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going into the Vault this week… and we’re talking about Columbia
House and VHS Tapes…
the unleash of DVDs and digital archiving and streaming, if you
wanted to get an entire television series, there was really two ways
to go about it: either tape every single episode that aired manually (and I spent many Wednesday nights watching Deep Space Nine and Voyager in front of the TV in the living room with my finger on the stop and record buttons)…
or hope that VHS tapes were released of the shows you wanted to
collect. More often than not, episodes of shows were released maybe
random released… but then there was Columbia House.
amail-order subscription service where people could get to music records, once the home video market, they obviously capitalized on it,
with some rather… unique rules… the ‘having to respond’ or
otherwise have something mailed to you was a real winner… but as a
kid, a big highlight was when my father got ‘new episodes’ of
shows, so when the tapes arrived, got to sit down and watch two
episodes back to back, and then have to option watch then whenever we
wanted (while factoring in rewinding and all that good stuff). So I have a lot of fond memories of watching these tapes, but they are obliviously archaic now a days.
of the shows we ended up getting was Star Trek The Original Series,
Star Trek The Next Generation, Star Trey Voyager and The Untouchables.
As stated each tape contained two episodes, unless the episode was
movie length or if there was another factor, such as the case with
this tape of Star Trek Voyager having only just the episode Caretaker
on it. Which made things perfect say on a Friday night, could pop one tape in, watch a pair of episodes, rewind the tape and then watch another tape.
thing one would notice with the casing is that they are pretty tall,
actually very sturdy, and protects the tapes nicely, a nice open and
casing. But of course one has to make note of the design choice…
which was completely uniform in that every tape for a series looked
the same. So regardless of the season, the tapes for Star Trek The
Next Generation all had the image of the cast from The First Season,
and on the back, the ‘screen images’ were also the same, which
was just silly. Things were better... for The Original Series, the
image made a lot more sense, a painted image of the original cast
appeared on every tape, and on the back the screen images matched the
episodes in question. The Untouchables also had similar look with
Robert Stack’s Elliot Ness, and the rest of main cast, on top of
the logo. Star
Trek Voyager got an image of Captain Mary Sue… I mean Captain
Janeway and the ship with the LCARS design the scrapped around to the
back, plus images from the episodes on the front and back. This is
actually a great design.
since most people have tapes on a shelf, or a tape rack, the spine if
over what is on display… and on these, we see the shows logo, and
the listing of the episodes that particular volume features.
real pain in the ass thing with these tapes is storing them… with
series on DVD you just have to deal with a couple of volumes
depending on the length of the series… but on the average of two
episodes per tape… that was 39 tapes for the original series, 87
tapes for The Next Generation, and so forth… so now a days, they
are just collecting dust on the shelves or in boxes, which is thanks
to the rise of DVD sets and digital streaming / archiving.
for nostalgia purposes… these are still cool to have.
that will do it for this week, these are going back in the vault…
or on the shelf.