For years, I’ve been collecting DS on VHS and DVD. I’ve seen all of it at one time or another, but much of that was in syndication, and so “one time or another” goes back thirty years to January 1982 when WAVE-3 first started carrying the show’s syndicated run in Louisville.
The advent of the DVD came with my first steady paycheck of adult size, and so, while I missed out on collecting laserdiscs, I was able to invest in DVD’s. When the first DS sets came out, I had my doubts. They were expensive. They were large. And how many would it take?
I soldiered on, anyway, and that period really marks a significant number of years for me. They came out, I think, at the rate of only six/year, making it about five years of a fifteen year span at my job.
People would ask if were watching them, and I’d have to answer in the negative. I am a busy guy, but I planned on watching them at some point. In many ways, the shelf space they take up is a testament to my love of the show. The Big Coffin Box is a similar testament, but what does it really say? Largely that the owner had the love and money at the time of the set’s release, which is more than I had when the DVD’s were first available, and I envy their chance to take care of the show in such a direct and dramatic way.
But those individual sets, purchased when they came out, tell a story of time and dedication and a place in a career. They tell the story of being an adult with no kids and no real significant others vying for time and money. They tell the story of someone who has fortified his defense of the show slowly, literally brick-by-brick.
When I look at that space on my shelves, and when I think of the feeling I had when I put in the final set, I think of a lot more than just DS. I think of being a kid with the first wave of syndication. I think of seeing the next wave of syndication when I was a teenager at WKPC, where I’d later work. I think of the ritual of watching it late at night with my mother, when I was supposed to be sleeping.
(I love that her priorities put DS above bedtimes in raising me. I also love that she had no idea that the show was made in the 1960’s. A brilliant woman for whom time and fashion, I suppose, had nevertheless stood still. She thought it was all being produced in 1987. That, alone, is reason to miss her.)
I think of seeing Jonathan Frid with my father. I think of finally getting in tight with the Vogue Crowd via the Louisville DS Fellowship Fair.
I think of the fights I’ve had defending the show. Sometimes to Rice fans. Most assuredly to Whedon fans. I think of loneliness — both cultural and practical. I think of the incredibly rare fellowship when you find someone who shares a love of the show on the same level.
It’s more than just a row of DVD’s.
Years ago, the
Human Cannonball Mission Control and I discussed a Morgan Spurlock-like project where I would devote an entire summer to the show. It would be for many weeks, about ten hours a day, six days a week. Like an intensive job. I’d have to do other things for a lot of it, with DS in the room. I’d have to break it up with exercise… perhaps moving a treadmill into the living room. What would that do to me? Could I take it? How would I evolve? Or devolve? Would the added physical activity make me stronger? Would I cherish my outside time more? And now that my sleep hygiene is tightly regulated, would this help? Would it be a bizarre way to increase self-discipline? How would it be documented?
It’s time to justify the collection by using it the way Dan Curtis intended.