Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Lies Beneath

Tape StashOkay, so it's NOT the Lost Ark of the Covenant, but I DID just crack open a crypt without a single eyeball sliding down my face. WHEW! This might just be a box of rotting videotape to you, but to me it's a time-capsule stuffed with dust from The Stupid Years, a trunk-load of broadcast talismans once believed to no longer exist. Okay, so it IS just a crate full of tapes, but within this haphazard collection lies the beginning of an accidental career. That and at least a half dozen used car commercials so bad a single viewing could get me kicked out of the Lenslinger Institute - and I've already paid my dues this year! Thus, I view my latest discovery with just a hint of trepidation, for I squint my eyes and read the tape labels just right, a flood of emotion drowns my senses and suddenly I'm rockin' a pair of acid washed jeans as I try to figure out how to white-balance in dying sunlight. Been there. Got the sweaty station t-shirt.

Of course all my speculation on what lies beneath this pile is probably pointless, as I haven't exactly been keeping them in a cryogenic chamber. Instead they've been shuffled from closet to closet, sometimes in air-conditioned spaces - other times not. For all I know the only thing I'll see when I find a three-quarter inch or beta-machine to stick 'em in is static and snow - hard evidence that the embryo of my ambition is forever lost to science. Then again, these incriminating cartridges could contain proof of camera-mismanagement, gross misconduct and enough dated fashion to fuel a couple dozen episodes of My Two Dads. Therefore, I reserve the right to screen these vintage clips in my secret laboratory, far from the likes of the mullet-loving public and their YouTube trigger-fingers.

But silly hairstyles aside, there is much to be gleaned from this musty pile of pixels. If the labeling proves correct, this particular strain of tape covers my transition from local commercial hack to news unit neophyte. Thus, a reel of thirty second spots for fat lady dress shops share real estate with the recording of a head-on collision I felt compelled to hold on to for some unknown reason. Throw in my little brother's wedding master, some early attempts at one-man-banding, a cheesy campaign I once did for a waterbed emporium, my thought-to-be-lost skydiving piece, drunken stuntman buffoonery with a particularly troubling tape labeled 'Mondo Metal Madness' and you got a pretty good idea why I won't be leaving this particular treasure trove unattended at El Ocho.

I will however, gentle visitor, share some choice highlights with YOU - the moment I run across something the least bit aggrandizing. Count on it...

1 comment:

Todd said...

Man I handled plenty of those red Ampex Betacams in my day. When you find a deck to play those back on, you better have something to digitize them with... you might not have a chance later! :-)