The Great Northgate Mall Lip Synching Booth Tapes of 1987

Ari Spool

In the 1980s, you could go into a mall and there was a booth where you could pretend to be your favorite artist, make a video of yourself lip synching to one of their songs, ask the attendant to apply really cool effects, and take a VHS tape home of the recording, to treasure forever. Bettina McKelvey, who grew up in the Seattle metro area, remembers her father working in one of these booths when she was a kid. “I think my dad was loaning out his guitar on request!” she says, and upon receiving the master tapes to the booth recently, has been spending some quality time uploading these hits to YouTube. Please enjoy seven of my favorites with comments from Bettina – there are plenty more available on her YouTube account.

“My dad's friend David! My sisters and I all had crushes on him. He was the cutest guy in church!”

“These girls were totally on their way to prom.”

“This guy is on the tape like six times! He has really good taste. It turns out that he was an employee of my dad's. He was supposed to be enticing customers into the booth, but my dad said he spent every shift just filming his own amazing performances. Sadly, my dad does not remember this kid's name. I really want to find him and become his best friend.”

“A personal favorite.”

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