I forgot a couple of local shops in my town done a neat sideline, in renting Video cassettes out. One of them, had a row entirely for Betamax, consisting usually of just 5 tapes!
There were also two or three guys who used a Renault 19, and rented tapes to you out the back of it each week, usually coming on a Friday. The neighbour below us gave it up after a while, then we done so, and finally the neighbour next door, in the next block, decided not to rent anymore tapes from them.
I'm sure the idea of renting tapes from a car wasn't unique to where I lived though?
A former member
We had a Matsui (I think) VCR with a talking remote control, complete with LCD screen. You pressed a button on the remote and it would talk you through how to program it, and the screen would show you the steps by flashing certain areas. Not sure how old I was when it arrived in the house, perhaps seven. The local video store was Jack Beanstalk Video, which was a fantastic name for a shop. We used to love going there every Saturday to pick out a new film to watch, mostly Disney and things like The Never-ending Story. Then Blockbuster opened up nearby and we went there for a while. The selection was similar in both but I think Blockbuster won out with my dad on the slightly lower fees. Jack Beanstalk hung on for a few years and then closed. The site turned into a fireplace showroom and is now something else.
My memory of local video shops was having to wait ages for new releases as the owner in their wise wisdom would only buy one copy each (if I recall, it'd cost £75/£80 per copy), so you'd end up waiting weeks to actually see a 'new' release title.
When Blockbuster Video opened, it really was a revelation. They'd order something along 20/30 copies of a title each, so there were plenty to go around, even if you paid slightly more than in the local independent rental shop.
My Dad was a milkman, so occasionally he'd be able to access under counter 'pirate' copies of films from some of the shops he'd deliver to.
Our local video shop was called Video World and was run by a middle aged gay couple. It started out as just videos but then they expanded into SNES and MegaDrive games and eventually N64, PlayStation etc. They had plenty of posters and cut-outs of films as as I was a regular customer and lived close, they ended up letting me have my pick of them when it came time to dump them. They also had an adult section that was casually beside the normal tapes and not hidden out the back or anything! They had a few screens dotted round and if you asked they would put a film or game on for you to let you see a bit or try it before you rented it, just in case you weren't sure. They even let you rent the consoles if you didn't have them and just wanted to try a new game for a system you didn't own. They even kept up with the trend and rented DVD's too but towards the end before they closed down in the mid-2000's people started renting and not returning tapes/DVDs/games as they knew the store was going to close soon enough and they likely wouldn't be chased for the overdue fees. The guys were too nice I suppose. I do miss video and proper music shops. I always wanted to work in one when I was younger.
There was a small chain of 2 video shops called "Oscar Video". Two as far as I'm aware. One was in Lochgelly, at the top of Bank Street, and is now a chemist. The other was on Wilson Avenue in Kirkcaldy, and is now a tanning salon. In Leven, Ian Hutchison, an electrical retailer, also rented out movies. They would advertise each week, in the Fife Leader, what their electrical applicance offers were, and the list of movies for hire. Ian Hutchison, like the Fife Leader, no longer exists.
Oh well. Anyway, talking about erase heads and write heads and recording dropouts reminded me how I used to do pause-record to splice together
episodes on tape from the live broadcasts. Those post-title recaps would look so odd these days, although they did do one on
a few months ago.
I always paused-recorded when I was taping films on TV to remove the ads. I'm glad I did as I was able to fit a series of a show on a tape by removing the ads and the tape ran out just as the credits ended on the final episode which wouldn't have happened if I had left it recording the ads for every episode!
Oh that reminds me - naive as I was, I decided to consolidate a couple of retail
tapes by copying one off to another, then back on at LP, then copied the other on at LP as well. Then I added the title of the second story to the cover with biro, carefully copying the tube font they used to use.
I also spent hours as a kid making a couple of montages from films and TV recordings. One of our videos had Audio Dub and I spent ages recording and re-recording so all the sound lined up. I wonder if I've still got them somewhere...
Audio dub was genius. On Panasonics (and possibly others) it would allow you to play the stereo tracks out at the same time as recording onto the mono track. So you could edit your camcorder footage together, take the sound on the stereo tracks and feed it through a sound mixer to add music and/or a voiceover replacing the mono track and everything stayed in sync. With the added bonus that the stereo tracks didn't get overwritten so when you screwed it up you could go back and try again.
My grandparents had a fancy video recorder with all sorts of knobs and settings, including audio dub. Dated back to the early-mid 80s. I don't think they ever used all, or even most, of those settings though. You couldn't record on the mono and keep the stereo though, it only had the linear track (albeit linear stereo, not that it was ever hooked up to anything that would play stereo back).