Saturday, August 27, 2016

VCR (1963-2016)

Most of us stopped using video cassette recorders a very, very long time ago. By 2008, DVD had officially replaced VHS as the preferred home media format, and the glory days of the 1980s—when VHS and Betamax battled it out to be the number-one choice for watching and recording movies and television at home—were very much in the rear-view mirror. 
So it might surprise you to learn that VCRs are still being manufactured—at least they were until this month. Funai Electric, the last remaining Japanese company to make the units, has announced that the company will cease production on its VCR units, due to declining sales and difficulty acquiring parts.

At first
All I wanted was to record
Indiscriminate pop culture detritus from the boob tube
Sunday-night blockbusters
Mini-series star-studders
Variety gutbusters
You're kidding right
Anyway the Solid Gold Dancers are about to perform the Top Ten
Quick find the instruction manual
That tape of "Clash of the Titans"?
Just record right over it
It'll be on again in a few months
Don't forget to stick the labels on, front and side
Nothing to hide
Just stare wide-eyed
And watch.

And then
All I wanted was to learn
Tinseltown magic from a million years ago
Black-and-white glamorous
Technicolor fabulous
CinemaScope tremendous
We've got 'em
Garbo to Stanwyck and Bogart, Poitier and Dean
All talking a mile a minute
Or maybe singing and dancing
The clerk behind the counter has it all
So roam the aisles and study the boxes
You never know what treasures you might find
But please be kind
Don't forget to rewind
Your tape.

And now
All I have are relics
Packed up, stored away, never to play at home again
Indie innovators
Foreign-born tastemakers
Brainy documentators
Don't mean much to me now
Serving up CGI schlock to lucrative foreign markets
Those old celluloid dreams on tape still call to me
But my VCR's been broken for years
And the digital revolution has already been televised
And maybe I helped plant its flag after all
So it's goodbye, farewell and amen to my mechanical friend
My entertainment trend
Return to send
And unplug.


  1. Beautiful tribute. I felt it.

    Gavin is devoted to his tape collection and the player, which is slowly starting to loose its oomph. He buys and watches DVDs, but you can see his eyes light up when he drags out the bags of tapes. How do you explain that something is "over" to an autistic/developmentally delayed obsessive? Especially when it is that one very special thing.

    1. I can't imagine. If nothing else, I suppose it gives you an excuse to keep the VCR a little bit longer.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks. This one was a little scary. After I read the article at the top, inspiration struck, not in the form of an essay, but in this form. Not sure why, but I simply wanted to write a poem instead. I've been hanging around poets a little more lately, so maybe that had something to do with it.

  3. Howdy neighbor! I just moved in next door, and wanted to know if my wife Lurleen could borry a sack of sugar. That's my wife, Lurleen...and them's our children: Ivan the Third, Lurleen, Jr. and Melvina. (Melvina don't say much...she was born without a tongue.) Hey! You got one of them big-screen TV's...we should all plan to meet here next Sunday to watch the game.

    All seriousness aside...nice eulogy for the VCR. I still have one (it's a combo with the DVD recorder) but the last time I dropped a VHS in it was close to 2-3 years ago.

  4. Really? As much recording off the TV as you do? Interesting.


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