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Home --> Risqué Business --> Pornography --> Date Tape

Date Tape

Claim:   A couple rents a video camera and VCR and tapes themselves engaging in sex, then accidentally leaves the tape in the player when they return it to the video store. The tape is quickly circulated and duplicated until nearly everyone in town has a copy.

Status:   True.

Origins:   In Video late 1986 in the small farm town of Council Grove, Kansas (pop. 2300), Corky Woodward rented a camera and a videocassette player from the only rental store in town. Woodward, the sheriff of Morris County, then made an erotic 90-minute tape of himself and his wife Dannette, but inadvertently left the tape in the VCR when he returned it to the store. The next person to rent the player got the tape as well, and soon hundreds of copies were circulating throughout town.

Despite the apparently true origins of this legend, versions with differing details started to spread across the country within a year or two of the original events:
  • The community in which the tape was made and circulated was variously reported as different towns throughout the USA and Canada.
  • The tape was often said to have been returned to the video store in the wrong box (rather than being left in a VCR).
  • The legend mutated into versions involving an anchorwoman who accidentally returned a sexy videotape of herself to the store, a high school coach who mistakenly sent the school board a tape of himself having sex with members of the girls' volleyball team, and a teacher who unwittingly showed the class a self-made sex film after mixing it up with an educational movie.
Sightings:   In an episode of TV's Mad About You, a videotape of Paul and Jamie making whoopee is mistakenly returned to the local video rental store, but they recover the tape before anyone else views it. Also, a 1999 Volkswagen commercial featured a young couple who realized they'd just dropped off a similar video at the video store; when they realized their mistake and returned, they were greeted by the sight of the store's customers transfixed at what was playing on the in-store monitor.

A slightly different version of this legend appears in the 1996 film Trainspotting.

Last updated:   12 July 2007

Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson.
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  Sources Sources:
    Brunvand, Jan Harold.   The Baby Train.
    New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.   ISBN 0-393-31208-9   (pp. 61-64).

    Deam, Jenny.   "Kansas Sheriff Caught with His Pants Down -- Videotape at 10."
    Chicago Tribune.   17 November 1986   (p. 3).

    Deam, Jenny.   "Sheriff's Tape is Hot as a Pistol."
    Chicago Tribune.   27 November 1986   (p. 46).

    Toufexis, Anastasia.   "Sex Lives and Videotape."
    Time.   29 October 1990   (p. 104).

  Sources Also told in:
    Flynn, Mike.   The Best Book of Bizarre But True Stories Ever.
    London: Carlton, 1999.   ISBN 1-85868-558-3.   (p. 298).