Just like that, the Blockbuster near 77th and State line is no more…
The one Steve Rose and I go to. That is, whenever Rose’s family is in town for the holidays and my kids are hosting an overnight hang with friends. It was kind of like a Mission Hills / Prairie Village / Waldo neighborhood institution. Albeit an institution on the brink of extinction.
When other Blockbusters and area video stores were dropping like flies the last couple of years, the manager there assured me his would be one of the last to go because it was some sort of regional headquarters or something.
Yet suddenly, last Tuesday employees got word from upon high and they were out-of-there in a flash.
Which gave me pause to reflect on the early days of local video stores. Take Video Venders, remember those guys? Video Venders actually presented my Wall of Voodoo concert at Parody Hall and Romantics show at the Uptown in the mid-late 1980s.
ZZ99 deejay Randy Miller did a live radio remote at the Video Venders in Mission before the Romantics sold-out show that same night, and the band was supposed to appear at the store for interviews and autographs during Miller’s remote.
One of my fellow stockbrokers at the time – who I’d drafted into babysitting the band the night before – told me they all got caught up in some kind of all night orgy of booze, babes and party favors in the Crown Center’s hotel. And there was no way the band were about to crawl out of bed that early in the day and do a remote. I remember furiously dialing my friend as he went from hotel room door to door, pounding away, trying to raise the Romantics from the dead. To no avail.
We were lucky they made it to the concert!
Meanwhile the ever resourceful Miller stalled for time before finally conducting totally fake interviews with members of the band. Don’t ask me how he did it, I wasn’t there. So other than Video Venders owners not getting to meet the act, everything worked out, uh, peachy.
Speaking of chaotic good times, was last week’s shuttering of the Blockbuster another sign that video software (DVD) rentals are fast going the way of the vinyl record album?
Certainly that’s inevitable, but perhaps not.
"They closed last Tuesday," says a manager at the Westport Blockbuster. "It had nothing to do with money, it was a landlord dispute."
However, real estate sources point to Blockbuster’s bankruptcy and uncertain long term future and say other prospects with brighter futures were interested in the location.
As for the Blockbuster staff on State Line, "Oh, they didn’t lose their jobs," the manager says. "They went to our other locations."