Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Now In Our 20th Year

According to Donna, who remembers such things, it was nineteen (19) years ago yesterday -- on June 15, 1990 -- that the first copies of the first issue of VIDEO WATCHDOG were delivered to our home.

We were unhappy with some unfortunate things about VW #1, which was ineptly printed and cut by a Kentucky company evidently unaccustomed to printing anything but business cards. The paper stock was like shirt cardboard and no two copies of the issue were uniform in height; I can remember Donna taking a paper cutter to the tops and bottoms of some copies in a mostly vain attempt to make all the pages in some individual copies the same size. It was a source of personal unhappiness to me that we were so short on photo material that I had to resort to drawings to fill certain gaps. I had won awards for art when I was in school, but it was a muscle I hadn't flexed in awhile and, at least to me, it showed. I do like the drawings I did for Craig Ledbetter's Venezuelan video piece, and The Letterbox (showing the unmistakable hand of Christopher Lee rising from a letter-strewn coffin); in fact, I was so pleased with the Letterbox art that it continued until our 9th issue, at which time I stumbled on our more playful way of introducing each issue's letters department -- which other magazines have sometimes tried to emulate.

But despite its production shortcomings, the issue had an impact (people still talk and write to me about "How To Read a Franco Film") and it launched an award-winning magazine that is now in its twentieth year of business and which, in some ways, has helped to change the face of the industry it writes about.

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