R.I.P Video 98

Five years ago, just a few months before moving to California, I found myself rediscovering a beloved video store in my hometown Panama City, Florida. If you're a longtime reader you may remember that this became somewhat of an event. I was buying out some crappy dvds from the diminishing Movie Gallery's of Bay County and discovered that the Mom and Pop Video shop I frequented during my adolescence was still "thriving". They were however switching from VHS to DVD /BRD. Their tapes weren't exactly cheap, around $5 a piece and at the time I had no real sense of their worth. All I knew was that I knew they'd be gone soon and I wanted them. So many self-realizations and elements of my personality were formed with the discoveries made in that store. The staleness and dingy carpet felt like forever. They certainly smelled like forever. But of course, it wouldn't last. Video 98's days were surely numbered, as are all rental stores of this ilk.

I just arrived back in town from a visit home and in doing so I had to check in on all my old favorite haunts, most of which are gone or so different that they might as well be gone. The most upsetting of which was inevitable closing of Video 98.

Video 98 circa 2010

The remains of Video 98 today. Even the sky has lost it's color.

Whatever that business is, I bitterly wish them failure. I don't have much to add except that this was a sanctuary - seeing it again felt kind of stupidly Cinema Paradisio-esque, as did my whole trip. A sad and scary 'can never go back' feeling that makes me feel uncomfortably adult and vulnerable. So consider this a belated funeral procession for the late Video 98.

To read some of my old 'Video 98 Collection' review, click here.


  1. Always sad to read things like this but I suppose its a sign of the (depressing) times as the cliché goes. All but one remains here and the "for lease" sign has been in the window for a while. Independently run from the beginning too. Shock that it lasted as long as it did.

  2. Video rental stores and small used record shops were the places I discovered meaning in the 80's and early 90's. Record stores have made a comeback as overpriced, vinyl-fetishing boutiques (once upon a time I could get an armful of records for a few bucks and try all kinds of music I'd never otherwise hear, now one mediocre, fair condition record is usually $20 or more!), but video rental stores are sadly gone forever. From your blogs I gather you are quite a bit younger than I am but we were both somehow fortunate enough to live at the right time to experience the magic of the mom and pop video rental joint. It's a sadly inevitable cultural loss but we can sit back smugly, pull out an old, obscure favorite movie we got for $2 at some hole-in-the-wall 15 or 20 years ago and feel lucky to have been there for the home video salad days.