Jemgirl and the great video store goldmine – Part 1

20 Jun

Several months ago, Daniel and I stumbled across an old independent video store we had never been to before.  Upon entering, we discovered aisles and aisles of VHS tapes, as far as the eye could see. It is so rare these days to come across a video store that has a large variety of tapes in stock.

We headed straight for the kids/family section.  Popples! Care Bears! Pound Puppies! Strawberry Shortcake! Voltron! they had a little of everything. And not just a single copy of each, oh no, most of the iconic 80s series had an offering of several volumes available.  I was ecstatic.  Even better were the rental prices, which were next to nothing. So we walked out of there with a huge stack of tapes, which made for a good weekend.

We continued this new tradition a couple more times,  proudly cashing-in on the untapped plethora of 80’s animated goodness.  Unfortunately one time some woman made the mistake of embarrassing me by saying it was a shame I wasn’t getting anything for myself, which, me being a sensitive girl, was upsetting.  But I bounced right back, and discovered it was actually a pretty cool place.  A couple of the other employees who worked there were glad to see someone checking the tapes out, and agreed that they were now in fact rare treasures.

I found this store in a rather unpleasant way. My grandma was in the hospital, and I discovered this store en route to seeing her.  It was an upsetting time for me. Discovering this nostalgic little place seemed like a time warp (cue the singing!)  everytime I went back.  I think it was God’s way of bringing me a little comfort via magnetic tape and plastic clamshell boxes.

Thanks to my amazing boyfriend’s online discovery, we discovered that this store was closing. Which was sad, but exciting.  It was an opportunity to make the contents of that video store my own.   I loved going to video stores when I was a kid. Not like today when the only option you have is whatever crappy new release title DVDs  you find at Blockbuster that you’re sure to forget by next week.

Remember how great it was to be able to pick up several tapes at once on a weekend as a special?  My usual routine as a little kid was to stop at Crazy Mike’s video for some Jem and Rainbow Brite tapes and then go next door to Safeway for pizza or a frozen kid’s meal.

I also loved it when you’d be able to buy those little individual bags of warm popcorn for $1 (amazingly enough there still is one small store near me that does this) .  Such good memories.  Since this store that was closing was the closest thing I had to recreating that experience from my childhood (except without Jem tapes, unfortunately) I decided to throw logic out the door and stock pile as many tapes as I could. Nevermind where I was going to put them.  If it gets to be too much, I suppose we could go ahead and fill the entire bedroom with VHS tapes.  But, there really isn’t anywhere else for us to sleep. And that couch really isn’t big enough for two people.  Here are the results of my round.  I purchased a total of 36 VHS tapes.

I’ve broken them down in to smaller categories for better visibility.

VHS tapes

My findings in the comedy section were quite good.  Rare Disney clamshells,  Terrible forgotten sequels, and some undiscovered made for TV gems.   An excellent example of your basic video store classics.  Speaking of which, there is rumor that my beloved Daniel may perhaps be considering a return to blogging focusing on that very subject.  God knows I have enough ammo for him to get started with. I know I’m not the only one who thinks that would be awesome!

VHS desciptions L to R:
Hiding Out with Jon Cryer 1987
Like father like son Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron 1987
The boy who could fly, 1986 with 2 child sitcom stars for the price of one! Mindy Cohn and (drumroll, please) Our man, Fred Savage!
A night in the life of Jimmy Reardon starring River Phoenix 1988
Happy Together a.k.a. the other movie titled after a 60’s pop song that Patrick Dempsey was in.
TRON Classic. Isn’t that such a great clamshell box? I love the cover art.
Night Crossing a rather obscure 1981 Disney film.

The Peanut Butter Soultion 1985 family fantasy
Heart and Souls with Robert Downey Jr. 1993* (because Daniel keeps telling me I should see it)
Rock and Roll High School Forever 1991 sequel to Rock and Roll High School starring none other than.. Corey Feldman!
Big girls don’t cry.. they get even! 1992. I picked this up only to confirm that it is the same movie that I’ve been trying to remember the title of for about 5-10 years now. It is pretty bad as I recall. Not bad in a good way, bad in a ‘I’d rather watch My super sweet sixteen ‘way.
The Night Before Keanu Reeves and Lori Laughlin. 1988
High School USA This is my biggest prize out of the lot. 1983 TV movie starring (again, drumroll please..) Nancy McKeon, MICHEAL J. FOX (we love him. ) Todd Bridges and Dana Plato among others. I think this one might be getting its own seperate entry upon viewing.
Mannequin Too: On the move! 1991 sequel to Mannequin starring Kristy Swanson.

