Monday, March 2, 2009

For the Love of God, Be Kind, Rewind!

The VHS is the dodo bird of the entertainment world. No one makes them anymore. No one wants them. But their presence is still felt in society today. From independent rental stores, who have had to buy DVDs and store their massive stocks of VHS tapes, to the state of the film market in general, the VHS is, at best, on life support. But we're ignoring a bunch of movies that haven't been transferred to DVD or digitized. What's going to happen to those movies once the VHS finally disappears?

Critic Dave Kehr, New York Times DVD columnist, says:

"I never understood how this myth that 'everything is available on DVD' got started...The worst offender is Universal. They don’t have any idea what they've got in their library. They were releasing a number of films on VHS that you can’t get in any form today...In the switch from VHS to DVD, we lost a tremendous amount of stuff, because they had to remaster them and no one wanted to spend the money."

Being a classic movie fan, this is troubling. Beverly Hills Chihuahua is on DVD and yet The African Queen isn't? What the hell?

Basically, I'm going to have to either get some kind of converter to save my old VHSs, or be that person who hunts down old VHS players every so often. I'll be like that person who clings to the 8-track player. Or the abacus.

Stay strong, VHS. I won't pull the plug on you.