The first time I ever heard of a video club I was standing with my parents at a local shopping mall. It was the summer of 1982, and while taking my siblings and I shopping they mentioned that on the way home we were going to join the same video club my aunt just did. In my mind, this meant that I’d be going to a country club that just so happened to show movies, and I’d be spending the rest of the summer poolside watching Star Wars and Superman. (Dumb, I know). Not really being an outdoors kid, I was quite pleased to discover that joining a video club actually meant going to a store, renting a film, then taking it to watch in the comfort of our own home. But first, we needed a VCR. So my parents bought one of those massive top-loading decks that probably cost upwards of $1000 at the time, then we headed to the local club — really just a small section at the back of a record store — and went home to enjoy the magic of the movies anytime. The first film we ever watched? The innocuous 1975 Don Knotts/Disney release The Apple Dumpling Gang. Hardly the best introduction to the world of home video, but it didn’t matter because the VCR changed my family’s viewing habits the same way it did yours, and that of the entire world’s. What started on that day has led to my life-long love of movies, one that continues to grow with every year.
That’s my personal home video origin story, now I want to hear yours. What was the first movie you ever rented from a video store?