Do you remember video rental stores?
WHEN I WAS A KID…
When I was a kid we didn’t have the internet. We didn’t have Netflix, Hulu or Disney Plus. A stream was just something that led to a creek. YouTube was a word that didn’t exist.
I was a poor kid and didn’t have basic cable. In elementary school, I tried to become friends with the cool kids that had basic cable, but that never worked. They were all too cool for me.
My best friend growing up was Mr. Rogers, because he was on PBS television. And poor kids watched PBS television. On a clear day, we could occasionally tune into a channel over the airwaves that would broadcast old episodes of “Leave it to Beaver” and “Soul Train”. I liked that.
When I was old enough I started to cut lawns. Because I needed money for a magical place I discovered. It was called a video rental store. They had movies the rich kids saw at the movie theatre. They had tv shows that the rich kids saw on cable tv. They had everything. And it was all there to peruse, to select, to rent.
GOING TO THE VIDEO STORE…
You’d take that VHS tape home and rewind it to the beginning. Sometimes the tapes were so crappy they’d break…if your machine rewound them too fast. So you’d start and stop the VCR a few times while it rewound the tape. But if you messed up and the tape broke, you’d unscrew the cartridge of the tape and use scotch tape to tape the tape. Then, you’d watch what the rich kids watched.
My video rental store leveled the playing field.
It smelled like stale popcorn and tasted like malted milk balls, red licorice and cheap expired soda. They used to sell a can for a quarter.
Going to the video store made me learn I loved movies and wanted to make them. We used to say we wanted to make “movies”, then we’d call them “videos” and now we just call it “content”. Whatever that means.
ARE THINGS BETTER NOW…OR WORSE?
So are things better now, or worse? Neither, things are just different. We celebrate the fact that any kid…rich or poor…can be a filmmaker now, thanks to a hundred dollar smartphone and YouTube. And we celebrate the fact that now anyone can find almost any film online. But there is something strange about making content that exists only in ones and zeros. I ask myself all the time: if you can’t hold something in your hand…does it even really exist ?
I guess we’ll find out the answer as time goes by. After all, it always does. The clock keeps ticking and all we can do is press on. Looking forward to whatever the future may bring. But today, I’m gonna wander the last video rental store in Minnesota…buy a few films…and make this…content…
If you want to visit Video Universe be sure to NOT WAIT !! They are set to close in May 2023. Be sure to let me know your thoughts…and if there’s any places you’d like Kitty and I to visit and make a video about for our YouTube channel let me know! Our email is: email@example.com
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO…
- Video Universe is located at 4114 Lakeland Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55422.
- Parking: free lot with plenty of space in front of store.
- They are set to go out of business in May 2023.
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