Video Era Oddities Unearthed: The Blockbuster Kidprint Identification Video! A VHS Safety Precaution with an Amusingly Awkward Echo!
Here it is, my fellow Videovores. An Official Kidprint tape from Blockbuster. There's gotta be a pin floating around with this Kidprint logo. There just has to be.Created around 1990 through a partnership between Blockbuster and The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the Kidprint Identification Video would essentially serve as a piece of evidence should your child be abducted or becoming missing, a problem which hit epidemic status in the early 90s.
The back cover for the Blockbuster Kidprint Video. Trust your feelings, Tapeheads! That's good advice, man.The premise and procedure for the Kidprint Video seemed simple enough: A parent would bring their kid to a participating Blockbuster store at the specified Kidprint operation hours, and a Blockbuster employee with a home video camcorder would place the child in the designated Kidprint area (complete with a height register) and proceed to ask them questions like “What’s your name? Where do you live? Who is your Daddy and what does he do?” as the kids would shift, squirm and ask where the bathroom is. Sound awkward? Excruciatingly so. But it’s also strangely amusing in a “WTF is this?” and “I can’t believe this exists.” sort of way.
The side spine and the tape. This is one of the custom Kidprint tapes you'd purchase from Blockbuster. Room for four? That's cool.For the sake of privacy, I won’t upload my Kidprint Video find, but since THIS KIDPRINT VIDEO is already on the world weird web, you can get a pretty good idea of what they were like. I will say, however, mine is radically different. First, it’s much shorter, maybe like less than 2 minutes total. It’s probably due in part that the 5-year old girl named Ashanti didn’t really know where she lived, wasn’t able to give her parent’s names or recall what she did over the summer. She did, however, know that her favorite movie was Aladdin. I mean, to her credit, answering those questions for some rather impatient stranger with a video camera in her local Blockbuster probably wasn’t the most comfortable thing, right? It was probably just as weird then as it is now. Also of note: there was an X-Men cartoon / comic tie-in with a Cyclops cardboard cut-out in the background urging you to get a Kidprint! To round out the vibe on these videos, here’s a news piece advertising the service, as well.
Here's a close-up of the Kidprint label 'cause why the hell not? You should always read the fine print, Tapeheads.The service was offered at nearly 2000 Blockbuster locations free of charge to kids 12 and under, but only if you brought your own blank tape. You could also purchase special Kidprint tapes from Blockbuster for $2.25 with all of the net proceeds going to the National Center for Missing Children. There’s also an Orlando Sentinel article stating that more than 1 million kids had been Kidprinted over a seven year span (1990 – 1997). Man, that’s a lot. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever encountered the Kidprint tape, but really, one’s enough! Or is it?! So how about you, Tapeheads? Have you ever encountered one of these tapes, or did you happen to actually take part in the Kidprint experience? Comment below and let us know! I mean, there's gotta be someone out there, right?! 'Cause that would be cool.