I was born in 1977 and grew up in the ’80s, so VHS is a deeply ingrained part of my history. My family lived in a tiny Texas border town where the sole amusements were a swimming pool (I can’t swim) and a little video store (with a pool table). Every weekend, we would go into the video store and rent somewhere between 10-20 movies. My father would then spend the entire weekend making copies of the films for our personal library. We had several VCRS and used to buy blank VHS tapes in bulk to dub: by the time I was in my late teens, we must have had at least 10,000 movies…maybe more.
Before the VCR, we had a video-disc player. I remember this fondly because it was the first time I ever saw The Godfather. Video-discs were like cassette tapes, for films, and had to be flipped over midway through the movie. Since The Godfather was so long, it had two discs: I’ll never forget anticipating the moment when the disc would need to be turned over.
Watching films has always been a physical, powerful presence in my life. To this day, I look back on the bygone years of VHS with no small amount of fondness. There was just something about all of those anonymous little tapes, in their anonymous little boxes, stacked tight in row after row of bookshelves, that was beyond special to me. I miss video stores.
Over the years, I’ve continued the cinematic education that I began so long ago in that tiny little video store in Texas. That little store began my lifelong love of film, as well as my lifelong love of shooting pool with strangers. The VHS Graveyard is dedicated to that store and the hundreds just like, all around the world.
Time may have moved on but the spirit of VHS will live forever.