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History: VCRs, Beepers, and Telephone Booths

by Jocelyn Joy Thomas 5 months ago in Pop Culture
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8 things from the 80s we thought would last forever

Photo by Anthony on Pexels

It’s hard to imagine that the 80s are now a part of history. If you lived in the 80s you know how different some things were. We took everyday things for granted, we thought they would always be around. When you are living in the moment it can be hard to think otherwise.

While some millennials may remember some of these common everyday things people used. They are lost to the younger generations who only see rare glimpses of them in old movies.

For some reason, the eight things I came up with are mainly related to phones, this wasn’t on purpose. It isn't a huge surprise since technology has changed the way we communicate so drastically.

So, if you haven't thought of these things for some time, or if you are wondering what we used them for to begin with, here are eight things straight from the history books.


These were used to watch movies on VHS tapes. Movies that were bought or rented, or recorded by you. Back then we could buy blank tapes and fill them with our favorite tv shows, music videos, or movies.

VCRs were quite the invention,I loved the fact that I could record a show or a game and fast forward through the commercials, that was one of the best parts of owning a VCR.

TV Guide

In order to know when our favorite shows, games, or movies were coming on TV we had to look at something called a TV Guide. It was a little magazine we either subscribed to and got in the mail or could pick up at the grocery store like we did when we went shopping each week.

It always had a celebrity on the cover and a crossword puzzle in the back. In my opinion, nothing has adequately replaced the TV Guide. The guide on cable is cumbersome, there are so many channels my eyes glaze over. This might be why I choose to stream most of what I watch now that I think of it.


Also known as pagers. These devices kept us in contact with each other. For those that don’t know, you would call someone's beeper number and then leave a code, so they knew it was you. They would then call you back. It allowed people to be on the go and still remain in contact. It was mainly used by doctors and drug dealers at least in my world at the time.

Telephone booths

Besides being a place where Clark Kent changes into Superman, phone booths were these private oases’ where you could make a private phone call despite being on a busy street. I don't think anyone imagined they would all be gone one day. I miss the privacy, now if you have to take a cell phone call and you’re walking on the street good luck hearing anything.

Telephone books

In the 80s if you wanted to order a pizza or look up any business you used the yellow pages. In fact, businesses used that space for advertising knowing that a lot of people went there to decide who to call. There was also a section known as the white pages that listed people, you could opt to have your name and number, “unlisted”.

Card Catalogs

When you went to the library in the 80s, in order to look up a book you had to use a card catalog. They were housed in long drawers that were alphabetized. Each book in the library was listed on an index card. Little pencils and paper were offered so you could write down the catalog number your book was located just like they have next to the computers now.

Of course, now we can google a great deal of what we once had to go to the library to learn about.


If you weren't able to find what you were looking for in the phone book, or were in too much of a hurry you called 411. A live operator would answer and you would say the name of the place you wanted the phone number or address to.

If 411 didn't have what we were looking for they would find a close match. There are still some variations of this today but search engines pretty much make it obsolete.

The Time Lady

If you wanted to know the time in the 80s you could call, “POP-CORN”. The letters corresponded with the numbers for the time lady. A recorded voice would come on and say good afternoon, at the tone the time will be…. I miss that!

It’s obsolete with cell phones and devices showing us the time, but it was handy when none of those things were available and you wanted the right time to set a watch or clock by.

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About the author

Jocelyn Joy Thomas

Writer, spiritual teacher, and travel enthusiast. Enjoying the journey! Join my mailing list and receive a free guide on How to Meet Your Guides in Three Steps!

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