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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

I’m so old, I remember [insert movie- or pop culture-related ephemera]…


Inspired by this tweet by Atrios over the weekend:


let us take a walk down movie memory lane and enjoy some pop-culture nostalgia.

I’m so old, I remember… and insert your own movie- or pop culture-related ephemera.

I’m so old, I remember when you’d get scowled at by the Blockbuster clerk if you hadn’t rewound a video you were returning… although the flip side of that is that if you discovered on the rental racks a video you wanted to rent that hadn’t been rewound, they would do it for you with the little rewind-only gizmo they kept behind the counter.

Of course, this means I also remember when movies you watched at home had to be rewound and fast-forwarded in an analog fashion: no skipping around from chapter to chapter, or instantly to a particular timecode.


(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)

  • Bob

    I’m so old, I remember when there were only three television channels (UK specific reference!).

  • Karin

    I’m so old, I remember when you could rent VCR’s at Blockbusters to go along with the movies you rented. They came in big, black plastic cases, and it was hell figuring out how to plug them up.

    I’m so old, I remember when matinee movies cost $1.50 and the evening price was $3.00.

  • Danielm80

    I’m so old I remember when being a geek was a bad thing.

  • David N-T

    I’m so old, I remember playing on an 8-bit NES when it was cutting edge.

  • Froborr

    I’m so old, a couple of months ago I heard a song I remembered being a hit when I was a kid (Huey Lewis and the News, “The Power of Love”) come on the oldies station.

  • Mike McGranaghan

    I’m so old, I remember when it cost $100 to buy a VHS copy of a movie.

  • Jan_Willem

    I’m so old I saw Disney’s Jungle Book during its first theatrical run.

  • Kathy_A

    I’m so old I remember when the neighbors I babysat for were the first ones on the block to get a VCR, a few years before we got our own. Both of them were top-loaders, although ours, being newer, was only half the size of the neighbors’.

  • Me too.

  • MisterAntrobus

    I’m so old, I remember when nobody worried about seeing spoilers for movies that hadn’t been released yet, ’cause nobody knew anything about the movie until they saw it!

    Re: MaryAnn’s reference: Remember the high-speed VCR tape rewinders that they used to sell? Some of them were so powerful they could rip the tape right off the spool!

  • beccity98

    Well, I’m only 32, so I don’t have much to contribute that will be new . I do remember VHS tapes, walkmans, waiting for your favorite song on the radio so you could record it.

    One thing I know is a marker of getting old is when you drive around town saying, “I remember when that building used to be a different one. Or a field, or whatnot”

    People in my town can be old enough to remember when the Plaza used to not have a roof on it. Then they roofed it, so it was like a regular mall, then recently they took the roof off again. I’m not that old, I just remember when it had a roof.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Sticking to the video tape theme:
    I’m so old, I remember being annoyed that all the videos I wanted to rent were only available in the BetaMax section of the video store.

    I’m so old, I remember looking up movie showtimes in a newspaper. Or worse yet, calling the theater. (Related: to this day, if I come across a several-years-old copy of a newspaper, one of the first things I do is look for the entertainment section to see what movies were playing.)

    I’m so old, I remember when the comic book I bought at my local comic shop cost less than lunch at the McDonalds across the street.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Me three.

  • Danielm80

    I’m so old that most of the musicians I listened to in high school are performing on PBS.

  • I’m so old I remember there being no “PG-13” rating for movies.
    I’m so old I remember sitting down as a family for the new Michael Jackson video premier on television.

    I’m so old I remember a movie premiering on a network channel being a big deal. Speaking of which…
    I’m so old I remember cable not even existing. And turning a knob on the big tube TV to change channels.

  • Jim Mann

    I’m so old that I can remember when you could buy 8-mm short (usually 10 minutes or so), silent versions of movies. When I was a kid, I had such versions of Revenge of the Creature and Tarantula.

  • David N-T

    I’m so old, I remember having had a black and white TV.

  • PJK

    When I was young we had six channels on out TV. Two Dutch channels, three German channels and one Belgian channel. Which was a good thing because our TV only had six channel presets!

  • Tonio Kruger

    I’m so old I not only remember my family owning a black and white TV but said black and white TV also having a record player attached.

