Goodbye, My Beloved Video Americain

It is no secret that the greatest movie rental business in the world has had to shutter its’ doors.  A few years ago, I wrote of my love of Video Americain and the dying of the movie rental business.  It was inevitable.  Me, you and everyone else had a role in its’ demise.  Ain’t technology a bitch?

Anyway, I was able to stop by and buy some films from the Cold Spring Lane store.  That was fun, because it was just like it always; a beehive of movie mega-geekdom!  I was able to pick up two of my FAV-O-RITES! The Criterion Collection edition of James Whale’s classic ‘Frankenstein’. It also includes the amazing and campy, ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, and of course a whole bunch of egghead commentary.Image

And this Godard classic that recently played the Charles’ revival series.  So happy to own a copy!Image

Anyway, here’s the money shot.  The thing that really inspired this blog.  My Video Americain Membership card.


It’s been in my wallet forever..and I’ve changed wallets 3 times!  I should take it out and secret it away as a keepsake of a time when it was a pleasure to rent movies and not something done from a box outside of Royal Farms or downloaded or netflixed or whatever. Farewell My Concubine…I mean, goodbye Video Americain.  You are already, sorely missed.

About scottcarberry

I'm one nifty dude who is fascinated by his hometown; Baltimore, MD. It is persistently beautiful and ugly and I wish to live nowhere else ever again.
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7 Responses to Goodbye, My Beloved Video Americain

  1. Jeannine August says:

    Indeed. A sad day, but I too was part of its demise. I will say though that I visited it at least 4 or 5 times a year through the bitter end. Hope all is wel Scott. Jeannine

    • I am doing dandy! ‘Ya know, my personal progression into an everyday customer to “I can’t recall the last time I was there” kind of guy is a straight line from getting sober and moving to Charles Village in 2002. To falling in love, moving to Mt Washington, getting married, moving to Original Northwood and all the while becoming a person with more technology and less and less time to even get near Video Americain. I see fewer films in general nowadays, even though I have access to more platforms foe doing so. Zany! I hope that you and your family are mega-super-awesome!

  2. Boo. Hoo. Sad story. I rented many Godard films there. Where was the second location? Cold Spring Lane? Thinking back: It had a great old bookstore smell. At least the Charles is still well. Theadora (Great scores.)

  3. A few weeks into my first adventures in Baltimore, adventures in Charles Village, really, I was sent to Americain to retrieve some films for my Old Man’s Contemporary Theatre & Film class. I can’t, for the life of me, remember what they were, but I do remember that they made an impression on the staff. And when they understood that it was for Gomez’s course, there were beams aplenty. A few weeks later I went in there in search of something else entirely, some Sellers or Kubrick or Sellers and Kubrick, and was rather surprised to see a copy of “The Garbage Pail Kids” in the Employee Recommendations section. I blanched, then turned red, then went through the five stages of grief, pausing to wallow a bit in stages two & three. When I finally got all the way to acceptance, it occurred to me that the folks behind the counter had likely “made” me (and my remarkable 80’s career) and had nary a second thought about throwing that piece of Garbage right up front. Whether it was a slight, a commentary, a joke, or an honest recommendation mattered not. It was communication. It was, in its own way, also acceptance. I was instantaneously charmed.

    I drifted down those steps quite a few times in the five years I raced around Charles Village, and no matter how dumb or frivolous or blockbustery or blue, they were always accepting of my choices. Dependable, recommendable, and now, ultimately, expendable. A sad sign, yes, of the times. But a great place to revisit in the mind.

    Thanks for making that happen, Mr. C.

    • Trust me, that ‘staff favoriting’ was their way of showing love and respect. I guarantee that more than one of them saw Garbage Pail Kids in the theater. they probably begged their parents to take them! Your acting has brought joy to many, but your wonderful humanity has been a bright light in my life and many others. Now come on Orioles-Dodgers World Series!!!!!

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