic

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Posted February 19 2014 - 01:50 PM

I'm so old I first started recording shows on Super 8. Since a Super 8 was only about 3-5 minutes, I would actually single frame shoot through original Star Trek episodes recording a few frames from each scene, and then I could review the frames as stills on a magnifying viewfinder for editing Super 8. No sound, of course. I also recorded 50 favorite TV themes on a 1 1/2 IPS tape recorder.

 

Then I got a life (as Shatner would say). College. Work. L.A. Travel. Girlfriends. Marriage. A kid.

 

Cut to 30 years later and I finally started collecting again when DVDs came out around 1996. I never collected VHS because it was just a shit medium. Awkward. No ability to cue up anything. Lousy freeze frame. Pain in the ass to rewind. Just didn't bother. And Laser Discs... just too expensive. There was a great store on Pico in L.A. where I lusted after the Laser Discs, but $100 a pop was just too much to justify for me even though I was in the film business and could write the suckers off. Plus, again, I was too busy.

DVDs were the perfect medium to finally settle down to, and I maintain a collection of about 500 Blu-rays or DVDs, but it's always evolving, trading in, shaving, adding, winnowing away. I just want something manageable and not collecting dust that I could actually transport, if needed. Plus, that I will reasonably watch again.

 

There was a time I could fit everything I truly wanted in my '69 Firebird: My television, stereo system, my albums, some books and some jeans. I've loved collecting DVDs, but I could let them go tomorrow because they're only just passing through us anyway.

 

But until then, just scored the Target exclusive of Game of Thrones season 3 BD. It's going on the shelf. Sweet.

 






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