    Then again, just remembering record players makes me feel old enough these days…

  • Tonio Kruger

    I’m so old that I can remember when the only TV show with a vampire in it was Dark Shadows

    For that matter, I’m old enough to remember when Jodi Foster was a kid and Jamie Lee Curtis played teenagers…

  • Tonio Kruger

    I’m so old that I remember when FM radio was a new thing and that if you wanted to listen to anything top 40, you usually had to listen to an AM station.

  • Anne-Kari

    I’m so old I remember me, my brothers and my mother escaping the August heat in NYC by ‘visiting’ my dad at his work, where the enormous reel-to-reel computers took up a 30′ by 50′ room that was the only fully air-conditioned room at the University.

    I’m so old that in order for us to connect to said computer from home, we used something very similar to this:

  • Anne-Kari

    oops, image didn’t get pasted, here’s the link: http://atomictoasters.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Old-Modem.jpg

  • Oracle Mun

    I’m so old, I only paid $1.25 when I first saw Star Wars in a movie theater.

  • Gee

    When I was a kid we had this tiny TV with built in VCR. My brother and I used to sit up in the attic and watch VHS tapes of really old cartoons. I also remember hiding with my radio under the blankets, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it onto a mixtape. I’m 27 and I’m already suffering from serious nostalgia. I wish I could go back. I know everyone thinks this about their childhood, but it really was a more innocent time.

  • waiting for your favorite song on the radio so you could record it

    Most of my teenage years were spent doing this!

  • LaSargenta

    I’m so old that I was on The Well.

  • rallo

    I’m so old I remember videoclips with subtitling. No seriously. The two (two!! One on saturday and one on wednesday!!) pop-music programmes on Dutch television would subtitle videoclips the first time they came on. It was revealing for sure.

  • Danielm80

    Back in the 1980s, PBS used to show music videos as educational programming. The song lyrics would appear as subtitles on the screen, so that kids could learn to read as they were watching the show. I guess that was their attempt to appeal to the “youth demographic.” It was not a long-lived program.

  • amanohyo

    I’m so middle-aged, I remember mailing 31 blank VHS tapes to fansubbers in another country and waiting six months to get them back just so I could watch Maison Ikkoku and Vision of Escaflowne.

    I’m so middle-aged, I remember hanging out in movie theater lobbies all day on the weekends with my friends playing videogames and eating pizza.

    I’m so middle-aged, I remember when kids would have birthday parties at the roller rink, and skate to Madonna, New Order, Depeche Mode, Erasure, and The Hokey Pokey (in that order) and then eat prepackaged, trans fat laden ice cream with a miniature disposable wooden spoon.

    I’m so middle-aged, I remember reading a first print paperback of Game of Thrones as a teen, and thinking “It’s okay I guess, but I wish it was less soap opera-ish and more fantastic.”

    I’m so middle-aged, I remember when seeing a naked body outside of an art museum (or a mirror) was newsworthy enough to tell all your friends.

    I’m so middle-aged, I remember when young boys didn’t care or even really notice what brand of shoes/clothing they were wearing or how dirty they were.

    I’m so middle-aged, I remember when corporations seemed mostly harmless and very unpeople-like.

    I’m so middle-aged I remember when pirates were lame, zombies were retarded, and ninjas were awesome to the max. Psyche! (or was it Sike!) Ninjas are dorky too, but ninja stars and numchucks are pretty rad.

    Nostalgia orgy aside, on the whole the world is a better place to live in than it was twenty years ago, and I can’t wait to see what comes next (please be personal jetpacks… I’ll even settle for personal transparent hamster balls at this point. Lower-body exoskeletons maybe? Anything besides more cars – cars are totally lame).

  • Jim Mann

    And I remember how exciting it was when we first got a UHF channel, and had to hook another antenna (this one a loop) to the TV.

  • Kirk Aplin

    I’m so old, I remember all of the below.

  • amanohyo

    I’m so middle-aged, I remember exactly half of what you remember… in fact I’m semi-certain that I just forgot 50% of this moment.

  • PJK

    I’m so old I remember when we Dutch only had one pop-music program: Top Pop with Ad Visser!

    You young whipper-snappers where spoiled with two pop-music programs and videoclips, we oldies just got “live” performances of the band or the Penny de Jager showdancers doing some sort of dance whilst the music was played from a recording.

  • Or all of the above for those of us who sort “oldest to newest”.

