Category_Cartoons, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

A Radical Flash Requiem for the Last Video Store in Baltimore: Video American! Featuring Words from Justin Getka: a True Video American in His Own Right!

The juxtaposition of a vibrant VHS revival and the demise of video rental shops en masse have amplified the importance of documenting these now receded rental establishments. So, in order to save these Mom and Pop shops from plummeting into abyssal oblivion, share out various analog anecdotes, and preserve the rental store experience in a vicarious fashion, we here in LUNCHMEAT Land take care to observe, appreciate and commemorate as many of these historical storefronts as possible; and in the process, exemplify these store’s diversity of character and context, while celebrating their commonalities of passion and purpose. Cue radical dude and fellow Tapehead Justin Getka. He’s a guy that’ll be able to say, “I was there, dude” when people ask about the last day of the last real-live rental store within Baltimore’s city limits. And, luckily for us, he even snapped a few pics (and snagged a few tapes) before Charm City’s video store swan song Video American closed its doors forever.


The storefront for Video American. I would have gone with "The Country's Best Movies", but I see the angle and it is good.

"Friday, March 21st 2014 marked the last day of the last video rental store in Baltimore, MD.


No VHS in sight here (as most of them have already been scooped up!), but there is a copy of THE HOWL. You can't argue with that. And look at that accolade from 1991! Dig it.

Video American had previously had two locations: one that already shut its doors a couple years ago housed on Charles St. near the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus and this other one, further north in Roland Park.

photo3I dig that Video American just threw in their VHS with the DVD selections. Makes sense. Why? Because they're all movies, mang!

My fondest memories of the store would include my first visit when I was in college when my girlfriend, her brother and I rented FIRE WALK WITH ME, which made zero sense to me as I'd never seen TWIN PEAKS before. Repeated visits to rent pornography in 2007 (a year when no one should be physically renting porn) including a rental of that multimillion dollar PIRATES porno which me and eight of my housemates enjoyed together one evening in our big stupid house around the corner. I also got a rad copy of THE WILLIES on tape here when they were selling off their stock. Never went to the Roland Park location as much. In fact, I only started going there during its last few months, renting seasons of GAME OF THRONES with my girlfriend.


One last look at the plethora of films Video American provided to the public. I need that DIE HARD box standee, please.

After I took these photos, bought a couple of Elvira tapes, and walked out the door, I did think about how it might be the last time I would ever be in a functional video store ever again… and that was pretty weird, man."


I'll take browsing through a scene like this over clickity-clickin' through a queue any day, mang.

It IS pretty weird, man. But the magnetic memories this shop and the other innumerable bygone shops have provided will last a lifetime. Huge analog ups to Justin for documenting the last day of Baltimore’s last video shop, and for giving a bunch of tapes from that location a loving home. Now gim’me that copy of THE WILLIES before my head explodes, man! Justin and his crew of too groovy peeps also do some sweet screenings in Baltimore under the banner of MONDO BALTIMORE, so be sure to check ‘em on out if you’re in the area or aren’t afraid of a little adventure! You can check out their Baltimore premiere of Drew Bolduc’s SCIENCE TEAM by clicking THIS LINK, DUDE!

Groove and Groove and Be the Video Store.

Josh Schafer

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