Video Archive Project!

Video Archive Project!

I’m not sure why I’m announcing this project to such fanfare, because I honestly don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

This holiday I stayed at my parents’ house in Chicago, going through the cathartic process of clearing out the old room (or as my friends refer to it as “The Shrine To Patrick J. Doody” – it has remained exactly the same since high school. You would think I had died.)

Well, between my father and I, we have scores of old VHS tapes. I swiped a bunch, scanning them to see if there was anything worthwhile on them. And there just might be. Certainly, plenty of local Chicago TV material. And while I can’t compete at all with a site like Fuzzy Memories, I plan on starting a YouTube page to house a few of these goodies. And of course, if anyone else feels like contributing, that would be wonderful.

However, things like this take time. But, I already made the logo, right? So, I might as well get to it!

And yes, that RCA with the corded remote was our family VCR from 1979. I still have it.

Patrick J. Doody

Patrick J. Doody is a horror nerd and Mexican Pepsi enthusiast living in Los Angeles. He writes movies and makes TV shows. Check out his latest endeavor, Beyond Stranger Things streaming on Netflix.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. A great project Patrick. Hope to see some of those videos up here on the site very soon.

  2. Thanks Retroist. I’ve grabbed several videos so far – lots of WTTW commercials and announcements for Dr. Who.

    That’s because I was one of the cool kids, right? I mean, cool kids in the 80’s watched Dr. Who, Blake’s 7 and Robotech, right?

    Right? Anyone. Cool kids?

    I’m hoping to work on ingesting some more videos today.

  3. Only the coolest kids watched that stuff. Did you start your Youtube account yet?

  4. I have not started it yet. Just archiving the videos to my MBP, then I have to clean them up.

  5. ANYTHING even remotely related to Doctor Who is cool beyond any reasonable doubt. The more you have, the cooler you are.

  6. I didn’t think anyone besides us had a “corded remote” VCR. I can’t imagine the promotion for such a thing. (“Control your home video from up to 72 inches away!”)

  7. jrbooth – the other awesome thing that VCR has was…audio dubbing. Something they got rid of on many VCR’s later on.

    It allowed my friends and I ENDLESS hours of fun overdubbing movies and commercials. I used to even use a mixer and have my mic and a record player attached, so we could add music and sound effects.

  8. Oh Patrick, that is AWESOME! I cannot wait to see some of the treasures you are going to share. My Father and I had a top loading unit as well with a corded remote…but not dubbing though. That would have been great!

  9. Patrick: Audiodubbing on a VCR? Never even knew such a thing existed! Fantastic!

  10. Cool logo! My first vcr also featured a corded remote! That was particularly handy for still framing special effects shots from 80s horror movies! Good luck on the project.

  11. Go Patrick go!
    Also a Who-phile.
    Also a Blake 7-phile (though I seriously need to rewatch it)

    Our first VCR had a corded remote.
    And whenever I tripped on it, the machine yanked and thudded heavily to the floor.
    Alarmed, I’d lift it up with difficulty and swing it back to its position on the shelf under the TV.
    The electric cord usually pulled off the wall, the tape got jammed inside, any programming had to be reset.
    But the dang remote jack stayed plugged into the machine, only it got bent vertically so as to challenge my future remote operations due to newly-created connector glitches, in payment for my disrespect of the VCR.

    I don’t miss corded remotes.

    Same thing happens with my headphones, though.
    (Too cheap to splurge for wireless)

  12. Hi Patrick – Cool post – thanks for caring about preserving these old tapes. (a lot of people just throw them out) As you know, it is a big passion of mine. I just wanted to say that the Video Archive Project, such as it is, has already been underway for many years – it’s called The Museum of Classic Chicago Television (FuzzyMemories.TV). :-) But seriously though, considering we happily accept and ask for tape donations, it does seem a little redundant. I would be happy to professionally transfer your old tapes to DVD and provide copies for you, and then host clips on our site. If it makes you happy, we can bill it as being from “The Patrick J. Doody Collection”. Your tapes deserve the deluxe treatment that we provide, from professional tape transfer to ensure the best transfer possible, to research identifying the exact airdate of each recording in order to provide accurate historical context, to archiving for posterity in our main database, which goes beyond what you see on the site and includes not just clips but the entire broadcasts. We’re a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit and going to be around for the long haul; we currently have about 7 people doing work for us who all care about the same goal. So please let me know if we can join forces – I’d love to see what you have. :-)

    By the way, the Zayre commercial you posted – it’s on our site within a commercial break already – little bit better quality too.


    Rick Klein
    President / Chief Curator
    The Museum of Classic Chicago Television

  13. I still have something like 180 VHS tapes, most of which are from the mid/late 90s when I was timeshifting a lot of stuff. The quality of most of them is pretty low because I reused the tapes over & over until the quality degraded too much to be bareable, then I switched to a new one. I actually ran 3 VCRs at once back then. I had one that worked well all around, one that recorded well but had playback problems, and one that played fine but had record issues. I would use the 2 that could record & record 2 seperate things at once (sometimes while watching a third thing directly on the TV), and I would use the one that only played for watching old or prerecorded tapes. I also sometimes used the 2 recorders to copy/edit tapes, such as compiling a tape of nothing but woodywoodpecker cartoons & starting (but then faltering) to make a tape of all the simpsons halloween eps.
    Since it was for timeshifting, most of the tapes have the commercial break intact.

    I had a pretty wild setup back then. It included 2 TVs, 3 stereos, 2 to 3 VCRs (depending on when one would crap out & need replaced), a cable box a slew of video game consoles, plus the sega channel/adapter. On top of that, the cable company was one with 2 cables (one for normal chans & one for premium chans). The “A” cable came in the wall, got split once & sent to the sega channel adapter, then split again with one going to the cable box & one going to the VCRs & main TV. The “B” cable just went straight to the cable box (since nothing else could decode it). The cable coming out of the cablebox then went first to a VCR, then to the little TV, while the A/V out from said VCR went to the main TV. Meanwhile, the “A” cable went to one VCR, then that went to a second, then to the RF on the main TV. (Well, to the game console RF switches, which were connected to the TV’s RF.)
    Meanwhile, the TV’s headphone jack was connected to a home theater unit, which had it’s rear speaker jack connected to a shelf stereo by my bed, to give me specific control of the volume for those speakers, and a ghetto blaster was connected to all that to provide CD playing capability.
    The cable guys hated coming to my place (which they had to do frequently, due to the sega channel).

  14. I’ve got 500+ DVDs full of 70’s/80’s/90’s TV shows transfered from VHS – I have hundred more VHS tapes I haven’t even looked at yet. Most with commercials. I buy up old tapes when I see them and have been trading with other collectors for about 8 years. Nothing beats a 3 hours block of Cartoons with original commercials from the early 80’s. I’ve got a bit of everything…cartoons, movies, sports, news, gameshows, horror hosts, dramas, sitcoms….I think I’ve got some Chicago stuff too. I’ll ahve to look, I’ve got stuff from all over the country. I can try to find some free time to upload some stuff too.

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