Not really, though. We were pretty well off when I was born, I'm pretty sure. Nine of us in the house. Living on a lot of credit, though. Sometime in the late 80s that fell apart. I don't quite remember when. When I was young, though, whether it was true, whether it was because of credit cards or whatever, I figured we were affluent. Not that I knew the word affluent. We lived in an old house, two stories, with a small attic and a basement, a working fireplace, four bedrooms and a back room that was part utility room with the washer and dryer and part puzzle/game room. What I wouldn't do for a room like that today, when there are far more games I'd like to play and more folks than just my sisters I might want to spend time playing them with. I don't remember exactly how young I was when we got our first VCR, but I remember that VCR--a Quasar that loaded from the top, and the remote was not wireless...
As "Mr. Nussbaum tries to buy some gas with a stolen Master Charge, I get distracted by a Google search. I find two VCRs that are close to the one we had, but neither one seems like the right one. There's this one (Model VH5031WW):
Which is really close, but ours didn't have that fake wood paneling on the top. Then, there's this one (Model VH5141XQ):
Which is closer, but info I found says this one didn't exist until 1984. I swear we had a VCR before that. Plus, as I often argue in this blog, the experience matters more than the facts. Or maybe we just rented so many movies from The Wherehouse starting in 1984 that it just seems like we must've started earlier. But, then, as Navin rides off and figures our what his "special purpose" (aka his penis) is for with Patty Bernstein, I find this commercial for The Wherehouse from 1981. And, I just don't imagine us waiting for 1984.
We also had "cable" around then. ONTV last from 1977 to 1985. We had one of those boxes. We also had SelecTV at some point--it broadcast from 1978 to 1991. As for our VHS collection, we had some bought movies, some movies recorded off cable, and I will neither confirm nor deny the existence of copies of rented videotapes--you know, just throw a piece of scotch tape over that little indent on the front and you could copy those pretty readily--with the FBI Warning intact, because that's just the classy way to to do it.
We had a few boxes, two drawers, each drawer fit 12 tapes, and if you recorded on EP, that's 3 movies per tape (unless one is particularly long, which they weren't). Once I was a teen, once I had a job, I had plenty of videotapes of my own, none of those allegedly recorded off rented tapes, but plenty of those recorded off cable, and a lot of bought ones too. And, in the 90s, specifically immediately after the first season finale of The X-Files, I also recorded a lot of television. And, I mean a lot. Once shows started being available on video, on DVD when that became a thing, and online when that became a thing, I got rid of most of my VHS tapes. I've still got a couple boxes full of them, tapes with obscure shows that were canceled too soon, or were in syndication and never would make it to home video. And, I've got a single bookshelf, five shelves with some box sets on the top, of DVDs. But, I rarely touch them anymore because the internet makes everything more convenient. Hell, right now, it takes an extra effort to even use my blu-ray player (gotta swap out HDMI cables on the back of the tv).
Navin runs from the Madman and I think back on all the times we rented movies, reading the back of the case of some film we've never heard of most of the time; all the times we watched the ones we already had on tape; all the times we went to the theater (for a double feature perhaps at the second-run theater, or sneaking from one theater to another. All habits I've been unable to break. (Well, the method of rental has changed.) The last three days, I saw three movies in the theater (no sneaking), for example. I don't own a copy of The Jerk so I rented it through Amazon Prime.
And, I realize I've not really said anything about The Jerk tonight. It has actually been a while since I'd seen it and I got started late, and I had no plan as to what I was going to say.
I imagine that I will have more to say tomorrow.
Or maybe I'll tell you more about our VCRs from the 1980s, or how at one point in the 90s I had two cable boxes and three VCRs hooked to the TV in my bedroom, or how once when I was dealing poorly with my depression and anxiety I knocked over an arrangement of about 50 videotapes in my room in a fit of anger and left them scattered on the floor for most of the following week. Or maybe I'll just tell nice happy stories about my early love for film.
(I imagine a political rant, though, given the satirical elements of The Jerk. But, we'll see.)