Daily Archives: December 30, 2011
I could always tell the caliber of people I was around by their VHS collection. Nevermind what movies they had, I’m talking about the actual tapes themselves. If their tapes had labels and the writing on those labels was printed up in a factory and accurately said what movie it was, then I was in wealthy company. I can tell you for a fact that not one movie in my house had a real label on it. 99.9% of our movies had a blank tape label with the name of the movie written in black magic marker.
I guess I should say movies (plural) because we never used the high quality SP recording speed. That was the one that only gave you two hours time, but the movie actually looked like something. No, we used the EP speed which gave you six hours and you could fit maybe three movies on there. Of course they looked like they were recorded with viewmaster and had all those lines going through it. Sometimes we had a good working VCR with a tracking button that could fix it. Other times, we just dealt with it. Besides, crappy picture was the least of our problems.
If your movies have handwritten labels then you only came across that movie one of three ways: Bootleg, copied from another tape or copied from TV. Every good ghetto person knows somebody who could get them a “good copy” of a movie that was still in the theater. Usually it was the dude in the barbershop, because they’d actually play the movies in the shop like it was Circuit City or something. There’d be some huge out of focus picture on the cover box, and the tape itself may or may not have a fake sticker, but the movie was somewhat clear. Ironic, this goes on today with DVDs.
Then there were the movies that people copied themselves. Sometimes people were balling like that and had two VCRs. They’d rent a movie, play it through one while recording it on the other. At first that would get you a real clear copy until Erol’s Video, Blockbuster and Hollywood caught on to that. Then all of a sudden you’d be sitting in someone’s house and the movie would go dark for a second, come back light, turn red…do a lot of weird stuff to deter you from copying their movies. Of course this didn’t work because these were the same people watching bootlegs with people walking in front of the camera and half the screen out of focus. The last thing we cared about was some distorted coloring.
Ironically, the most ghetto of all methods wasn’t the bootleg from the theater or the badly tinted Blockbuster rip off. The most ghetto was the one that crept up on you. You go over someone’s house and start watching a movie. You get about fifteen minutes into it and all of a sudden the bumper from the network comes up and you see a commercial.
CBS MOVIE OF THE WEEK: DIE HARD! Will be right back
Hold up, did you record this off REGULAR TV? That’s when you start laughing your ass off. I don’t know what’s funnier, the people who try to pause during the commercial break but just mistime it or the ones who don’t even care and just record straight through. My grandmother has just joined the 1990s and has a VCR now. She buys tapes from the flea market. In the middle of The Color Purple a commercial for Windows 95 came on. I’m still laughing over that one.