  • beccity98

    Again, I’m not that old, but my parents were so far behind technology that they had a tv with a remote that had 16 different channel buttons. Not a tv with only 16 channels, but the remote. (Well, the tv did only have 16 channels, too.) To get to channel twelve, you didn’t press the one and the two, you pressed the 12 button. And we didn’t really have 16 channels because one channel was shared by 3 buttons, and another was shared by two. They finally got a new tv a year or two after I moved out, which I did in late 2001.

    I was so used to that tv, that even to this day, my husband looks at plasmas tvs and LCD tvs and whatnot and marvels at and compares the quality, and I can’t see the difference, because anything is better than my parents’ teeny, fuzzy tv.

  • singlestick

    I’m so old, I remember when there were NOT any fast food tie-ins for popular movies.

  • Oracle Mun

    I’m so old, I remember when people had to call their cable companies and say, “I want my MTV.”

  • Bluejay

    I’m not that young, but not that old, either. Some things I remember that don’t seem to have been mentioned yet:

    – Game & Watch.
    – Digital wristwatches that you could detach from the strap and transform into tiny robots.
    – Betamax players with remote controls attached by wire to the machine.
    – Wearing out my bootleg Betamax tape of the animated Transformers movie. Wearing out my LP of the soundtrack.
    – The Knack all over the radio. “My Sharona” is the first pop song I can remember.
    – Listening to 45s of The Cascades.
    – My dad putting together non-stop medleys of his favorite songs by physically splicing together the strips of tape in order to match up the beats.
    Siegfried and the Sea Monsters. And Marlo and the Magic Movie Machine. And the Archies and their Bang-Shang Lollapalooza Show.
    – Making copies of songs by playing the source cassette on one boombox and sticking it right up against a second boombox with the blank tape. Making copies of TV themes by sticking the boombox right up against the TV speaker with the volume turned up.
    – Listening for hours to the original LP double album of the musical version of “The War of the Worlds.”
    – Listening for hours to the LP of the soundtrack to Superman: The Movie. The sleeve folded out to a full spread of Christopher Reeve in flight.
    – Thinking Neil Diamond’s “Hot August Night” was the best live concert recording ever.

    And so on…

  • Fionna

    I *felt* so old when my 12-year-old recently asked me “what was MTV, Mum?”

  • Oracle Mun

    “Well, sweetheart, once upon a time there was a channel that played music videos.”

  • Fionna

    Good answer! Mine was more like, “chokecoughgurglegaaaaragghhh”.

  • fionna

    And, like me, did you get really annoyed when the DJs talked all over the intro and the end? If only I’d been able to see in to the future and be comforted by the knowledge that one day I’d be able to track down my favourite – and hardly ever played by radio – songs on iTunes…..I could have saved myself so much agro!

  • Danielm80

    I saw somebody wearing a calculator watch last week. I thought: I remember when those were cool.

    I’m pretty sure they were never cool, but if you had tried to explain that to my elementary school class, we would never have believed you.

  • fionna

    I’m so old that I learned how to touch-type on a typewriter. In my first, proper (office) job after leaving university, my boss encouraged me to net-surf as much as possible so I’d learn how to use a browser. One of the IT staff at the same workplace introduced me to my first emoticon. :-)

  • singlestick

    I took a typing class in high school because I knew I would need this skill to do college papers. My nephew, who starts college this fall, has never seen a typewriter in his life, outside a museum. On the other hand, computers have always been part of my niece and nephew’s world.

  • Oracle Mun

    I’m so old, I remember when you had to telnet to the University of Kansas in order to surf the web via Lynx.

  • Yes! Recording ruined…

  • Eric

    I remember when I took a comupter course in junior high and we used the big black floppy discs that had the giant holes in the middle of them. Heck, I remember when it was called “junior high” instead of “middle school”.

  • beccity98

    I’m so old, I notice when commercials use a song that used to be associated with a different commercial. I don’t remember exactly what it was, or what song, but let’s just say that some commercial recently used “Do you believe in Magic?” as their song, causing me to say, “Hey! That’s McDonalds’ song! (Even though I do realize it is an actual song, not a commercial jingle.)

