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Sunday, Nov 27, 2022
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Retro Videos Still Rentable In NoHo Shop

At a time when on-demand and streaming entertainment reign supreme, Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee, a North Hollywood video store, remains open for business, fulfilling the Valley’s demand for VHS cassettes. “If you’re a real movie geek, you’ll come here,” said owner Donovan Brandt. “We have 80,000 VHS (tapes), 40,000 DVDs and thousands of each for sale.” His late father Eddie opened the store in 1969 with his mother Claire, who still works the photo counter at the 5006 Vineland Ave. location. The business began as a movie memorabilia shop as both Eddie and Claire worked in the entertainment industry. A decade later, around the time JVC released the first VHS machine and Sony launched its Betamax format, Saturday Matinee got into the movie business, renting and selling tapes. “That’s how we are able to now compete with streaming, because there are all kinds of old silent films, documentaries and Westerns you are not going to find on Netflix,” Brandt said. Dave Evans, founder of Los Gatos-based Stringify, a platform used to connect smart devices, believes there is still a sustainable consumer market for old-fashioned videos in today’s digital world. “While the heyday of VHS rentals are long gone, just enough demand persists to keep a subset of the original stores in business,” he said. Saturday Matinee boasts classic titles, including “Curse of the Demon,” “Nightmare Alley,” “Champagne for Caesar” and thousands more. In addition to its video and DVD business, the store also sells literally millions of old photos from classic movies and newspapers as well as old movie posters and promotional materials. “In 1981, we sold a ‘Casablanca’ poster for $40. Now you can get $50,000 for it,” Brandt said. Most photos at the store cost $12.99, but poster prices vary, starting at about $20. To open an account at Saturday Matinee costs $15, which includes a lifetime membership to the shop. Brandt said all the major movie studios have store accounts and typically come in looking for content to help with research for an upcoming movie or TV show. Saturday Matinee is open Tuesday through Saturday with rentals costing $6 for a week and $3 for a half-week. – Stephanie Henkel

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