The William Morris Project: 2014 | The Death of Videos

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The William Morris Project

The other night the Mister and I went out to dinner. Next to our favorite sushi restaurant is a video store in the process of shutting its doors. This is hardly a surprise. If Hollywood Video, Blockbuster, or any of the other video giants couldn’t make it, a privately owned store didn’t stand a chance. Do you remember the process of renting videos? First, you got in your car and drove to the video store. Timing was crucial if you wanted to get the best movies. Then you walked down the aisles until you saw something you really liked. If you were lucky, behind the video sleeve was a hard plastic case with a video/DVD for you to rent, take home, and then forget to return.

Seeing the last video store in town close down started an interesting conversation as we waited for our table. When will videos disappear? The rental stores are gone. How long until videos disappear, too? It seems like the movie video industry is always trying to stay one step ahead of extinction. Now, everything is Blu-Ray. We wanted to buy the complete Star Wars saga, but in order to do that we had to buy a Blu-Ray player. What a racket. (I think we could have bought some adapter something or other to make our DVD player work, but we just burned our money on a Blu-Ray player because our DVD player is at least 7 years old and we’re dumb when it comes to technology stuff.)

Movies, 1

Movies, 2

Movies, 3

Movies, 4

I had the boys go through our small video collection with the demise of video in mind. This is the 3rd time we’ve purged videos. Our DVD collection is barely large enough to call a collection, and it hasn’t grown in the seven years we’ve had Apple TV. On the rare occasions we liked a movie enough to own it, we bought/downloaded it via iTunes. It’s stored on our Apple TV. <---Disney elves make it appear on our TV when we press a button, is how I understand the process. My boys are sentimental pack rats, but I was surprised to see how much they wanted to donate. I'm the one who insisted we keep Dumbo, The Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp, and Peter Pan. Disney vault! Another racket! We reduced our "collection" by 25%. Not bad! I asked the Mister if we needed to start replacing everything with Blu-Ray. He said no, because eventually that will disappear, too. He thinks everything will be on a computer/in a cloud/magically appear on our TVs because eventually computers will read our minds. Ugly Dachshund

The only movie I’m going to buy–and I’m going to buy it on iTunes and store it on the Apple TV–is The Ugly Dachsund. This is one of Mikey’s favorite movies, or at least it was for most of his toddler/preschool days. We have the case, but the movie is missing. Mikey was nostalgic when he saw the cover and wanted to watch it, so I think buying it is a safe bet. It’s an old movie, one we got for free when we bought Lady and the Tramp. His favorite movie plot hasn’t changed much since he was 3 years old: cute dogs being funny and mischievous.

Here’s the trailer. (Gird your loins for 1966 stereotypes.)

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    I think the Mister is onto something … the cloud or some other ethereal thing will / is overtaking the media world. Last weekend I had to replace my pooped iMac and the new ones aren’t even available with integrated CD / DVD players {let alone burners}. The “genius” helping me extolled the virtues of just downloading what you want, easy peasy. The more I learn about leaky apps and stuff the more I appreciate a disc-based movie, software, or game. I bought the add-on CD player so at least I could finish digitizing my audio CD’s so I didn’t have to repurchase that music. I think the cover art on movies etc. could be used for some super cute DIY projects (I mean Dumbo is so sweet) and I wonder if that’s what folks purchase old media for at thrift stores etc … that or they have super talented repair men that can keep the aging players running and connected to new computers / tv’s.

  2. Anna L says

    Oh my goodness, I’m in the same boat with all of my old videos of Disney movies – especially because they have their silly “vault” and you can’t just go replace them when you want with DVDs or purchase them digitally. I’m so nostalgic for some of them and still have a VHS as part of my DVD player, so I hang on to them. Not entirely William Morris friendly, but I want them. :)

  3. Susan says

    Your young man has exceptional taste. The yarn scene in the Ugly Dachshund makes it worth the price of the movie. Plus, I know first hand that yarn and dachshunds aren’t good together. Our library still accepts videos in donation. Now, to convince Himself that the video collection he doesn’t watch needs to go!

  4. Susan G says

    I hear ya about keeping the Disney movies. As we replaced our VHS tapes with DVDs over the years, I am the one who was buying the Disney favorites. Still am (because of that whole Disney vault racket) and the girls are 16 and 24!

      • says

        That would be great if that’s true for us! I want to say that my husband read in the directions that ours couldn’t do that, but I’m hoping I’m imaging things.

    • Karla says

      We have a mix of DVDs and Blu-Rays that we can play on the Playstation 3. The Blu-Rays don’t play on the DVD player though, so we got rid of it and only use the PS3. We do still have a working VCR, but just kept a few older tapes that are hard to find and we’d like to keep like Disney’s North Avenue Irregulars.


  5. Shannon says

    Takes me back to the days of having to not only rent the VHS tapes but the machine to play them on too. Movie night always involved a lot of swearing from my dad while he was trying to hook up that “contraption.” Good times, good times! 😀 We have one drawer dedicated to our DVDs and as long as it doesn’t outgrow its space I don’t care whats in there.

  6. Hazel says

    My 10 year old daughter was watching the trailer over my shoulder…guess what film we’re going to be looking for?!
    I think she shares Mikey’s idea of a perfect film plot- cute dogs, puppies getting tangled in yarn and a custard pie- what more do you need from a movie?

  7. Karen Z says

    We have a blu ray dvd player and it plays all of our regular dvd’s too.
    My kids love those old Disney movies.

  8. says

    OMG, I was just running the same experiment on puppies this morning, the virtues of a good extra-carbo-molten-lactose formula have all but been lost since the mid-60s!!

    We were talking about the dvds the other day, all but gone the way of the Dodo. My father-in-law owned a small vhs/dvd rental store, we watched its quick demise. It was a fast and foreseeable end, and he was well-prepared. He made a killing selling off his specialty items. That was pretty well a decade ago now, seems like a distant memory.

    We did pull out our record player just before Christmas, and the kids have been thoroughly enjoying ABBA, Roger Whitaker, and Miles Davis (it is an odd collection). One of their friends was astonished at the size of our discs. Oh ya, suck-it blu-ray, we’ve got vinyl – they’re huge. 😉

  9. Bekki says

    We love old Disney movies here. The Ugly Dachshund is one of our children favorites. We also love That Darn Cat, Gus, Swiss Family Robinson, Follow Me Boys and so many of the ones made before the 1980’s. Our collection is rather large because of this, no one carries them and so few are available for streaming.

  10. Karla says

    We still TWO privately-owned video stores “in town”. Our county is about 10 years behind the real world though, so its no surprise. The library has a massive VHS collection and one bookshelf with DVDs which covers everything including a collection of hunting DVDs. Gag.
    One video rental store does pretty good business, the other one has expanded to other things so the video is only about half the size it used to be. We’ve never had any chains here though, and there’s no broadcast TV reception, so the options are a little more limited.


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