Tag Archives: cassette

I Met Johnny Winter At Time Traveler Records Tonight!

Tonight was full of “win.” Seriously, it was just one big giant “win.” Blues legend Johnny Winter, one of the greatest musicians ever, the Johnny Winter was live and in person at Time Traveler Records tonight! He signed autographs! He took pictures! He talked with people! And he couldn’t have been any nicer during all of it! Does it get any cooler than that?! No way can it get cooler than that.

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Of course, it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment surprise, we knew about this event last month. I, my brother, the loyal customers and of course the owner of Time Traveler, Scott Shepard, we all did our part to spread the word. This was pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime event! A music legend, at the store that’s basically in my backyard and that I’m at a good part of the week anyway? No way in hell was I missing this! And I wasn’t the only one, because a lot of very cool people turned out for Johnny Winter’s Time Traveler appearance. The shot above was taken when it was coming time for Mr. Winter’s tour bus to pull in (rest assured, there were far more people inside than outside), and man, you can’t believe the anticipation. I was so jazzed last night, and that anticipation only built as today went on, as you may well imagine. Fortunately, it was a nice day, a little cloudy but fairly warm.

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There’s the bus when it first pulled in. Johnny was set to appear from 5 PM to 6 PM, and he got there right on time (actually, a little earlier). I took as many pictures beforehand as I could because, hey, I didn’t know if I was going to be allowed pics on the bus. I didn’t need to worry, because Johnny and the driver that was handling all this were very accommodating as far as photographs went.

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Basically, Johnny stayed on the bus, we formed a line, and one-by-one went in to meet him. This is one of those beforehand-pics, a super-candid exclusive shot, because again, I didn’t know if I was going to be allowed a close-up picture with him or not.

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My Brother went ahead of me, and got an actual Blues guitar autographed! According to mah Bro, Johnny was actually impressed by the guitar, asking some of the finer details about it, and even said it was pretty. Too cool!

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I handed the driver my camera, and he took pics of me meeting the man himself. I brought a vinyl copy of Johnny Winter, his second album and Columbia debut, to get signed.

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There’s your Northeast Ohio Video Hunter with the legend himself! He couldn’t have been any nicer, and while I only brought the one album to have signed, others brought multiple things, and he signed them all, completely free of charge. And, if someone didn’t have a record or CD, there were free glossy photos you could have autographed. Fact of the matter is that not every artist would go to those lengths to make sure everyone leaves happy, and of course I already highly respected Johnny Winter as it is, but that just impressed me all the more.

One thing I wish I would have brought but just didn’t have was a Johnny Winter 8-track. I got the idea a few nights ago, which by then was too late to get one off Ebay, and I didn’t come across any around town. Why an 8-track? Sure, they’re loooong obsolete, but they have a great solid, retro feel to them. Maybe I’m not explaining that well, I know, but something about an autographed Johnny Winter 8-track just seems so right. No matter, because the album I did get signed is beyond awesome.

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There’s a Time Traveler “cast photo” with Johnny Winter! From left-to-right: Mr. Winter (obviously!), Scott, me, Bald Dave (he introduces himself as “Steve”), my Brother, and a cool guy I just met tonight, Mark Shapiro.

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Fall evenings get dark quickly, and there’s a shot of the bus outside as night was falling. I love the look of the nighttime sky in the background.

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It really does get dark quickly this time of year (as you may well imagine), but the weather was so nice that a lot of us wound up congregating outside. There was a real party atmosphere, and why shouldn’t there be? We all just met Johnny Winter!

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There’s my Brother with his newly-signed Johnny Winter guitar. The thing is really, really badass.

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And there’s my signed Johnny Winter album. Way too cool. At one point, almost certainly long ago, “Paige” decided to helpfully sign it, too.

What a night! Johnny Winter has a show at Tangier Restaurant & Cabaret later, which a lot of the Time Traveler guys are going to. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to that, but man, it was too cool of Mr. Winter to stop by beforehand. I can’t thank him enough for the experience, and I know I’m not alone in expressing gratitude.

The Official Johnny Winter Website: http://www.johnnywinter.net/

Time Traveler is located at 2615 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44223 and they can be reached at 330-923-4408.

 

Really Old Japanese VHS Copy Of Mothra Vs. Godzilla!

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Through the magic of box-digging (and boy, I had to do some serious diggin’ to root this one out last night), look what I has been done founded: a really old Japanese VHS release of 1964’s Mothra Vs. Godzilla, aka Godzilla Vs. Mothra, aka Godzilla Vs. The Thing. I picked this up in the Summer of 2001 during a visit to the G-Fest Convention in Chicago. There was a Japanese mall nearby in which I also picked up some vintage Japanese Ultraman tapes, but this particular video I found at the convention itself. I (and by “I” I mean “parents”) paid $25 for it. Too much? Not enough? I have no idea, but I do know that after several intensive hours minutes of online searching, I couldn’t find pics of any identical tapes anywhere out there in internet land.

