Now here’s a treat.
In a recent treasure trove of Lost Laurel artifacts from collector Peter Lewnes, I was intrigued by this oversized video cassette. Apparently, it was a copy of the old Laurel Cable Network‘s coverage of the 1989 Main Street Festival.
It’s something called a U-matic cassette, and it’s nearly twice the size of a standard VHS tape. In other words, it’s beyond obsolete in today’s digital world—which is probably why it ended up being discarded in the first place.
Nonetheless, I asked around (it’s good to have buddies in the independent film industry) about production houses that could possibly salvage the tape, converting it to a digital file which I could share here. After a few local places didn’t pan out, I reluctantly shipped the old cassette across the country to Portland, Oregon, to a place called HD Media Services which came recommended by a friend who’d had some old Super-8 films successfully converted.
It was touch and go for awhile, as I was told that the first transfer didn’t go as well as they’d hoped. (I never considered just how badly videotape degrades over the years…) Luckily, they were able to salvage it, and the digital file arrived today!
It’s a full hour of coverage, highlighted by the parade—with a number of familiar faces from 1989. There’s also commentary, identifying many of them.
So, get ready to step back in time 25 years. Oh, and pick me up some funnel cakes and a lemonade while you’re there, please.
Thanks for posting this video. I really enjoyed seeing my friend Tara Linn and I driving Frank Casula again. Not to mention, there was a brief glimpse of my Godfather, James Arnold in the crowd – who has passed. This brought back so many many memories of Laurel.
Very cool. Was likely there as a four year old. Do you mind ballparking for me how much the digititization cost? I have some VHS i would like to convert as well.
Andy, it looks like standard VHS tape transfer is $19.95 per tape through this company. Because this one was an unusual format, it was $31.90… plus another $20 for “tape baking”—a process that helps restore quality when it’s particularly degraded. Either way, I was happy to pay it just to see what was on it. 😉
Re: 24:36 “under the direction of Mike Stivic”. Mike Stivic was ‘Meathead’ on ‘All in the Family’. The West Laurel Ragtag Band was under the direction of Bill Stevick.
The other one that made me chuckle was seeing “Billy Bob” (the bear) from Showbiz Pizza Place being referred to as “Chuck E. Cheese”. To his credit, though, he WAS carrying a Chuck E. Cheese bag…
This is such a great blast from the past. So many old friends, especially among the Laurel Historical Society members marching in the parade. Thanks for sharing this, Richard.
Wow, I was 20 when this was made. This was a great save. Fascinating to see how public access has changed. I worry about how much history we are losing due to all the incompatible formats, like U-Matic, resulting in trashed tapes. Fun to see some familiar faces, such as Steny, Craig Moe, and Jim Rosapepe back in the day.