How to get the tape out? I did online searches, and there were lots of good tips for removing a stuck tape if the VCR could power up. But, mine couldn't. So, the only thing to do was open up the player.
First: UNPLUG THE UNIT. You don't want to be working with anything that could have power going through it.
Then there was a metal plate on top of the tape that had two screws on each side that had to be removed. (see photo 2)
The tape was free and by manually turning the main roller the tape was taken up into the cassette.
I thought maybe I could pry it off without damaging the cassette by putting a screwdriver under the part next to the two prongs to force it off as gently as possible (making sure the pressure was on the plate and the front of the VCR case not on the cassette). I pried on one end. No luck. I pried on the other end and suddenly the tape popped up into the release position, and I took it out through the normal loading slot. Phew!
For other models there are apparently squirrel screws or other screw mechanisms to forward the eject motion of the VCR, but I couldn't find anything like that on this GE model.