I was listening to Slate’s Cultural Gabfest today, as I strolled around the parking lots at lunch. Its first segment was about a new ABC TV series, “Scandal”, which I’ve never watched and likely never will. The second segment was about cooking, which also didn’t excite me, but the third segment discussed the demise of Blockbuster Video, the so-called “Ambivalent Elegy” edition. Blockbuster is yet another media mega-chain that has succumbed to the online onslaught. Last week, Blockbuster announced that it will be closing soon.
In the podcast, there were some fond reminiscent about the Friday night visits to Blockbuster, to first pick up VHS tapes and then later DVDs. They talked about the fights that always seemed to occur there. Sometimes the fights were between a patron and a store clerk. Remember those horrible late fees? Sometimes the fights were between different patrons, usually members of the same party. These went along the lines of one person not wanting to see what the other person wanted to see and visa versa.
Comparisons were made in this show about how Blockbuster was to video renting, as Borders and Barnes and Nobles were to book selling. At one time, these mega-chains threatened to crowd out their mom and pop competition. Now like Borders before it, Blockbuster is the franchise that is going extinct and most of the mom and pops have survived and some have even thrived. One local store that was mentioned was Scarecrow Video. I guess that it is the largest single store video rental establishment. Situated in Seattle, it is just around the corner from Jay and Carl’s place. They even know Scarecrow Video’s proprietor, Dennis Nyback.
When last I visited Jay and Carl, they took me to MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry) in South Lake Union Park. Every facet of this museum was fascinating to me, but what interested Jay and Carl the most was a new exhibit about the role of Seattle in movies and TV. This was because it quoted their friend, Dennis Nyback. This exhibit dwelt most upon the more famous conjunctions of film and video with Seattle, like the TV show, “Frasier”. It did manage to touch upon the history of local movie theaters. One plaque in this section quoted Dennis Nyback, from his days as a projectionist at the Green Parrot Theater. This was at a point when the Green Parrot had descended to a XXX movie house and before Nyback began renting videos.
The screen was big, but the image wasn’t, not after an enraged customer whose chair collapsed under him threw a piece of the broken chair at the screen, tearing a large hole in it. Rather than repair the screen, they just shifted the image to the side and went on with the shows.