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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

A Death in The Family Keeps Me From My Favorite Classic Films

My VCR began to chew on my cherished films and finally failed completely. A sad event made all the sadder by the long relationship – more than 35 years – and the fact that my film library was more than fifty percent VCR. There are so many things I do not have on DVD. I could of course hunt the stores for a VCR, I am sure I could find a new or at least a new to me machine. But like many things that were good, and whose time is past, I have decided to let go and embrace the newer technologies. I do know there are things out there trying to make the DVD obsolete, but I am not quite up to that yet. Give an old lady a break.

The difficult decision was made. Christmas Eve I sorted the drawer. There are some VCR tapes I need to have converted. The Specht family on Family Feud and being kissed by Richard Dawson, the twins on Concentration, Carrie on Who Wants to be a Millionaire are just a few of the blackmail… er, precious memories I want to save. But what do I do with my own eclectic collection of classics? It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Charlie Brown’s Christmas for starters. The films run the gamut from The Godfather to Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, spaghetti westerns to My Fair Lady, The Apartment to Rear Window. I had several sets of Star Wars bought individually and in box sets. There was a well worn copy of the first Indiana Jones (the following adventures of Indiana are on DVD), a totally worn out copy of 1776 (I do have two DVDs of the film, which I think should be required watching by everyone on July 4th), and an often watched Trail of the Lonesome Pine with a young and beautiful John Wayne.

Shawshank Redemption, Mr. Deeds go to Town, Father Goose, and Sabrina (the original and in my mind best one). The list included close to fifty favorites collected over decades and cherished. I live on the Oregon coast where the wind often has the cable out, on those days I hold my own classic film festivals. I did not wish to invest in a VCR, but neither could I just round file the films that have brought me so much pleasure. So, I piled my treasures into two big canvas bags and took myself off to the local Video store – Yes we do have one of those wonderful emporiums of fantasy.

I left the bags in the car. They were heavy, why carry them in if the proprietor did not want my offering. I should have had more faith; my orphans were welcomed with glee.

“I know just who will want to see this,” the store owner said, lifting out Pride and Prejudice.

I left, not quite tearful, but thoughtful about all the joy the films had brought me, and feeling good about the joy they could now continue to bring to those whose VCR is still hale and hearty. Now, I think I will check out the DVD selection on Amazon, I have space that needs filling.

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