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September 14th, 2009


This weekend a few friends and I were talking about videos and video stores, and a long-forgotten memory came to the surface: one could rent VCRs at Blockbusters (and presumably other stores.) Do you remember this?

The units were big, bulky grey things which looked like overstuffed suitcases. Even though my family had a VCR I remember being fascinated by these things and, really, at this point it’s a big anachronism. That means that VCRs were so scarce at one point in the not-too-distant past that one could get the whole kit and kaboodle at one store. Pretty neat idea.

We’ve come a long way, but it wasn’t long ago when being able to play movies on demand in the home was a really magical and new thing.

Posted in Childhood Memories

Ryan September 14, 2009, 5:22 pm

I vividly remember renting a VCR from our public library for $1.00. It was also big and bulky and really pretty crappy.

We already had a VCR, but on a Friday night, I’d go rent 3 or 4 movies, get the VCR from the library, and dub the movies (in SLP mode, for extra crappy quality!) as I watched them. Yay for piracy!

COD September 14, 2009, 7:02 pm

The convenience store I worked at for a semester in college (1986) rented VCRs and movies. I was cutting edge and had my own VCR. 99% of my movie library was taped from HBO. I set the timer on it and tape movies overnight.

mik March 30, 2012, 2:22 pm

VCR’s weren’t cheap when they first came out $400 to $800 range and video stores were everywhere this is before Blockbuster. Remember one place had 99 cent Mondays or Tuesdays. Now it’s like 4.99 per movie it’s crazy.
Remember mom buying our first VCR off of the home shopping network..LOL It was after the prices had come down some probably for about $250 back then it was a big deal. Also remember renting games for the Atari 2600 from a place that rented out heavy equipment and stuff.

Gene Scott January 9, 2013, 1:11 am

I remember those days. The VCR’s we rented were a Quasar brand, top-loading machines. They came in a heavy blue padded bag. It was a big, HEAVY, sturdy appliance, full of steel and noisy moving parts.

We’d rent the machine for the weekend and with it rent 4 or 5 movies.

I also remember dad and mom renting tapes at the “other” video store on the wrong side of town. We didn’t get to go inside that store, or come down stairs into the living room when they were watching those movies.

Gives me a big LOL to think about it now.

Ah, memories.

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