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Unlike the Ultraman tapes, which I picked up more or less because they were something neat that I probably wouldn’t be coming across again anytime soon (traditionally, I’ve had pretty much zero interest in Ultraman, save for a period of time when I was verrrry young and some channel somewhere was playing one of the iterations of the franchise), I really, genuinely, instantly wanted this Godzilla tape. Let me explain: I still really like the original run of Godzilla movies from the 1950’s, 1960’s & 1970’s, but back then, I was a huge fan of all things ‘Zilla. I had to have been, since G-Fest, a convention dedicated to all things ‘Zilla, was in Chicago. That is, not exactly a 45 minute drive from Northeast Ohio. And man, G-Fest was like the end all, be all of everything that I liked at the time. I even got my VHS tapes of Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla 2000 (which we actually picked up at a Blockbuster in Chicago because I had neglected to pick up a copy prior, which I know may tarnish my former-megafan credentials, but so be it) autographed by the respective people involved with said movies.

But, I digress. Anyway, that’s the tape’s spine in the pics above. The smart money is on the film’s title being written on it. At the bottom of the spine is what I presume the cost of the tape was in Japanese Yen. Is saying “Japanese Yen” redundant?

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Since I neither speak nor read Japanese, I have no idea what any of this says or when this tape came out, but I’m guessing it was released at some point in the 1980’s. I get the impression this was a Japanese rental, and the somewhat degraded video quality seems to bear that out. Then again, most 100-year old VHS tapes don’t look that great anyway. At any rate, the tape is, as has been established, a Japanese copy of Mothra Vs. Godzilla, and it was put out by Toho Video, as one would/should expect. That being as it is, all of the dialog is, fittingly, in Japanese, and thus incomprehensible to me. No dubbing, no subtitles. Listen, I just barely passed French in high school, so don’t go asking me to learn a new language now. It’s a lost cause; an incapability I have learned to live with.

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So, anyone read Japanese? Click on the pics for an enlarged version and tell me what this all says! I hope my pictures display the writing semi-legibly. Have the past 12 years been a succession of sleepless nights due to my inability to learn the Japanese language? That’s for me to know and you to find out (but seriously, if anyone can translate anything in this post, please give us the lowdown in the comments). I think it’s safe to say the back of the box contains a description and various copyright info. I mean, some things are universal, aren’t they? Watch that not be at all what the back of the box contains, just to spite me. Wouldn’t be the first time a tape played mind games with your Northeast Ohio Video Hunter.

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There be the videa itself. I always dig the grey flip-doors of older cassettes, further evidence this is quite possibly from the 1980’s. Unless Japan did things differently, which is something I really have no idea about. The clamshell that houses the tape opens from the left, rather than the right as they do here in the states.

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There’s the side-label of the tape. I assume it simply reiterates the film’s title and other pertinent information. The level of wear on this label further leads me to believe the tape was a former rental in its homeland, but that’s based strictly on a gut feeling; there’s no factual basis for that thought whatsoever.

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Lookit this! Original inserts! Fronts and backs! They both look they could be mailed away. What for? I have no idea. The one on the left looks like some kind of warranty card, but the one on the right I haven’t a clue. Was it for the Toho Video catalog, perhaps? Or maybe it’s for some swanky item that couldn’t be had otherwise? Someone has to have the skinny. Considering this tape is probably fairly scarce nowadays, I’m guessing these cards are even rarer finds. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about them until I opened the clamshell for pictures. They were hidden under the tape, so good thing I had the desire to photograph the tape’s spine, or you may have never seen them.

Now for some actual video content…

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This is the first thing seen on the tape (beyond the standard blank black screen that is commonly found upon the start-up of most commercial tapes, I mean). I’m guessing it’s copyright information; “Don’t go copyin’ this tape!” and so on.

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The title, appropriately in Japanese. Perhaps the first screencap is a mention that the film is presented in widescreen, a fact that pleasantly surprised me. I was expecting a fullscreen edition, but widescreen is always welcome. I’m not sure how well my pictures show it, but as previously mentioned, there is some tape degradation, which, really, you have to expect. It’s an old tape, after all. Happily, it’s an NTSC VHS, meaning I can play it here in the U.S. with ease. No resorting to any funny business to get this fella running!

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Another look at the widescreen process, condition of the print, etc. Seems like a pretty nice, colorful print to me.

