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escritora
01-24-2012, 08:07 AM
How do I find out whether an Audrey Hepburn movie was available on VHS in the 1970s? Or were VHS movies not available at that time and VHS tapes were only used to record shows from the TV?

eyeblink
01-24-2012, 11:12 AM
In the UK at least, VCRs weren't launched until 1978 and from memory started taking hold with a mass audience early in the next decade. My family didn't get one until 1984. Distribution of films on tape was initially the province of independent distributors. It's hard to track what was released before the Video Recordings Act of 1984 (which meant that every video release had to have a BBFC censor's certificate) but I don't remember major distributors getting into video in a big way until the early to mid 80s and back-catalogue films (which would cover Audrey Hepburn's classics - I know she was still alive in the 70s) a bit later on.

A quick search of the BBFC database shows that the earliest Hepburn films given video certificates were My Fair Lady, Robin and Marian and War and Peace, all in 1986.

So I'd say a Hepburn film wouldn't be (legally) on tape in the 70s, though this is from a UK perspective and other countries such as the US may be different.

shaldna
01-24-2012, 02:14 PM
You could probably have a pirate copy on betamax (like something recorded with a film camera off the film reel as it was playing)

alleycat
01-24-2012, 02:25 PM
I'm with eyeblink. I believe the first VHS movie I saw was in the late 1970s, and that was only because I worked with a guy who liked to be ahead of everyone else. I didn't get a VCR until the 1980s (1983 or 84). That's about when video stores became common and when you could find a good choice of movies.

DeleyanLee
01-24-2012, 05:26 PM
VCRs were HUGE (physically & socially) at the time. They were mondo expensive. It was a big deal to have one during the 1970's, at least in Detroit. I remember a friend getting one and everyone thinking it was the coolest thing since Pong (which my family got first). It was a big "better than the Joneses" thing for the average Michigan family in the 1970's.

But, then, in the 1970's, I still knew people who hadn't gotten color TVs yet because they were too expensive. *shrug*

escritora
01-24-2012, 05:49 PM
So I'd say a Hepburn film wouldn't be (legally) on tape in the 70s, though this is from a UK perspective and other countries such as the US may be different.

When you say legally, do you mean like shaldna's example or something else? Because an illegal VHS of a movie (I'd prefer a Hepburn movie, but any romantic movie would do) is actually a nice fit for my story.

DeleyanLee
01-24-2012, 05:52 PM
You could've recorded something off the TV at the time. It just would've been edited to hell-and-back because that's what TV did to movies back then--even worse than they do now.

escritora
01-24-2012, 06:08 PM
What I'd like to happen in the story is that the husband surprises his wife with a movie. They are having marriage issues and his way of solving this is by buying expensive things. A VHS and movie would be a better spin than a diamond necklace, I think.

Orianna2000
01-24-2012, 09:27 PM
According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videocassette_recorder), the VCR didn't become a commercial item until the late 1970s and didn't become popular until the early 1980s. Before then, there were a few home recording devices available, but they were expensive and could only record 20-60 minutes of film.

patskywriter
01-24-2012, 09:36 PM
Building on what others have said, I can imagine the husband paying the guy who's "the first on the block" to have a VHS unit to tape the movie off the TV (with the ads edited out!) He could also improve the looks of the videotape by paying someone with beautiful handwriting to write the name of the movie on the label. Or he can just use his handy dandy Dymo Labelmaker.

The Grift
01-24-2012, 10:30 PM
The first home-video releases of feature films on VHS took place in 1977 and was done by Magnetic Video, who had licensed fifty films from 20th Century Fox for VHS release.

Facebook tells me that these (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=194876977215030) were the 50 movies. I don't know if Audrey was in any of them.

Obviously following these first 50, many others were released.

escritora
01-24-2012, 10:49 PM
The first home-video releases of feature films on VHS took place in 1977 and was done by Magnetic Video, who had licensed fifty films from 20th Century Fox for VHS release.

Facebook tells me that these (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=194876977215030) were the 50 movies. I don't know if Audrey was in any of them.

Obviously following these first 50, many others were released.

Excellent. I'll choose a movie from that list.

Chase
01-24-2012, 10:57 PM
The Grift's recall is probably more helpful for you; however . . .

While attending grad school at Pocatello, Idaho, I taught idiomatic English to Japanese engineers at American Microsystems. They passed around movies which hooked up to any TV.

The player was as big as a giant pizza box and played a disk the size of an old 78 RPM long-play record. That's how I remember the name: Video Long Play. They also called it "disco-vision."

In 1978, they watched Jaws on it again and again. By the mid '80s, VHS was the king of movie rentals, but you could still rent the player and the HUGE discs, because I saw The Woman in Red on the old system in '84.

Research may uncover a list of movies the system had available.

Chase
01-24-2012, 11:01 PM
Excellent. I'll choose a movie from that list.

Oops! Sorry. My tattered memory was too little too late.

Hallen
01-24-2012, 11:38 PM
The player was as big as a giant pizza box and played a disk the size of an old 78 RPM long-play record. That's how I remember the name: Video Long Play. They also called it "disco-vision."

It was called Laser Disk and was the choice of videofiles until DVD finally came out. You couldn't record to them (to the best of my knowledge), but you could buy movies to own and the quality was way beyond VHS tapes as HD is beyond Laser Disk.

I remember the good old days when we'd rent 3 or 4 movies on VHS and meet at a friend's house to watch them. Growing up in a small town that was a long way from a decent movie theater, we didn't get to watch many of the top movies that came out in the late 70's. VHS allowed us to catch up, so to speak.

BenPanced
01-25-2012, 08:52 AM
The Grift's recall is probably more helpful for you; however . . .

While attending grad school at Pocatello, Idaho, I taught idiomatic English to Japanese engineers at American Microsystems. They passed around movies which hooked up to any TV.

The player was as big as a giant pizza box and played a disk the size of an old 78 RPM long-play record. That's how I remember the name: Video Long Play. They also called it "disco-vision."

In 1978, they watched Jaws on it again and again. By the mid '80s, VHS was the king of movie rentals, but you could still rent the player and the HUGE discs, because I saw The Woman in Red on the old system in '84.

Research may uncover a list of movies the system had available.


It was called Laser Disk and was the choice of videofiles until DVD finally came out. You couldn't record to them (to the best of my knowledge), but you could buy movies to own and the quality was way beyond VHS tapes as HD is beyond Laser Disk.

I remember the good old days when we'd rent 3 or 4 movies on VHS and meet at a friend's house to watch them. Growing up in a small town that was a long way from a decent movie theater, we didn't get to watch many of the top movies that came out in the late 70's. VHS allowed us to catch up, so to speak.
The system sold by Magnavox was called "DiscoVision", from what I remember (an ex had tried to become an independent dealer a few years before I'd met him). It was incredibly unstable, however; because the recording material was sometimes held together with crap adhesives, the laser easily burned the disk, rendering sections unwatchable. There was also RCA's SelectaVision system. It was also a video disk, but it relied on a stylus, similar to a record. The remote control system was hairtrigger and provided hours of fun, repeating select sections over and over.