Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Public Domain Videotapes

In trying to figure out how to get over my writer's block after only two posts, I figured it was time to get some inspiration. I found some in the most unlikely of places. Just like everyone else, I always set about making New Years Resolutions and, just like everyone else, I end up breaking them too soon after starting. One of my Resolutions is to go through as much of my "stuff" (I add the quotation marks because to most of you, it probably is all nothing but junk) and see what I feel like keeping, what I feel like giving away or selling, and what I feel like throwing away. A majority of my stuff will probably end up in the latter latter category (I know there's no such word as "lattest"). So then it dawned on me. I have these old videotapes that contain nothing but cheaply produced public domain cartoons that are probably older than most of the people I know (if you were born after the late 80's, this definetly applies to you). You're probably wondering to yourself, "What are public domain videos?" Up until very recently, I had no idea what they were either. In fact, I was convinced these were really bootleg copies of cartoons. Wait, why would they be considered bootleg if you buy them at the supermarket, and for reasonably cheap prices too. Why did I think they were bootleg? When else can you get a videotape that has both Mickey Mouse, Looney Tunes, and even Fleischer (the studio that brought us the early black & white Popeye cartoons) cartoons on them? To my surprise, these are actually legally made and sold at your local store. Well, I don't know so much about that now considering we buy everything on DVD now and videotape has gone the route of laserdisc, vinyl records, and 8-track tapes. Oh yeah, and Beta too! Anyway, these tapes are not considered bootleg but instead public domain. Public domain means they are no longer licensed by a certain company and so can be bought, shipped, sold, altered in any way that seems pleasing. If they wanted to include subliminal messages in their tapes, they could. So yes, you could be watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon and suddenly Bugs starts saying, "Reagan blows Nixon out of Satan's asshole!" Pardon me, I was using references of the time because, after all, these tapes are from the late 80's. Well anyway, as far as I know, I never encountered a message of any type like that, but I do wonder why I think Daffy is responsible for our National Debt crisis... Anyway, for further information on public domain, just click here. So, what am I to do with my bootleg.....I mean, public domain videos? Well, they are pretty cheap and the quality on most of them are pretty terrible. Besides, almost every one of them you can find on YouTube because, after all, they are public domain so the companies can't do anything about you posting them....unless you alter them and say Bill Maher is a Neo-Nazi who eats baby gorillas during the full moon every month when Neptune is aligned with the doomsday device that plays "Auld Lang Syne" right before it blows our universe to smithereens. However, if you said something like that, I don't think many will disagree with you. So anyway, much of yesterday was spent watching, or trying to watch these old videos before I did away with them. So now I present to you photos from some of my old public domain videotapes. Now, before I start, keep in mind that these were made without the consent of any company and didn't have any FBI Warnings. What we got instead was either a logo from whatever cheap company was producing them or something like this:
Yes, a message saying we need to adjust our tracking control for the best results. Most of the later VCRs did the tracking for you, but I mostly had ones where you had to manually do them. By the way, I apologize for the poor cutting I did when I was capturing the image. I'm new at photo capturing so give me a break!!!! Okay, okay, screen capture, but still, CUT ME SOME SLACK!
Here's the front to our first video. Yes it's a cheap image of Mickey Mouse wearing blue pants. I guess if he was wearing red pants it would be considered copyright infringement. I bet that's not even Mickey. It's probably his long-lost cousin Monty Mouse and he's pissed off because he has to do all the work and Mickey gets all the credit. Fuck Monty Mouse! If he didn't have such an attitude problem, Walt might have put him in his cartoons. Sorry Monty, but your blue pants and pink box design don't go well with us. Oh God, a PINK BOX???? You mean he's gay too????
Next we come across the back cover. Notice the cartoons they have in this set. The first two are Mickey Mouse black and white...okay, I'm not going to say classic because if they're public domain, they weren't good enough to be considered classic. The third one is a Felix the Cat cartoon. Not much to say about Felix. He was around before Garfield, before Heathcliff and I think even before Tom from Tom and Jerry. Yeah, he's an old cat, but he demands his respect because, hey, he can do magic so if you double cross him, he'll make you disappear and re-appear at the bottom of the Dead Sea after you yourself have been whacked off! Don't mess with the Felix!!!! The fourth cartoon is a classic....err, there I go again saying classic. The fourth cartoon is from Warner Brothers. It's Tweety's first appearance. Gee, why wouldn't they want to preserve Tweety's debut? Probably because he's naked so the Warner Brothers brass denys them ever allowing a naked bird on television (my guess as to why Big Bird has never been seen without his feathers). Anyway, his two nemesis' are named Babbit and Catfellow. Yes, an obvious reference to Abbott and Costello. Give me a break, I do know my Comedy History. Anyway, Tweety wins in the end so sorry if I gave away the ending for some of you. Finally, we get an old boring Max Fleischer cartoon called Dick Whittington's cat. I don't even feel like talking about that one so if you want to see it, just click here Now you may be asking yourself, "Why are you describing the cartoons when all we can see is the back of the box? Why not show some screen images?" I don't know whey, sue me! Hey, at least the back gives you a description of each cartoon and what's on the tape so you know that I'm not lying.
Now we get to the actual videotape itself. Boy, talk about cheap! They don't even print out their labels. That handwriting you see if actually my handwriting! Also, notice that the label says "Viking Video" yet the logo on the box is "Troy Video." Guess Troy was so cheap they didn't even bother printing their own logo on their labels. Well, I had more videos to show, but since I wrote so much as it is, I'm going to have to continue this on another blog. Oh how I hope this cures my writer's block. That means more blogs more often. Stay tuned, or should I say, keep following????

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