Acquiring Every VHS Copy Of "Speed"
April 28, 2014

Acquiring Every VHS Copy Of “Speed”

There was a kids’ show on British TV in the 80s that had a different member of the public on each week to display their weird collections of whatever stuff they enjoyed acquiring. This was always my favorite segment of the show, or indeed of any TV show I watched as a kid, including the ones where celebrities went down a slide into a huge bath of slime.

I was obsessed with frogs as a child, and was open-mouthed with envy when some little upstart came on the show with their magnificent collection of frog related objects, from huge stuffed toys to frog carafes. I think it was actually this show that put me off collecting anything, because amassing a hoard on the scales seen on there seemed impossible.

Never did it seem as difficult or outlandish, though, as the story in the news recently about a man who is trying to collect every single copy of the 90s action movie Speed on VHS. 26-year-old Ryan Beitz of Idaho told Vice that he already has over 500 copies.

It all started when he wasn’t sure what to get his family for Christmas, and noticed six copies at the local pawn store. He thought it would be funny to get all of his family the same gift, and also that it would prove he “loved them all equally.”

This lit the flames in his head for the grandly titled “World Speed Project,” which sees Ryan attempt to collect all existing copies of the Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock classic. He told Vice that “what really cemented it was when I went to another pawn shop, and they had, like, 30 copies. I said, “I’ll take them all.” They sold them to me for 11 cents a copy.”

I was already thinking it was odd that a pawnshop should have six copies of Speed, but 30? Is it possible that Ryan is not the first person to have tried this, and that, in fact, it is a prevalent mental illness that will one day be recognized by health workers? A question for another day…

Ryan is also aiming to renovate his van so that it looks exactly like the bus in the movie. To this end, he has turned to Kickstarter. This phase of the overall World Speed Project is called Project 2525, the number of the original bus. It has so far raised $1400 of the $2500 required to create a mini version in the World Speed Project’s 15seater van, get some insurance so the van can be toured around the country displaying the collection and looking for more copies of Speed on VHS, and “cover both the engine repair and the paint job.” “Any additional funds,” Ryan says, “will go solely toward upgrades on the van, as the $2,500 is the bare minimum needed to repair the engine and paint the van alone.”

The Kickstarter appeal ends on June 10th, 20 years to the date since the movie’s release. Surely those involved could never have known it would inspire such devotion.

Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

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John is a freelance writer from the UK, currently living in Japan and thoroughly enjoying their food and whiskey. His first novel, Three Little Boys, and his travel book, Following Football, are currently available on

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