Video Reliquary

When I moved in January, I discovered a few hundred Betamax tapes in a box, films recorded from cable back in the mid-’80s, some of them from L.A.’s legendary “Z” Channel.

There are some terrific and rarely-seen movies on those cassettes, but, of course, you need a working Beta player to look at them. I haven’t owned one in at least a decade.

So…I’m wondering what, if anything, I should do with these tapes, other than just toss them.

Suggestions, anybody?

12 Responses to “Video Reliquary”

  1. Richard Beland Says:

    Such a potentially entertaining collection need not be relinquished. Try Goodwill. I’ve seen Beta players there quite often. Of course, the tapes might disintegrate…

  2. Bob Says:

    I’m sure you could get a working second hand Betamax machine for well under $50 from Ebay or any number of pawnshops (you’re in Vegas, right? Gotta be pawnshops in Vegas…). If you get a higher priced one you could maybe even sell the machine again for most of your purchase price after you’re done with it. If there are even a dozen hours worth keeping among those tapes that’s probably worth it.

    Alternately, Evanier mentioned copying some of his old Beta to DVD a while back on his site, so you could ask him if he still has/needs his machine, or is interested in any of the tapes.

  3. A.L. Baroza Says:

    If you wanted to unload the stuff, you could auction the tapes on ebay. I’m sure there are enough beta enthusiasts out there that you could make some decent scratch, especially if you’ve got some rare stuff. The fact that you’re a comics luminary would mean that The Beat and those other blogs would promote the auction for you with little effort on your part.

  4. Steve Gerber Says:

    A.L.: “If you wanted to unload the stuff, you could auction the tapes on ebay.”

    Uhm, I think that’s illegal.

  5. A.L. Baroza Says:

    Oh, yeah. Nevermind.

  6. Mark Parsons Says:

    Good God man, don’t toss them or give them to Goodwill! There’s probably all kids of interstitial programming that may not be preserved. Maybe donate them to UCLA or an archive closer to you.

    I know a critic here in LA who used to write stuff for Z: maybe he’ll have some suggestions as to the tapes’ archival utility. I’ll post again in a few days if there are no new developments on the site…

  7. Steve Gerber Says:

    Mark: Not all of the stuff comes from Z, but some does. I’m sure the tapes are rife with ancient bumpers ‘n’ stuff from HBO, Showtime, and The Movie Channel’s “Heart of Hollywood” days, too.

    Talk to your local critic and let me know what he says.


  8. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    From now on, I use tinyurl. Sorry about that!

  9. Jesse Willis Says:

    I have a Beta player and if you can’t find a local, I would be happy to dub to DVD or VHS anything you wanted saved.

  10. Jennifer Says:

    Take Jesse Willis up on the offer —

  11. Art Says:

    There are services that will transfer your Betamax tapes to DVD. You might have to poke around a little because it’s Beta and not VHS but they’re definitely out there. Start asking at your local camera store and go from there. No sense introducing another analog generation by transferring them to VHS.

  12. Mark Parsons Says:

    So the critic (FX Feeney) also has a closet full of betamax tapes relating to Z Channel and he doesn’t know what to do with his stash either. The wonderful wiazard of the archives does not seem to exist!