Around this time last year, I wrote this –
and after purchasing the 2013 Christmas edition of Radio Times I saw this –
Today, our entire family met for our pre Christmas get together lunch and as always, talk between us led to Christmases past and the memories we share. I happened to mention that Star Wars was back on TV during the holidays and we were all in fits of laughter after my dad recounted the time we brought our first VCR.
My parents must have been rather flush that year because they’d just splashed out and purchased a brand new colour TV for Christmas. Not just any TV though, this one was huge. It had an ultra modern ‘wired’ TV control (woooooo) so no more getting up to change the channel (at the time just three!), had huge silver dials down one side and was covered in enough faux wood panelling to worry Atari.
Not only that, but they also hired (because they were still incredibly expensive at the time) a behemoth top loading Betamax VCR to record some of the Christmas TV shows and movies….the first being, Star Wars. The problem with these early machines was the considerable delay between pressing the record button and when the machine actually began recording anything to tape – It’s not surprising really judging by the amount of mechanical parts contained within that whizzed (and groaned) into action. Now a delay is quite o.k for ad free channels like the BBC but for the other channel which had commercial breaks during movies and you wanted to exclude from your recording, you had to be a dab hand at judging when an advertisement was about to end and guess if the next thing would be another advertisement or the film beginning again. Add to that the delay with the record button and you can imagine the nightmare it could be to get it right.
Now imagine me, brothers and sisters all sat excited after watching the first part of A New Hope and my dad at the helm of the VCR having fully read the instructions (he say’s) and finger and/or whole hand, poised over the massive record button during the commercial break.
The movie starts again but oh no he’s messed it up, he’s pressed the rewind button by mistake. It’s on, it’s on and we’re all yelling and hollering and my dad’s flapping and trying to guess how much he needs to fast forward to counterbalance the rewind and trying not to record over the previous section of the film, and we’re all freaking out as we’re missing the movie and the dog starts barking and somebody drops a glass and….you get the picture – pandemonium. Poor dad, dog house all day.
This second instance concerns my mum that very same Christmas. Whenever she would see my Dad press the VCR record button, she would stop dead in mid sentence if she happened to have been talking at the time. It was quite some time, through tears of laughter, did we finally tell her that you didn’t have to remain silent when recording off the TV 🙂
Here’s a look at this years RT cover. Christmas simply wouldn’t be complete without it.