June 7th is NATIONAL VCR DAY, Tapeheads! Read Our Earliest VCR Memory in Celebration!
Here in Lunchmeat Land, it is our express intention to encourage everyone to exercise the power of Videocassette Recorders on a daily basis. So imagine our delight when June 7th comes around, the day that someone out there has officially deemed in total celebration as National VCR Day! Certainly, we can dig it, but where does National VCR Day come from? A good question, and one that doesn’t seem to have an exact answer. According to NationalDayCalendar.com, the creator and origin of National VCR day is unclear, very similar to May 22nd’s National Vanilla Pudding Day. Go figure. Though the origin of VCR Day is uncertain, the aim is clear: to champion the amazing machine that helped launch the dawn of convenient in-home entertainment.
Feed that VCR every day, Tapeheads. You know it's hungry.
In honor of this most crucial and integral instrument of home movie watching and recording, it seems only appropriate to offer up an easily digested and abridged history of the VCR, but honestly, you can take in a much more complete set of information in a neat and chronological fashion simply by clicking here. Go ahead, Tapeheads. It’s essential stuff. No, my fellow Videovores, for this most excellent home video holiday, I’ve decided to relate a personal story of appreciation and coming-of-age that involves the first glimpse of a VCR I can clearly remember. I’ve chosen to go with the word of Ginsberg here and subscribe to the “first thought, best thought” frame of mind, for better or worse. The earliest and most distinct memory of my first VCR isn’t what you’d probably expect.
Surely, I had fed that magnificent machine my copies of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Little Giants and my trusty 6-Hour Cartoon tape countless times, but I can’t rightly recall any of those particular moments, though I know that they did indeed happen nearly every day. In reality, the most significant memory of my VCR was part of my first adolescent all-nighter with my best bud Billy Goldsboro. I must have been about 8 years old. I feel like it was the summer time because the daylight didn’t fade until late. I can remember stuffing the VCR with tapes and lying next to Bill on that brown living room carpet prone, feet kicking, elbows down, chin resting in my upturned palms. You know, how most kids do. I remember the nighttime slowly creeping into the living room snuffing out the traces of the gloaming, leaving only the soft glow of the television. Eventually, Billy and I were left alone in the living room, my parents off to bed (or maybe just asleep on the couch), left to our own devices, but all we really wanted to do was watch tapes, eat chips and sip juice boxes.
And that we did. It started to get late and we knew we should have been in bed. Now when I say late, I mean like 10:00PM. For an 8-year old, that’s pretty late. At least, it was for us. Then, it struck us: we should be total badasses and stay up until Midnight. Yeah! Let’s stay up until Midnight! It was the best idea we'd ever had. But we couldn’t play a movie because if my parents woke up and found us still out in the living room… who knows what sort of trouble we might get into. That was the rationale of two 8-year-olds, anyway, or at least how I remember it. So we sat there surreptitiously in front of a blank black screen, with only the faint glow of the VCR’s clock to keep us from passing out. We sat there eyes tired and squinting and watched and waited. And you know what? We made it. We made it to midnight, and we were badass. That blue LCD screen, with those numbers ticking to 12:00 is something I’ll never forget. Ultimately, if it wasn’t for that trusty VCR’s time display (and my parent’s badassery in actually setting the VCR clock!), that moment of adolescent staying-up-way-too-late-for-your-age victory may have never come. And for this reason, I celebrate the VCR: a sleep-defeating timekeeper, in many more ways than one.
Share your earliest, craziest or most significant VCR story below, Tapeheads. We all got one, and that’s for VHSure.