Do you remember the Time of Video Rental Stores and VCR?

videotekaI remember the time when the first VCRs appeared. It was the culmination of technology at that time, a device that plays the recording on the tape. A true miracle of science and technology.

I bought my first VCR (brand “Funai”) at the incredible sale in a large supermarket of company “Hepok” in Otoka in Sarajevo. I paid it, as everyone else, on some kind of rates. It was almost the end of the eighties and inflation was eating everything with value, so that the first installment of the video was quite a sum, while for the amount of the final installment I could possibly buy bread or perhaps a pack of chewing gum.

Before that, we went to our friend Dzido to watch movies on his VCR, which his parents bought on a trip abroad. However, to have your own VCR, was relatively a matter of prestige at that time. To have your own video where you can watch a movie whenever you want and not depend on TV program, to be able to record a movie and watch it the next day or simply to take a look at the time on the digital clock, which was installed in almost every VCR.

In parallel with the sale of VCRs,  video rental stores emerged on our market as well. They were opening in the same manner as betting shops do nowadays. Every street and every neighborhood had at least one video rental store. Inside, whole complex of videotapes with printed names of the film or hand-written names on the side of the tape were standing neatly on shelves. We had our in Loris building. We used to wait for more than half an hour for our turn to return the tapes with films that we have already watched, and to pick the next few in cooperation with Darko, who worked in the video store.

Every day of renting was paid and some people used to rent 7-8 movies a day. So they used to spend entire weekend on the couch. Cameras represented a special kind of problem. After a VCR, relatively small cameras for recording appeared as well. At every wedding and funeral there was one cameraman who tried to record every important moment on the tape. I mean, recording weddings is somehow understandable, but recording the funeral has always been a bit strange to me. Who would like to watch a video on which everyone is crying and saying the last goodbye to their bellowed ones? But again, who knows?

We were almost always taking three films. Cartoon for our daughter (the Elm-Chanted Forest, which I still know by heart), a love movie for my wife and a thriller or crime movie for me. These three films a day were saving us from watching daily political situation, since Yugoslavia was slowly falling apart and we were looking for some consolation in the fact that there is a Steven Seagal who can fight against a whole division or Chuck Norris who makes order and discipline as a Texas Ranger on seven times bigger territory than Yugoslavia.

Years later, I am still keeping three videotapes on the top shelf.

On one tape is video record of football match Zeljeznicar – Videoton. On the other is celebration of the second birthday of our daughter back in 1990. The third is the Sorcerer’s Hat, the continuation of the Elm-Chanted Forest.

We did not manage to return it to the video store that fatal April 1992.

Because the video store remained on the other side of the street.

On the other territory.

(Source: Zvonimir Nikolic/Radiosarajevo.ba)

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