For those not in the loop (as we hepcats say), Mothra Vs. Godzilla is a 1964 entry in the Godzilla series, the fourth overall. As you may assume from the title, ‘Zilla fights Mothra, who is, fittingly, a big ass moth. It’s not just a good Godzilla film, but also, I feel, a good film, period. I’ve always loved this movie, from the first time I saw (and taped) it on Joe Bob Briggs’ MonsterVision (remember when TNT played good stuff like that?). I’m pretty lenient towards any Godzilla film from that original 1950’s to 1970’s run anyway (with the exceptions of Son of Godzilla and Godzilla’s Revenge; I’ll take goofy Godzilla Vs. Megalon over either of those any day), but even so, Mothra Vs. Godzilla is just a real strong, entertaining movie on its own. If you haven’t seen it, you’d be well-advised to purchase your own copy, preferably one with dubbing or subtitles in the language most understandable to you. Me? I’ll hold onto this Japanese VHS for dear life, but if I want to actually watch the movie, I think I’ll go with Joe Bob’s airing (come to think of it, I should probably get around to converting that tape to DVD sometime). Oh, and I have an old Paramount VHS of the U.S. version, too. Just thought I should throw that in somewhere.

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One final close-up of the front cover. Man, the more I look at it, the cooler it is. Nice and colorful, certainly eye-catching and appealing. I dig it, baby. Then again, I’m a sucker for stuff like this. This is a tape I’ve always been proud to own, but it was only upon digging it out last night that I remembered just how undoubtedly cool it really is. I got some neat things at that 2001 G-Fest (including a stylin’ original Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster lobby card), but I think this tape was ‘the big find.’

(I just did another internet search, and still came up with nothing on this tape. So, seriously, if anyone has any info about it they’d like to share, post it in the comments! Please!)

Curtis Mathes VHS VCR Model No. KV753 (1984)

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Alright, as I said in my Memorex S-VHS VCR post from earlier today, the Goodwill I got that at had a GE VHS VCR from 1984 that I had my eye on but passed up. Well, despite the crummy appearance of the VCR, my Northeast Ohio Video Hunter instincts got the better of me and I went back for it tonight. Unfortunately, that VCR really was in pretty nasty shape, so I passed it up again. That’s okay though, cause I found one I Iike even more…

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A Curtis Mathes VHS VCR, Model # KV753 from 1984, complete with DDDDolby! Like my S-VHS find earlier today, this was the bargain price of $5. Also like my S-VHS find earlier today, it appears that the door that went over the selectors is looong gone. Unlike my S-VHS find earlier today, my Curtis Mathes VCR appears to work.

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This fella was in the same electronics section my S-VHS VCR resided in, but I missed this one earlier today because someone was playin’ mind games and put a large dome-like light contraption (seriously, I don’t know what the hell it was) on top of it, thus obscuring your Northeast Ohio Video Hunter’s view. DIG?

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This unit is the same age as the GE VCR I went back to maybe buy, but besides the added bonus of not being covered in a battery acid-like substance (best case scenario), this VCR has the old-school channel selectors I love so, so much.

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3 = WKYC (NBC), 5 = WEWS (ABC), 8 = WJW (then CBS), 17 =  I.D. is escaping me (helpful, right?), 19 = WOIO, 23 = WAKC (ABC), 25 = WVIZ (PBS), 43 = WUAB, 49 = WEAO (PBS), 61 = WCLQ. Don’t know what 2, 4, 6 & 7 indicated.

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You can tell it’s ancient when it has the channel range selector on the top.

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There’s my two new acquisitions from today. They have nothing much to do with each other, but there they are, like pals. Combined, these two guys only cost $10 + tax, which is a small price to pay for this particular form of happiness. Also, it occurs to me that I don’t think I’ve ever owned a Curtis Mathes product before. Certainly not a VCR, at least.

So, there, another one for my steadily growing collection of old VCRs.

Memorex S-VHS Hi-Fi Stereo VCR – Model No. 16-705

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Look what I picked up at Goodwill today! An S-VHS VCR! I’ve never come across one of these “out in the wild” before! And for the low, low price of $5, no less! Goodwill is great about cheap VCRs, I’ve found some real winners there before. Today, they also had a Hi-Fi VHS VCR by GE from 1984 for the same price, but considering there was what looked like battery acid on the front as well as rust around where the tape loads, I didn’t even bother plugging that one in. Nevertheless, there’s a small part of me that still regrets not picking that one up anyway. But, I’ll survive; I bought a very high-end Panasonic Omnivision VCR from 1986 that works like a dream at the same Goodwill (also $5, if I recall correctly) last year, and since that’s not only my all-time favorite VCR “wild” find, but also my favorite VHS VCR period, well, in my mind there’s nowhere to go but down from there.

