Saturday, August 19, 2006


Not in the biblical sense. (Eeww. Why would you think that? Why would I think that?) And actually, all of these machines were just passing acquaintances, one night stands (yeah, sick mind) like all of my thrift hunts. But like anyone who grew up with the first generation of VCRs (my Dad brought our first one home in 1977, and in fact still has that 300 pound Magnavox) I have a certain fondness for their chunky clunkiness. I mean, how can you not love a machine with a stop-button the size of an brake pedal, fake wood-grain paneling (for class!), a top-loading video carriage that crashes into its "feed me" position upon the slightest tap of the eject button, and a set of TV dials that screams the future is now?

Here are some random pictures of VCRs (and Betamaxes!) I did not own, but very well could have. Today they languish in your friendly neighborhood thrift store.

Can we really ever appreciate how truly magnificent these buttons are? I'm just not that spiritual.

Can we all agree, though, that dirt is beautiful, especially on this machine?

And, how about these buttons, color-coded (and what colors) and everything!

Look at the girth of this big ol' Sony. Like my Dad's old machine, I used to joke that no burglar in his right mind would ever try to steal it because he'd get a hernia just trying to lift it. We certainly have facilitated more electronics crime with the iPod nano fits-in-your-pocket-and-thus-anyone-else's-revolution, no?

Here's another, behemoth. Love the wood-grain. And, it's programmable. For that episode of Joanie Loves Chachi you can't afford to miss. (If you look closely, you can see the movie that killed this dinosaur-- Damn You, Tim Allen!)

As promised, a Betamax. Smaller tapes. Smaller buttons. Big ass machine. Never had one, but I kind of wish I could brag that I did. I worked at video store with a guy that would always say, "Betas are still big in Japan." This was like 1994. He was a tech nerd.

While on the subject of Beta, this pic makes me feel like an explorer come upon the ruins of a ancient temple with a sunbeam splitting throughout the jungle just right, illuminating the dusty but still bright and vibrant design, speaking to the colorful moments of life once contained therein. The store where I took this shot was dark and gloomy, crowded with shelf after shelf of dingy TVs, turntables, and VCRs, covered in dirt and dust, and all of them way, way, way, way, way too over priced for a thrift store... way.

Dig the Tomorrowland font. This VCR doesn't just load the tape, it has an "Automatic Cassette Loading System," mutha-f**kers! Does anyone out there remember when "frontloading" meant "cutting edge"? No one? Well it did! Today, it probably just a kinky internet porn site. Or so I've heard.

Okay, not from a VCR/ Beta but from a TV. A color TV. And spy the awesome color array (just in case your forgot what color was. And look at that awesome dust bunny underneath the awesome color array, while your at it). Now I'm not old enough to remember when color TVs first came out, but I am old enough to remember when they still sold black & whites. In fact, my sister and I both got b&w TVs for Christmas (1987?) and we loved them! So there.

Finally, leaving a thrift store I spied this excellent sign. You just know that most of the equipment I shared with you was purchased there, from a guy named "Chad," and he wore a mullet, and he drove a Trans-Am (Datsun B-210?). And he sold you shitty speakers that blew out the first time you played Pink Floyd's The Wall real loud.


Anonymous said...

from the days when audio visual equipment was considered partly as "furniture", hence the wood effect.

limited edition wood effect ipods would sell. and I think big buttons will come back once people get tired of all this nano nonsense ("can I see your new mp3 player"..."yes, look it's here, under my fingernail")

Joshua said...

Hahaha! "not biblically" hahaha. I love thrift stores and have known (still not in THAT way) some younger and more slender models of electronic equipment (couldn't resist, sorry).

Up until last week, my scanner was a thrift store find for $5 and I've used it to post pictures to my blog and for scanning legal documents. It cost $5.

Seriously, beautiful post!

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I absolutely match with everything you've presented us.

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