!!!!! VICTORY !!!!!
Yes indeedy, I am now able to make my VCR accept line input (satisfying conclusion to long, sad struggle documented above).
As I mentioned, I didn't get a remote with this freebie VCR, but I already had a universal remote. And though the u-remote is truly razzle-dazzle looking, with many rows of buttons, the manual that came with it is somewhat lacking in info about -- oh, you know -- what the buttons do. Grrrr. If I were a company, I'd be ashamed to include this so-called manual with my product.
Anyway, the buttons on the remote are color-coded, and since green is for Tivo, I ignored all the green buttons. (For crying out loud, I have only just gotten my first VCR, how can I possibly assimilate what the Tivo buttons do?? Yes, it is pathetic to be so technologically behind).
And frustrated as I became with the whole deal, one evening I recklessly aimed the remote at the VCR and began randomly punching buttons, even green Tivo ones. And, you guessed it: LINE1 appeared like magic in great big letters on the TV.
I had diligently pored over the VCR manual and the remote manual for so long that I could quote entire sections of each by heart. But I found the line input selector for the VCR totally by chance.
It sure would have been nice if the remote's manual had mentioned that the green Tivo R.Zones button doubles as VCR Input. Oh well.
I really appreciate everybody's help, and the time you all took to post. This is a great forum, and I'm fortunate to have stumbled across it. WeThePeople, thank you for all those links (!!!) I was very interested in your codes for line input because it seemed like they would free me up from even needing an Input button, but I just couldn't get the codes to work.
I'm recording stuff right and left on 15-year-old tapes that somebody gave me, and the picture quality is sensational! Digital and analog co-exist nicely in my apartment.
Now, who do I talk to about getting a job writing manuals?