Monday, April 27, 2009

I love Netflix. Ever since I got my membership in 2004 I have been a disciple of the red envelope. There have been trying times when I get a mucked up disc or something gets lost in the mail, but overall I could not be happier. I pick titles online and they come directly to my mailbox, what's not to like?

Still, there is the part of me that misses heading out to the video store and walking up and down each aisle trying to make my decision. Before your mind wanders towards the obscene corporate VHS tapes of Blockbuster let me assure you that I am talking about much smaller stores/chains. There are a few different stores that have meant a lot to me over the years and, as far as I know, they are all closed. This will be the first of a series of video rental stories. I'll begin at the beginning...

When I was born up until the time I was nine years old and about to enter the fourth grade my family lived in Fort Worth. A neighborhood called Hallmark in the Everman school district, near the Miller Brewery and Mrs. Baird's Bread. A little over half a mile from our quaint house was a small mom-and-pop video store called Video Scene. I don't remember when it opened or when we started going there I just remember this as being my first video store experience.

We would go in there usually once or twice a week during the school year and rent videos. The owners and workers knew us as regulars, which greatly helped me out during the summer. Because the staff knew my parents, they knew what I was allowed to watch - which consisted of pretty much anything but porn. While school was out my neighbors, David and Mike, would join me in riding our bikes up to Video Scene and renting a new tape practically every day. Horror was our main genre (shocker right?) but we would get a lot of comedies too. The Police Academy catalog was watched many times. Guttenberg's the man!

When you came in you could smell popcorn in the air. They had a small popcorn machine/cart with those thin paper popcorn bags that you could fill up while you browsed. We definitely partook in the butter goodness while we argued over what depraved cinematic goodness would assault our eyes for the day. Now, anytime I am somewhere with those small popcorn bags I cannot help but teleport to Video Scene in my mind.

Another great thing about this store is they supplied me with many posters and film goodies to decorate my walls. Sure, my dad got his fair share, but I was the proud owner of some memorabilia too. There are only two remaining trinkets from that store in my collection, and they are both standees. One is the titular character from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 and the other is Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 2 Freddy's Revenge. I can't remember which standee it was, but I have vivid memories of trying to ride my bike home while carrying a cardboard horror hero, which was bigger than I was at the time. Here is a picture of me a couple of years ago with the Freddy standee and my Sylvester Stallone doll from Over the Top.

While the store closed many years ago and I can never go back, I have Video Scene to thank for starting my cinematic identity off right. I'm sure I would have found my way in the world of VHS somewhere, but having this close store with few restrictions really helped.


Trevor Lincoln said...

Yeah, I remember the ol' video store days. There used to be a similar shop near my house in San Diego. And while I do love my Netflix streaming on Xbox Live, it will never truly measure up.

britt said...

I looooove old video stores. There was this one I used to go to, and their horror section was amazing. You had to step down a couple of steps to get into it, and it was filled with standees, halloween decorations hanging from the ceiling (cobwebs, skulls, etc.), fake fire, and the walls were cardboard painted like gray stone walls. When we got to go there once every couple of weeks, it was truly an event. Seems like the only video stores around these days are asian specialty shops.

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