There is so much here that its probably too much for one post, but for now I’ll give a brief overview of the Kid-Vids I picked up, too:

VHS

Captain Planet vol. 1
Noozles I loved watching this on Nick Jr.
Pirates of Dark Water
Hanna Barbera All-stara: Dino and Juliet
Yogi’s great escape
Pound Puppies
My pet monster (animated series)
Wonderful World of Disney
Care Bears
G.I. Joe the movie ( a Celebrity’s Just for kids release. 🙂 yay! )
Blinky Bill
Faeries A Family Home Entertainment release. I’ve never heard of it, but I just noticed on the IMDB page that Brian Froud was involved, so now I’m really intrigued to see it.
Popples
Care Bears family treasure chest (in an oversized Kideo Video box)
Voltron
Rainbow Brite’s San Diego zoo adventure A rare live action TV special featuring Rainbow Brite costume characters from 1983.

Last but not least is the Christmas section.  I LOVE Christmas, and one of my favorite Christmas time traditions is to watch as many holiday related movies and specials as possible.

Tiny Toons: It’s a wonderful Christmas special
Doug’s secret Christmas
All I want for Christmas
Yogi Bear’s All-star comdedy Christmas caper
The Bear who slept through Christmas
Benji’s very own Christmas story Excellent Children’s Video library clamshell release.

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15 Responses to “Jemgirl and the great video store goldmine – Part 1”

  1. Daniel85 June 20, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    Awesome!

    Kinda sad that the store is closing, but at least now the VHS tapes will go to someone who can really appreciate them, rather than yellowing untouched on a shelf.

    I’m glad you got something to add to the Fred Savage Criterion Collection. And random Michael J. Fox stuff is always good.

    I can’t wait to get back and watch some of these gems with you!

  2. Reaper June 20, 2008 at 1:17 pm #

    Oh wow! I noticed you hadn’t had any entries in awhile so I KNEW something big was coming up, lol.

    Although this confused me…..”Unfortunately one time some woman made the mistake of embarrassing me by saying it was a shame I wasn’t getting anything for myself, which, me being a sensitive girl, was upsetting. But I bounced right back, and discovered it was actually a pretty cool place.”

    Was she making a crack about how many VHS tapes you were buying or was she implying that she thought you were buying them all for a daughter/niece/etc? I’ve gotten that before I usually just laugh it off or make an even more jagged remark towards them if they’re trying to be malicious.

    Really cool though, my favorite entry on here so far. I just love looking at the covers as some of those still aren’t out yet on DVD and the sun weathered look gives them character.

    Aren’t too many mom and pop video stores around here anymore and like you said the big chain ones don’t have much in the way of anything made before the year 2003.

    Another thing that I really liked about small video stores (and maybe future blogging material) is those old standees/posters from back in the day, nothing like getting spooked by a talking standee of Anne Ramsey via Throw Momma from the Train to greet you when you came in. XD

  3. crommo June 22, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    You must get as many of the videos converted to DVD as possible. It’s very important, because videos are nearly becoming extinct. I fear that they’ll just disappear one day, or something. They must be backed-up!

  4. Reaper June 23, 2008 at 8:15 am #

    “You must get as many of the videos converted to DVD as possible. It’s very important, because videos are nearly becoming extinct. I fear that they’ll just disappear one day, or something. They must be backed-up!”

    Good call, there’s a lot of stuff on there that they edit out on the DVD versions- bumpers, intros, commercials, etc. and aside from buying bootlegs off e-bay, cons, swap meets, etc. there’s nowhere else to get them. : (

  5. Reaper June 23, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    I have a lot of shows that are missing just that in fact. I remember the original MOTU used to have bumpers every episode where the Sorceress would introduce the show and they’re one of my most vivid memories of the show.

    But due to licensing issues they didn’t release them on DVD but they are still availble on the VHS copies, so by that reasoning I’m sure the shows that Laura picked up have missing stuff on them too.

