Follwing our interview with Dale Lloyd of Viva VHS, Simon Columb looks back at his VHS memories….
My Mum and Dad did not appreciate videos. They would never buy such items – especially when you could easily record films and TV shows directly from the box. The re-runs of Beethoven, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (budget video from Bewise) and a Pickwick Video of The Wind in the Willows were the only films I could truly appreciate until the age of 10, whereby I watched the iconic Jurassic Park. I pined and begged my parents to buy the film for me – but alas, no; £10 was too much for a video, I was told. Until I was 12, whereby a friend asked what I wanted for my birthday and sure enough, I asked for Jurassic Park. Ian explained that his Mum got a discount on the video at Boots, otherwise it would’ve been too expensive (Boots sold videos?). My only video – and the beginning of a life-long passion.
Every week, my brother and I would watch the film. Every week, we would watch the trailers that preceded it and quote lines from the film – “Dodgson! we got Dodgson here! Seee – nobody cares” – as it played. We even managed to work out a specific moment you could forward the video to ensure that you watched an hour of action (its roughly 1 hour in, when they are left in the T-Rex paddock). I even managed to hunt down, from a Virgin Megastore, a £7 VHS copy of The Making of Jurassic Park hosted by James Earl Jones (now a special feature on the DVD and Blu-ray). This then became a part of our two-film weekly viewing. My brother and I knew the cast members by name – right down to Ariana Richards and Bob Peck. We even knew all the special effects artists – Michael Lantieri, Stan Winston, Dennis Muren and Phil Tippett. Years afterwards, if I see their names, I am reminded of their work on my favourite film. Indeed, the tragic story (delivered in a very ‘this-is-usual’ manner on the documentary) that Phil Tippet made these incredibly intricate stop-go-motion dinosaurs, only to be told that these would become CGI, must’ve been a tougher moment then the guys let on. Then again, Tippett did assist in the animatronic creations eventually used in the film.
Videos were limited in our household. The few we managed to accumulate were primarily in 1997 – Men in Black and The Lost World both had nice Universal logos that matched the previous two videos we owned. Casper and The Little Rascals, I’m pretty sure, we bought only for the matching logo. The slightly smaller 20th Century Fox cases for Titanic and Independence Day. The watched-only-once copy of Stargate (only £2.99 when we bought Independence Day) and a The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller alone started a passion for the King of Pop. I’m pretty sure that was all of them … and, predictably, when DVD arrived I was adamant that this was my opportunity to build up an impeccable collection. No suprise, I remember the argument my Dad and I had when I decided to spend my paper round money on a DVD of GoldenEye… but I was earning my own money now … and every week, I added to this shiny new disc-based collection.