  • amanohyo

    Me too. Did you ever play this game in school on an Apple II:

    Number Muncher

  • amanohyo

    To this day, I only know the Hi-C version of “Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp-She-Bomp-She-Bop)” Some evenings I sink into a brief fit of space madness and sing softly to no one in particular: “Who was that man? I’d like to shake his hand… he made my Hi-C cooler than before!”

  • Jim Enroughty

    I’m so old I used to listen to “Gunsmoke”, “Gang Busters” “Sky King” and “Sgt. Preston of the Yukon” on the radio. We didn’t get a TV until I was eight years old.

    I’m so old I remember seeing “white Christmas” “showboat”, a documentary film of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and Tarzan movies in a movie theatre. We used to get “dressed up” to go “downtown” to the movie palaces.

    I’m so old I remember when a “car full” could get into a drive-in movie for a dollar (US). Heck, we had as many drive-ins as indoor movie houses.

    I’m so old I remember when we had one TV station (the South’s First), a second (1955) a third (1956), and an “Educational” UHF station (1964) we couldn’t get because we wouldn’t spend $200 for an external UHF tuner. This was rectified when the new color TV (round-screen) we got in 1965 had a built-in UHF tuner. When we got a color TV in 1965 (on sale) it cost the same as a B&W one cost in 1955.

    I’m so old I remember shooting still pictures of the Moon Landing off of the TV screen because home vcr’s had not been invented.

  • I’m so old I remember television end credits taking up a full three minutes over a freeze-frame of the characters laughing at something funny, rather than a big ad on the screen and the credits flashing up a black side panel in text so small and scrolling so fast even a mouse on crack couldn’t read it.

  • I’m so old we never sorted like that.

  • Shall WE… Play a… GAME?

  • Pfft. Newbie. I had to tape plastic screens to my TV to play video games on 2-bit graphics!

  • Was it the Pong machine from Sears with 72 varieties of Pong?

  • When did Motley Crue become classic rock?!

  • Bluejay

    I remember television end credits taking up a full three minutes over a freeze-frame of the characters laughing at something funny

    Or at least a pretend freeze-frame. ;-)

  • amanohyo

    Never have I beheld oldness of such magnificence… could you be the Emperor of Nostalgia of whom the legends foretold? Hasten brothers and sisters – we must ascend the summit of Mount Souvenir for the coronation ceremony before the morrow’s eve expires!

    We didn’t have a TV until I was 10, but it’s only because my family was odd. I was still listening to Sherlock Holmes and Gunsmoke on AM radio long after my friends all had VCRs and Walkmans. That might be why I often got along with older people better than people of my own generation. I’d still rather watch an episode of The CIsco Kid than any reality television show… I hope I live to see a person step on Mars though – that’s one reality program I wouldn’t want to miss.

    Your temporal fortitude is an inspiration sir.

  • RogerBW

    …when the only software that came with a home computer was the programming language, anything else you wrote for yourself.

    …when if you missed a film at the cinema it might come around again, a few months later.

    …when, Dr Rocketscience, the local newspaper listed what was on in the local cinemas and got it wrong.

  • fionna

    Now that’s chilling, isn’t it? Radio demographic creep!!!

  • fionna

    I HATE that particular piece of ‘progress’! I’ll be sitting in front of some fine piece of British drama on the telly, the whole time thinking, “who’s that actor? what have I seen him in before?” At commencement of the credits I’ll sit up straight and start focusing really hard on the screen so as to avoid the necessity of googling, only to have the credits squished in favour of a promo for a show I’m not even remotely interested in. Grrrrr. I think it’s all part of a conspiracy to make us buy bigger televisions.

  • PJK

    No, since I live in The Netherlands, where Sears had and still has no presence, we couldn’t get that one. It was a Philips one with several games and built-int controls.

    After doing some digging around on the internet I’m thinking it was the Philips branded Magnavox Odyssey 200.


    Since Philips bought Magnavox in 1974 and Magnavox was an unknown brand in Europe they released a number of successful Magnavox products under the Philips brand. And since Philips was fairly unknown in the USA, they did the same with the Philips consumer electronics products by releasing them under the Magnavox brand name.

  • teenygozer

    I’m exactly twice your age. I assure you, it was innocent because you were a child, not because it was a more innocent time.

  • teenygozer

    I’m so old, I remember my mom complaining about how expensive the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall had gotten… and it was $4.00!

  • Jonathan Roth

    I remember loading games off tape to a Commodore PET.

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