In the beginning, there was Video Ezy. And it was good. The first Video Ezy store in Australia, it sat on the corner of Forest Road and Queens Road, Hurstville, and had a carpark out the back where each spot was done up to look like it was reserved for a particular 90s superstar. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore were not beside each other. But the small space allotted to Video Ezy wasn’t big enough, so the Caltex petrol station across the road made way for BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO, the biggest, most explosive video shop experience the 90s had ever seen. It had it all – TVs built into the GROUND! Two storeys of videos, with the action and porn upstairs TOGETHER! Sonic the Hedgehog flying a plane IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOP!
Yes, you read that right. The shop also featured a drive-thru feature for those not extreme enough to handle the assault on the senses waiting inside. I always thought about how annoying it must have been to be the drive-thru operator at Blockbuster, especially in the 90s, and despite the helpful Top 10 Hottest Movies list they had outside:
45th CUSTOMER OF THE DAY: Hmm…The Specialist! What’s that about?
BLOCKBUSTER GUY: Uh…Stallone–
CUSTOMER: No. Cliffhanger! What’s that one about?
BLOCKBUSTER GUY: Kill me.
These days, it’s pretty standard shoeshop fare inside. Even the floor TVs are gone. They went to a lot of effort to paint over things, but clearly only in the areas they knew the customers would be. Blockbusters everywhere are disappearing rapidly as the video shop ice age sets in. Rivers on the other hand are set for life – people will always need terrible looking ties.