With news that the last independent video store, Reckless Video, is closing July 31, I remember the first time I visited in August 2019:
I wandered into the “Reckless Video” store for the first time, because after seeing so much change in Seattle, I Want to hold on to something that’s old. It is the last family-owned video store in Seattle. (The only other video place, “Scarecrow Video,” is a non-profit owned by employees and loyal patrons.)
Opened on Thanksgiving Day, 1990, this video store has survived in the age of Redbox and streaming video. Within the almost 100-year-old converted blue house, Reckless has 30,000 titles. The regular customers have dwindled to about 600 per week, according to a recent Seattle Times article. To keep going, it would be nice to have 800 per week.
As I stepped in, I could tell I had missed going into a video store. Shelves and shelves of DVDs occupied what was once a living room, dining room, kitchen, and bedrooms. The staff must have a sense of humor, too, because the movies weren’t categorized just by the boring titles: Science Fiction, Drama, or Comedy. Some shelves were titled “Weed” (for marijuana-centric films), ” ‘Spoitation” (for cheesy B-movie/action flicks), “End of the World” (apocalyptic themes), in addition to movies broken down by directors, actors, and authors. Yes, there’s even a “Nicholas Sparks” section. Ewww.
My favorite observation: The “Foreign Films” section held movies from far-off countries such as China, France, Eastern Europe, and Africa. But if you look closer, there’s a subsection titled “Ballard.”
There’s a candy coin machine full of Reese’s Pieces, with a label, “E.T.’s Favorite.”
And there are movie lists from each employee’s favorite movies. I imagine they are well-versed in all genres of films. Today, the guy behind the cash register was watching Steve McQueen’s The Great Escape playing on a wall.
Not wanting to leave empty-handed, I decided to rent Machete and its sequel, Machete Kills, with Danny Trejo. I don’t have to return them for eseen days, so I’ll have plenty of time to watch them, once or twice.
Try this place out. You’ll be supporting a local business, and getting a feel of what renting movies was like back in the 80s and 90s. Be…Reckless.
Reckless Video, 9020 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
— Story and photos by David Carlos
Mountlake Terrace resident David Carlos often submits photos and videos profiling interesting places nearby,
My Grandkids are going to be very upset! They have been going there at least a day or 2 every month if not more! Just like we took her mom to blockbuster every Friday after school! It’ was a great part of life for the kids back 25-35 years – too bad the next generation will never know the joy of rewinding tapes!
I like Scarecrow Video on Roosevelt. Might not be the same, but it is an independent video store.
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