The Father of Invention

Back when video rental epoch was at its peak – moments before the DVD revolution would burn briefly as a gold standard of home cinema until becoming a punchline of technological obsolescence – each VHS hire came laden with a litany of previews that would play before (and occasionally after) the feature presentation.

Impatient fools with no lust or capacity for the breadth of experiences that life has to offer would fast-forward through these trailers, but those of us who understood the natural rhythms of visual entertainment were as committed to them as we were the film that was about to play. These were mini-features, entire works delivered with the speed of a Matrix upload; a glimpse into what could have been if we’d just lingered a little longer in the THRILLER or FOREIGN sections.

Some of these trailers seemed to be ubiquitous. No matter which film you’d just borrowed, be it a PG romantic comedy or an R rated gore-fest, they all seemed to open with the same run of previews; only the running order changed. In the late 1990s, no matter which genre you had opted for, the movie gods were certain that you would want to know all about 1996’s Fly Away Home.

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