Remember When... is a weekly feature every (#Throwback)Thursday where we look back on a moment that changed the world of pop culture forever. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the reminder that you are getting SO OLD.
What Happened: It's early 2006. After three decades of home entertainment, Walmart (America's superstore) officially stopped selling VHS tapes and players. The rest would soon follow as the world embraced DVDs and the digital boom began. If you need a refresher: a VHS tape is like a giant cassette that you used to watch movies via a strip of tape within it. Sounds ridiculous, right?
What Else Was Happening: You were probably watching people eat bull testicles on Fear Factor or bitching about a new, blonde James Bonde in Casino Royale. Maybe you were waiting in line at Best Buy for the brand, new Wii gaming system. Meanwhile, in both depressing and aggravating news, Pluto is downgraded from a Planet to a dwarf planet, which is awfully rude of The International Astronomical Union.
How We Remember It:
Elizabeth Freda, E! Loves Intern: "VHS tapes were better than DVDs. Why, you ask? Because DVDs are stupid. 1) You have to sit through the intro credits and previews most of the time. 2) The main menu is a labyrinth of options. 3) You can't just pop in a DVD and fast-forward to a particular spot because there are so many fast forwarding speeds and ugh. 4) Because astronauts, after fixing the Hubble Space Telescope, wanted to watch a DVD but couldn't because they didn't have the right software. Astronauts couldn't even figure it out. 5. Blockbuster is basically extinct (and may it rest in peace). Now do you see what DVDs have done to us?!
"To summarize: VHS tapes were incredible. Sure, they were big and bulky, but wasn't that part of the charm? Their white, puffy cases kept the tapes safe and sound and their thick spines made finding your favorites easy to do. You could start the film the moment you popped in the tape and it was pretty easy to record TV shows. You just had to prioritize, since there was limited space. And when am I going to be reimbursed for the hundreds of dollars I invested in The Land Before Time VHS tapes?"
John Boone, E! Loves Lead Editor: "Somewhere in a dark corner of my mom's house, I still have a very, very large stack of blank VHS tapes that I used to record my shows. I think I have entire seasons of Alias on those tapes (with commercials, obviously. This was the olden days when you actually had to watch commercials). I vividly remember having to visit my aunt's house on the same day that they were premiering Britney Spears' "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know" music video on TRL (kids, that's Total Request Live—a music show on MTV from before your time). I brought along one of my trusty VHS tapes and spent the afternoon waiting with my finger over the record button. And then, for some reason, it didn't record. I was INCONSOLABLE. Now, there's YouTube."
Jenna Mullins, E! Loves Editor: "No one can brag about having the magic touch when it came to fixing the tracking anymore. I was a god amongst VHS watchers when it came to making sure those squiggly lines disappeared almost completely. Now what do I have to brag about? I can press the "DVD open button" on my remote?! Bulls—t. I also have an extensive collection of Disney movies on VHS. You know, the ones that came in the big, bulky plastic cases. Music to my ears to open those bad boys."
Cinya Burton, Fabulist Editor: "My family still has a massive VHS library in our home because back in the day (this is pre-DVR, Tivo, of course) my Dad would meticulously record Star Trek. Each week, every episode from The Next Generation through Deep Space Nine. Now-a-days kids can just buy the DVD box set—ah, how easy the youths have it!"
Lily Harrison, Entertainment Editor: "All I know is I have tons of Disney movies on VHS still. I feel like they're collectors' items? Or maybe I'm a hoarder? Either way, who didn't love those white plastic cases that were way bigger than any other case. Way to make your point, Disney. Also, can we please talk about recording shows on VHS? At one point I had to make the life-altering decision to tape an episode of Kids Incorporated over my only copy of The NeverEnding Story. Times were really freaking tough for a 7-year old. I'll never forget you, Atreyu."
Brett Malec, Writer/Reporter: "OMG, my favorite thing as a kid was that all the Nickelodeon shows and movies are on orange-colored VHS tapes. SO CRAZY AND FUN! Harriet the Spy was my favorite (go Rosie!). Also, it was THE WORST having to put VHS tapes in that little machine that rewound then. Also any time you rented a tape from Blockbuster you'd have to sit there and wait for it to rewind before you returned it. Lastly, I remember when my family bought Titanic on tape and that friggin' movie is so long it comes on two VHS tapes so you have to swap them half-way through."
Are you still holding on to any beloved VHS tapes? Tell us which in the comments!