Saturday, June 11

The Gamble Pays the tune of Alice Cooper...

Buying from Amazon's Marketplace is always a gamble. This especially rings true when venturing into the removed then recently re-instated used VHS section. Sellers tend to have wildly varying perceptions of a tape's condition. Sometimes "Very Good" shape indicates exactly that; while other times the tape arrives and its something you wouldn't even pay a buck for. This experience with VCI's Toolbox Murders clamshell highlights this irritating situation. Don't even get me started on the sellers that try and justify pawning off near-garbage by responding with "I judge condition based on the cassette, not the box." WTF?

On the other hand, I've gotten "Acceptable" tapes, Amazon's lowest term denoting condition, that look fantastic. A couple years ago I scored Western World's Attack of the Beast Creatures clamshell listed as such for just $7. I just wanted to see what looked like a hilarious flick (incomprehensible video here). Ripping open the package revealed an immaculate copy with a tiny rip on the top edge of the front. This was the case last week, when finally, a relatively cheap copy of Warner's Alice Cooper - The Nightmare clamshell released way back in 1983 appeared for $25. Usually this one hovers north of $50 or more in excellent condition.

I've loved Alice Cooper for years and still do, in spite of his critics now deriding him for his conservative views or dying his hair. I'd model assigned projects in middle school after his music or the unsavory characters he created, like a mock presidential campaign poster featuring Alice running with Marilyn Manson slotted as VP. I discovered my Social Studies teacher was a big fan back in the '70s and he was equally amazed someone of my age knew of his classic work. Or the time I won a signed poster as runner-up in a contest to be Alice's caddie during a round of golf. My reasoning was that my mom worked at a club and could get him an "in" for a free round or two. Of course, I couldn't actually win the grand prize since I was only 11 at the time.

This tape of an hour long TV special showcasing Welcome to My Nightmare aired on ABC (seriously!) in 1975 has long been on my want list. Due to copyright wranglings The Nightmare is still the only Alice video from that era not to make it onto DVD. As a horror fan, the video has the added allure of featuring Vincent Price in several segments, so I had to track down a copy. The opportunity came and the description of the tape only read "Listed as Acceptable because the video has a bad line for the first several minutes but then clears up. Case is in otherwise good shape." I should learn to request a picture beforehand, but in my experience, many Marketplace sellers never respond to such inquires. So I took a blind plunge, placed the order, checked USPS tracking daily, and the tape arrived mint condition with no tracking lines to speak of!

1 comment:

Craig Edwards said...

That's terrific! Congrats! I just mentioned this TV special during a week long celebration of Vincent Price's 100th birthday over at the blog in late May - put a picture from the show in my Price Tag photo history of his career. I never even knew Price had appeared in the show until I did the research for the post - and here is the special again showing up in my regular blog reading. Very cool! you dare tread upon the staircase?

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