Preppies, Rescued From The Dustbin Of VHS History

Like many cities, Boston recently installed a series of “take a book, leave a book” stations that resemble oversized birdhouses and reliably contain obscure cookbooks and romance paperbacks. I found myself rifling the contents of one this past winter while procrastinating on an assignment, and was rewarded with an old-even-by-VHS-standards copy of “Preppies,” a 1984 comedy lost to the dustbin of video history. As is clear from the title and its cover depicting a Lacoste-clad, tommy gun-toting youth, it’s a spoof on the revivified prep culture of the 1980s. A synopsis on the back leads with “Robert ‘Chip’ Thurston III will inherit $50,000,000… if he survives the weekend!” and further lines promise a plot filled with amorous “townie” girls, incensed, “country club” girlfriends, and other such sex comedy schlock.

As the year is 2019, I have no VCR and no way of viewing the film, and have little desire to so. On the flip side, IMDb and YouTube exist. From the former I was able to learn that it was released in April of 1984, just three months before the much more consequential “Revenge Of The Nerds.” The latter turned up its trailer, in which a narrator announces “An outrageous movie of Ivy League insanity” amid a montage of topsiders, ribbon belts, and sweaters campily tied around polo-clad shoulders.

But judging by its status as a “Playboy Channel Presentation,” and the more overtly skin-focused oeuvre of director Chuck Vincent, it’s safe to say that few of its original viewers tuned in out of sartorial interest. — ERIC TWARDZIK

9 Comments on "Preppies, Rescued From The Dustbin Of VHS History"

  1. Great find. Makes “Making The Grade” look Oscar-worthy.

  2. Good catch, Eric.

    1984 was in the early days of VHS-a technology that drove porn theaters out of business. I grew up in Boston in the early 70s and remember the Combat Zone-a red light district near Chinatown that had streetwalkers, adult cinemas, and hotels that charged by the hour.

    Downtown Boston still has a couple of “gentleman’s clubs,” but the crime and sleaze of the old Combat Zone has been swept under the rug.

  3. Robert Staehling | June 25, 2019 at 5:26 pm |

    Perhaps it would be better if this movie (if you could dignify it by calling it one) stayed forgotten

  4. Matt Holman | June 26, 2019 at 12:21 am |

    Pretty accurate representation of preppies.
    Long Live Ivy/Trad!

  5. Though it’s not a generally recognized prep accessory, I want that Thompson.

  6. Old School Tie | June 26, 2019 at 10:18 am |

    Jeez, is the short on with glasses Matt Damon?

  7. Orange Fiji | June 26, 2019 at 12:51 pm |

    Available on Netflix DVD (not streaming) I will have to check it out even though I am sure that once it is over, I will want 90 minutes of my life back.

  8. Netflix DVD still exists?

  9. Obviously inspired by “Animal House”, however not nearly as entertaining or comedic.

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