Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Casualties of Modern Technology- The VHS Tape (Entry 2 of 12)

Sorry for the six day layover at the airport in Atlanta (well, it would take too long to explain why I was really gone for this long), but let's get back to bizness (deliberately spelled wrong for all you English teachers out there; in-joke) here with an entry dedicated to the VHS cassette tape or videotape, which have all but vanished from the face of the earth.

My friend Jason Garnett actually held a VHS Night at the Shadowbox Microcinema in Roanoke, Va., where the film "Rad" (1986) with former Olympic gymnast Bart Conner- of all people- was screened. The film actually revolves around the world of BMX racing.

"Rad" was one of three feature films in the mid-80s to star men's gymnastics stars. The other two included "Gymkata" (1985) with Kurt Thomas and "American Anthem"
(1986) with Mitch Gaylord, a film that also featured a very gorgeous Janet Jones who later married hockey icon Wayne Gretzky.

Amazingly enough, no one in Hollywood thought of making such a film starring women's gymnastics darling Mary Lou Retton, but perhaps that was a good thing.

The videotape was first sampled in 1951 by Bing Crosby Productions, according to Wikipedia. Videotapes became widely available in the 1970s. Since VCRs were very expensive until the 1980s, there was little consumer demand for them. That all changed very quickly and cult films, like the South African wonder-hit "The Gods Must be Crazy" (1984), were more widely seen than the films were during their theatrical runs.

But, by the 1990s, dvds came and well the proverbial credits started to roll for the VHS tape.

SIDEBAR: We want to wish Parker Posey a happy 43rd birthday. No, we do not know her personally.

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