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Anyway, my newly-acquired Memorex S-VHS VCR. According to a bit of online research, this is apparently a “Model 35,” though all I see listed is the model number, 16-705. Looks like there was a door over the selectors on the front that is now missing, and there’s no date on it, but judging by the plastic casing, I’m guessing early-to-mid 1990’s, possibly late-1990’s (when did they stop making S-VHS units?). As a rule of thumb, I don’t like buying VCRs that new. By the 90’s, many VCRs were being made more on the cheap than they were in 80’s. So much so that with some of them, if they died, it was almost easier just buying a whole new one rather than having the old one repaired. That’s my general perception, though one of the best VCRs I ever bought (new) was a high-end VHS/DVD combo unit by Sony in 2005 that still creams anything you can buy new nowadays. So yeah, there were definite exceptions to my little rule. I’m guessing that because this is an S-VHS unit, it most likely cost more than your average VHS VCR back then (I mean, how could it not?), but I doubt this particular unit was any better than the models introduced in the U.S. in the late-1980’s. Don’t quote me on that, though.

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I was under the impression that S-VHS was just the VHS equivalent of the Super Betamax; that is, you could use regular VHS tapes to record programs in a higher quality than a normal VHS VCR. But, it seems that’s not quite the case. You needed specific S-VHS cassettes to take advantage of the improved recording quality. According to Wikipedia, you could use a regular VHS tape, and the recording would look a bit better, but it would also become unwatchable after several months. Keep in mind that I have no first-hand experience in using an S-VHS VCR, I can only go by what I’ve read, so if I’ve got something a little wrong, go easy on me.

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Alas, this unit may not work. Whatever tape you put in, the machine spits right back out, thankfully without eating it. Now, this may be because I don’t have any S-VHS tapes, only normal VHS cassettes, and the VCR recognizes that (however, from how I understand it, the machine should be able to *play* regular VHS tapes). Since there were differences, albeit apparently small differences, between the builds of the two cassettes, this makes sense. However, upon plugging the VCR in, it makes an audible ‘whining’ noise, which changes pitch slightly when “power” is pressed. I have no idea if this is normal for these VCRs or not. I knew about the machine spitting the tape out before I bought it (of course I plugged the thing in a grabbed a random tape lying about to test), and I actually put it back down, but my love of old VCRs got the better of me, and (obviously) I ended up buying it. Like I said, I’ve never come across one of these before, and cheap casing or not, I do actually like the look of the thing.

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If this was a VCR that took regular VHS tapes but recorded in higher quality, I would have considered having it repaired and regularly using it (it has S-Video inputs! I could hook this up to my usual “recording” TV if I wanted!), but as it stands, it’s just another cool addition to my ever-growing VCR collection.

Vintage Sears Stereo Eight Track AM/FM Clock Radio

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Ah, eight track players. I do loves ’em. This is a Sears AM/FM stereo eight track clock radio, model # 317.23450 050. I don’t have a year, but the the sticker says the manufacturing date was “A 0371G”. I don’t know what that means, but just by the looks of this thing, how can it not be from the 1970’s?

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In addition to state-of-the-art eight track tape playing capabilites, this cutting-edge piece of technology is also a clock radio. Not only can you easily tell what time it is at any given moment, but you can also listen to your favorite AM or FM radio stations! In stereo, no less!

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Perhaps against all odds, this thing not only still works, but it sounds pretty good. It may not be the most dynamic form of stereo you’ve ever heard, but really, not bad all things considered. You can balance between the right and left channels, as well as the bass and treble. Revolutionary!

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Part of this particular machine’s appeal, at least to me, is the fact that it vaguely resembles an Atari 2600. I have no idea if it predates the 2600 or not, but at any rate, the design of this beast is beautifully retro. Then again, maybe my love of fake woodgrain is clouding my judgement.

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‘Course, it all comes down to whether the eight track player works or not. This is actually the second one I’ve owned. The first, while ostensibly high-endier (?), had something wrong with it that played every tape at a too-fast speed (you haven’t heard Jim Croce until you’ve heard him as a chipmunk). Believe it or not, though, this player runs really nicely. That Jerry Lee Lewis tape, despite being an ancient Pickwick budget compilation, sounded pretty decent. The only fault I saw (er, heard) was that while the eight track’s channels 1, 2, and 4 sounded fine, when playing channel 3, I could hear some of channel 2 ‘bleeding’ into the background. Since I’m by no means an expert on eight tracks, I have no idea if this is a fault on the part of the player or the tape.

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On the left, you can see you were able to hook this up to whatever the hell it was supposed to be hooked up to. On the right, a list of all the crap this thing can do. Revolutionary!

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Yeah, it’s obsolete as all get out, but I dig this ancient piece of technology. I’m seriously tempted to plug this thing in by my bed, set the clock & alarm, and fall asleep to the sweet, sweet sounds of…something 1970’s, I guess.

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Or, perhaps, Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, as suggested by Batman and The Noid, apparently.