Thursday, September 28, 2006


I remember the day I was introduced to the Video Cassette Recorder. It was in late 1985. I saw an ad in the paper that you could rent one for 2 days for $9.99. You have to understand this was a totally new way of viewing entertainment. To be able to watch any movie you wanted at any time you wanted was unheard of. For decades, we had been ruled by what the TV broadcasters put on the air. Now there was this machine that could play movies.

Needless to say, I was interested, so I talked my mom into going with me to Sarnia East Video so that I could rent a VCR. Remember renting those things? How they were put in a case that had a handle on it so that you could lug it back home with you? I walked in the video store and was impressed. Cool posters all over the place. Hundreds of videos to choose from. I loved the poster for "The Terminator" (and rented the movie a few weeks later). In the end, I rented 2 movies that I had seen before: "The Empire Strikes Back" (how shocking) and the Henry Thomas-Dabney Coleman movie "Cloak & Dagger".

I also remember when stores used to have you sign a copy of the rental agreement each time you rented a movie. My stepdad had an account at the local grocery store Midtown Foods and had me and my siblings put on it so that we could rent movies whenever we wanted. Our stepdad had a different name than ours (obviously), so the boys would always sign the rental agreement with their actual first name, but my stepdad's last name. Those kids, I swear.


By the early summer of 1985, living with my father and siblings had begun to take its toll. I'm a fairly quiet, laid back person and preferred a more peaceful environment in which to spend my time. Now, my brothers couldn't help it that they were loud and liked to wrastle. I just needed some space for myself. Fact is, I wasn't enjoying my time at junior high, either, so I was quite happy when my dad and mom decided that I should move in with my mom. This was in early July '85. I would now have the peace and time for reflection that I was seeking.

Just as I was moving in, there was a movie coming out that I was looking forward to seeing. It had 3 major things going for it: Steven Spielberg had a hand in making it, it had some sci-fi elements, and it starred one of my favorite TV actors. The movie was scheduled to open on July 3rd. I asked my mom on July 2nd if I could go see the movie, "D.A.R.Y.L." (The theatre was only 6 blocks away) that evening and then the Spielberg movie the next day. She said, "No" :P and to this day, I've never seen "D.A.R.Y.L." (I think it's about this kid who's a robot).

July 3rd came and I was pumped. I walked to the movie theatre and saw this poster displayed:

Both my mom and I went to the first showing that evening. I told my mom that I would prefer to sit on my own (Her twin girls requested the same of her when they were my age). I had a favorite seat now in which I liked to watch movies. It was located way in the back. There were two seats and a space where someone in a wheelchair could sit. The row had an incline so that I could see over anybody (Remember this was long before stadium seating). There were quite a few people at the movie that night. And I enjoyed every minute. I was a big fan of Huey Lewis at the time, so it was good to hear their music in it (Huey Lewis also had a cameo in the movie).

I went to the movie at least 6 or 7 times over the summer and it was interesting because on many occasions, I would see people that I knew at the show (friends of my parents and their kids, in particular) and they always spotted me because I was sitting in such a conspicuous place.

"Back to the Future" wound up being the top grossing movie of 1985.

I was a movie-going freak that summer not only going to "BTTF" numerous times, but also seeing "Fletch" at least twice, "European Vacation" at least twice, "A View to a Kill", "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", "Teen Wolf" (also with Michael J. Fox), John Candy in "Summer Rental", Disney's "Black Cauldron", "Weird Science", "Silverado", and Tom Hanks in "The Man With One Red Shoe" at least three times (Don't ask).

And I would be remiss if I didn't tell you my 2nd favorite movie of 1985, "The Goonies". It came out just a few weeks before "Back to the Future".


I don't eat much candy these days, but as a youngster, I ate quite a bit of the stuff. One of my favorites was Chuckles, the jelly candy that has 5 flavors in each package. Those things were tasty. When I went to movies in the early 80's, I was rarely without Junior Mints. In the mid 80's, my fave was Tart & Tinys (they were, indeed, quite tart). I remember the day I was introduced to candy cigarettes. My mom's sister offered me a pack at the Lake Winona park. I was thinking, "What the hell? Candy...cigarettes?" I looked at my mom and she said that it was OK for me to take them. Needless to say, I felt cool the rest of the day with those things hanging out of my mouth.