18 Years Ago In TIME

Managers at Circuit City, the nation's second largest electronics retailer, announced last week that it will phase out sales of videotaped movies. That pushed VCRs an inch closer to irrelevancy. But in 1984, they were the coolest Reagan-era gadget around.

Plop...click...whirr. It is not exactly lilting, but that electronic tune is rivaling Silent Night and Jingle Bells for popularity this Christmas season. It is the sound of videocassette recorders gathering tapes into their cradles and, with a twinkling of lights and the push of buttons, bringing forth a host of intriguing new images on millions of TV screens. The machines, universally...

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