Confessions of a VHS User

222 classic movies on VHS tapes

Recently my mother told me that we had an estimated 222 movies taped off of Turner Classic Movies. Why you ask?

Every month I flip through the “Turner Classic Movie Now Playing Guide” and make a list of 20 to 50 movies to tape.

Our family owns a DVR but we use VHS tapes, because they hold more, are reusable and usually give us higher quality.

I tape so many movies so I can fulfill the many lists I have made to organize my old movie obsessions.

Here is a very brief summary of the lists I have so far:
-Movie Musical list: I have currently seen 374 musicals. I started this list back in 2004 when I was in 9th grade.  This includes any movie musical I have seen, new or old; anything from a Kay Kyser musical to “Chicago.”
-Silent Movie list: This currently only has 40 movies. I only started really getting interested in silent films in late 2008 and just started the list in March 2010.
-Screen teams: This is a list of famous screen teams such as Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland, Myrna Loy and William Powell, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon.  I try to see all of the movies the screen teams were in together.
-Movies Series: Similarly to the Screen Teams list, I am trying to see all the movies in certain film series such as Andy Hardy, Dr. Kildaire and Maisie.
-Actresses Lists: I have 47 actresses that I am trying to see all of their movies. A few of these are Jean Arthur, Bette Davis and Kay Francis. So far I’ve only seen all of Judy Garland’s movies.
-Actors Lists: Similar to the actress list, except with 19 actors. Lists include Van Johnson, Dana Andrews and George Brent.

Recently, I have started a rather ambitious list. It is all of the movies from 1939- a total of 514 movies and I have only seen 84.

“The Rains Came”: 20th Century Fox’s contribution to the 1939 royalty

The year of 1939 is important not just for “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind,” but it also birthed other well known movies such as “Ninotchka,” “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” “Stagecoach” and “The Grapes of Wrath.”

It’s amazing to look at all of the films that came out during what is known as “Hollywood’s Greatest Year,” and I was inspired to try to see all of them.

Turner Classic Movies showed a documentary in the summer of 2009 called “1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year.” The documentary said the reason this year was profitable was the United States was slowly getting out of the depression and the film companies were able to fund bigger projects.

However, this glory only lasted one year.  Two years later World War II hit, actors were drafted and America and Hollywood put their efforts toward the war on the home front and overseas. Once the war was over, the tone of America and movies changed from light and happy 1930s films to darker and angsty melodramas, according to the documentary.

In a way, this is why I want to make the list. I feel like when people hear 1939, they think of “Gone with the Wind” or “Wizard of Oz,” but there were so many other special movies that year. I want to see if the other films that you don’t hear about have that same magic. Who knows, once I finish watching all 514 movies maybe I’ll try my hand at writing a book.

Making the list took maybe three days, however I know that the watching process will take much longer. I’m worried about being able to track some of the movies and making it through low budget crime movies.

Wish me luck!

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7 thoughts on “Confessions of a VHS User

  1. I thought I was bad about taping from TCM. Over the past 7-8 years I have built up somewhere around 1000 DVDs that I still haven’t watched yet (not including ones I recorded and did watch). They have slowly taken over my room.

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    • Wow! That’s a ton of DVDs. We tape the movies and once I’ve watched all the movies we tape over them. We do tape some movies to keep and put them on DVDs that aren’t on DVD yet like “Music for Millions” or “The Uninvited.”

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  2. That’s phenomenal! You must have seen some bad ones, as well as all the classics. My favorite has to be ‘The Sound of Music’. Those Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes are the best.

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    • Yes I have seen some bad ones lol. I usuaully try to stick it out and watch the whole movie, but sometimes I just have to fastforward

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  3. Holy cow – so many films! I’ve got tons of VHS tapes too; one day I want to start digitizing them all. I probably have more audio cassette tapes than VHS! lol (mostly old time radio shows on tape)

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  4. I have just under 500 DVD’s I’ve copied off of TCM since June 2007, none of which are on DVD as long as you don’t count the Warner Archives. I’m so glad I did as someday I’m sure TCM will go the way of AMC and we’ll never be able to see these old classics any other way.

    Just think of all of the old Paramount/Universal/Fox gems from the 30’s and 40’s that haven’t seen the light of day since AMC went to the dark side in 2002.

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