    For the record, the following shows mentioned above are NOT officially on DVD:

    Pirates of Dark Water (Great show, I remember there used to be a pirate craze in the early 90’s with this and Peter Pan and the Pirates and Hook)
    Popples (I used to confuse this with The Wuzzles when I was little)
    Rainbow Brite (Sunriser got a bootleg of this which she said is pretty good but for some reason its never been officially released)
    Pound Puppies (I remember this how had a terribly annoying theme song, lol)
    The Noozles (I remember watching this with the Adventure of the Little Koala, the last episode is supposed to be pretty depressing)
    Captain Planet (The animation in this was very Sunbow-esque and I have no idea why its not availble yet)
    My Pet Monster (One of Kanuck’s favorites, My friend had all the varaiations of the monster)

    I’m not as sure about the films but movies tend to be released more than TV shows (especially when it comes to animated ones). Of course I’m only going by the US releases as they’re notorious hardasses here when it comes to things like rights when overseas it seems to be much easier to obtain those rights and release long lost shows.

    There’s a lot of money to be had in getting all the rights to and releasing all the 80’s/90’s classics on DVD if anyone out there is listening. ; )

  6. Daniel85 June 23, 2008 at 5:19 pm #

    There’s a lot of cool random interstitial (if you can call it that, not being on TV and all) type stuff on early 90s Hanna-Barbera VHS releases. I remember them having trivia, and sometimes music videos set to animation pulled from episodes.

    I have a few Captain Planet and My Pet Monster VHSes. I also have the Pirates of Dark Water pilot episode/movie on VHS. Too bad those shows will probably never get DVD releases.

  7. Reaper June 23, 2008 at 6:06 pm #

    I doubt they’ll put those on DVD either. So far it seems that the only Hanna-Barbera stuff on DVD are from the 60’s and 70’s. I’d love to see them release Paw Paw Bears, Pac-Man, The Snorks, etc now that they’ve began to release their 80’s stuff wtih The Smurfs.

    I think it all boils down to who made the show, Warner has a deal with Rankin-Bass (which is why their going to release Silverhawks now) as well as Hanna-Barberra I believe so most if not all of their stuff will get released. Same with BCI Eclipse and Filmation and Shout! and DIC. I’m really not sure who did Planet, Monster, or Dark Water but they might have been now defunct animation companies which can be a bitch to find the rights too.

    Same reason why Shout! never released MASK as they couldn’t locate who had the rights and didn’t want to spend the money to find out. Which is a shame because that show was the 80’s with its crazy ass veichles (ie: Transformers), Wild technology (Ie: GI Joe), and classic racial sterotype characters (Ie: Hulk Hogan’s Rock and Roll Wrestling).

  8. Laura June 23, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    ‘You must get as many of the videos converted to DVD as possible. It’s very important, because videos are nearly becoming extinct. I fear that they’ll just disappear one day, or something. They must be backed-up!’

    Ah, if it isn’t the infamous crommo, lol. Welcome to my blog. Yeah, VHS tapes certainly are becoming a rarity. I guess I’ll be getting a lot of use out of my Sony DVD recorder this summer. Still, even though logic tells me that after they’re transferred that I should part with the tapes… I find that more often than not, I can’t do that, lol. I think Daniel and I should have an entire room in our house someday dedicated to obsolete media formats. I’d love to have a VCR, CED Videodisk player and a Betamax all lined up together. I tried to accomplish a similar effect a couple years ago by hooking up an Atari, NES and SNES in my room, lol.

    ‘Great show, I remember there used to be a pirate craze in the early 90’s with this and Peter Pan and the Pirates and Hook’

    I loved watching Peter Pan and the Pirates! Oh, FOX… you are so crappy now, lol. I remember I had a little Tinkerbell doll from that series. Looking back I feel like that is a bit obscure… I can’t really remember there being merchandise for that show.

    ‘There’s a lot of cool random interstitial (if you can call it that, not being on TV and all) type stuff on early 90s Hanna-Barbera VHS releases. I remember them having trivia, and sometimes music videos set to animation pulled from episodes.’

