I picked this beast of a unit up earlier today. I actually found it at a little thrift shop a bit over a month ago, but I didn’t think I had enough money on me to purchase it right then. Electronics like this don’t move very fast there, so I figured there was a better than good chance it would still be there today. Obviously, it was, in the exact spot I left it, probably because it weighs roughly a thousand pounds.
There’s no date on it, but apparently it hails from 1979. So, yeah, really early VCR. Just one look at it will tell you that. This thing is huge. I actually have an RCA VBT-200, the very first VHS VCR released in the U.S., from 1977, and it is, of course, of similar mighty heft (the VBT-200, however, has the manual tuner knobs on the front, a charming feature of the earliest VHS players, whereas this unit, sadly, does not). Look, I’m no muscleman, but I’m also not a weakling, but trust me when I say this thing heavy as hell.
The pricetag said $20, which I would have had no problem paying, except I couldn’t get the top-loader to pop up. So, while it powered up, I couldn’t really tell if the thing worked at all or not. So, I got it for $10, a price I’m perfectly happy with. Hell, I’d probably have paid the full $20 either way just because I like this thing so much.
As you can see from the screenshot above, I did eventually get the damn thing to open, and believe it or not, it loads, plays, rewinds and fast forwards without mauling the tape (Napoleon Dynomite on VHS lives to see another day!). And this thing has A/V jacks, which frankly, I had no idea were being used as early as ’79. The two “out” jacks were colored black, which I don’t have cords for, and I couldn’t get a pic to show up with my regular RCA cords. So, does the thing work or not? The world may never know.
Also, there’s microphone inputs and it only records in SP or LP. Just thought I should fit that valuable info in somewhere.
There’s the General Electric 9-7675 VCR from 1987 that I talked about back on March 30th sitting on top of the Quasar for comparison. It’s bulk is considerably less in every way imaginable. In the background, you can see The Creeping Terror happily playing on the TV.
I don’t know how much this Quasar originally retailed for, but VCRs were pretty expensive in the early days. Like, over $1000 expensive, and boy, you sure got your money’s worth. We’re talking about a veritable tank here. I could probably wing a bowling ball at this thing and it’d come out still looking like a champ. Which would be a nice change of pace from the VCRs you can currently get at Wal-Mart. Look at them cross-eyed and they’ll practically explode.
Oh, and this beast generated a lot of heat and whatnot, and I think my basement is going to smell like ancient electronics for a month, now.