    Hm, yeah.. I loved that. I remember getting those tapes from the library when I was really little. For some reason I have an association between HB VHS tapes and Sprite.. and Goldfish crackers. That was my ultimate VHS snack. Mm.. I think Goldfish are just one of the best childhood snacks in general. Now I’m reminded of my random association between Popples and Peanut Buster Parfaits, lol. It was a huge treat for me.. I remember I’d get the hour long Popples video from the store and stop by DQ on the way home. Mmmm, I want som DQ! I haven’t been in ages.. we should go when you get home. Oh, one more thing.. all the little bonus things on those HB tapes sorta remind me of how they have those little animated ads for the concession stand at the Drive-in. Speaking of which, we should totally go to the Drive-in this summer. Wow… I really do talk a lot.. lol.

  9. Daniel85 June 23, 2008 at 9:26 pm #

    If we go to the drive-in, though, you know I’m not gonna be able to keep my hands to myself.

  10. Reaper June 24, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    “Ah, if it isn’t the infamous crommo, lol. Welcome to my blog. Yeah, VHS tapes certainly are becoming a rarity. I guess I’ll be getting a lot of use out of my Sony DVD recorder this summer. Still, even though logic tells me that after they’re transferred that I should part with the tapes… I find that more often than not, I can’t do that, lol. I think Daniel and I should have an entire room in our house someday dedicated to obsolete media formats. I’d love to have a VCR, CED Videodisk player and a Betamax all lined up together. I tried to accomplish a similar effect a couple years ago by hooking up an Atari, NES and SNES in my room, lol.”

    Excellent, even if you throw out the tapes though after their converted the boxes/covers are well worth keeping. I actually have that same configuration set up at my place and its pretty much a fire hazard but at least I’ll be killed by what I love when it sparks up and burns me alive. : )

    “I loved watching Peter Pan and the Pirates! Oh, FOX… you are so crappy now, lol. I remember I had a little Tinkerbell doll from that series. Looking back I feel like that is a bit obscure… I can’t really remember there being merchandise for that show.”

    Right you are, it was one of the very first original animated shows on FOX along with The Super Mario Brothers Super Show, I remember this because it used to air right before……..The Wonder Years.

    “Hm, yeah.. I loved that. I remember getting those tapes from the library when I was really little. For some reason I have an association between HB VHS tapes and Sprite.. and Goldfish crackers. That was my ultimate VHS snack. Mm.. I think Goldfish are just one of the best childhood snacks in general. Now I’m reminded of my random association between Popples and Peanut Buster Parfaits, lol. It was a huge treat for me.. I remember I’d get the hour long Popples video from the store and stop by DQ on the way home. Mmmm, I want som DQ! I haven’t been in ages.. we should go when you get home. Oh, one more thing.. all the little bonus things on those HB tapes sorta remind me of how they have those little animated ads for the concession stand at the Drive-in. Speaking of which, we should totally go to the Drive-in this summer. Wow… I really do talk a lot.. lol.”

    I do that too and that reminds me you need a blog about all the lost food of the 80’s like Bonkers and Ghostbusters cereal. Also how much crappier Trix tastes now that they’ve changed it from balls to fruits. : (

    “If we go to the drive-in, though, you know I’m not gonna be able to keep my hands to myself.”

    Dan’s nickname in HS was “Hands Solo” after all ; )

  11. Reaper June 24, 2008 at 8:00 am #

    Also I just saw an ad on VH1 for “I Love the New Millienum” WTF?! Its not even over yet and there’s still a year and a half more to go. The funny thing is that you know most of it will be all about the re-hashes, remakes, and “re-imaginings” of stuff from the 80’s/90’s that’s out now.

  12. Shane June 26, 2008 at 9:44 am #

    Hi Jemgirl, nice collection. I’m very impressed. I would love to see Totally Minnie again after 20 years. Can you tell me how I could get a good copy of it? I’d be happy to pay a fair price. Thanks…
    Shane

  13. Reaper June 26, 2008 at 1:52 pm #

    I just noticed that Wall*E comes out this Friday, perfect timing for Dan’s arrival. lol

  14. Brian July 29, 2008 at 5:45 am #

    What store is it and where? I’d love to look through the VHSes!

  15. Laura July 29, 2008 at 7:11 am #

    The store was Atomic Video in Seatac, but unfortunatley it has already closed. Their going out of business sale took place about a month ago.

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