Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eddie Brandt is Gone But the Store Lives On

We’re not telling you anything new when we say we live in a digital world. We email instead of writing letters. We text instead of making a phone call. And we watch movies via streaming rather than going to the local video store. In fact there really aren’t any local video stores any more. That’s what makes Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee in Burbank, California, adjacent North Hollywood extra special.

Besides a random mom and pop shop and the last few free standing Blockbuster stores, there aren’t a lot of options to pick up a DVD. Some supermarkets have Redbox machines where you can grab a flick for $1.  And of course, you can order discs from Netflix, but by the time they show up, you usually forgot you had once had any desire to see the documentary about the typeface Helvetica.

That’s why Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee is such a special place. The secret pleasure of many locals has DVD’s and videotapes, and their selection goes far beyond the commercial options of big budget, studio movies like Avatar. Anyone looking for a rare find, should get Brandt’s on the phone ASAP.

So we had a heavy heart when we heard the news this week that the Eddie Brandt had passed away. It never occurred to us that Brandt was a real guy. In our mind he was a Burger King-like figurehead. But it turns out that the man behind the video store was a writer, cartoonist and composer. He worked for Hanna-Barbera and played the piano for the likes of Spike Jones. Brandt was also a collector – hence the wide selection of movie posters, production stills and lobby cards that are also available at the store.

Sadly he died on February 20 from colon cancer at the age of 89. His wife Claire and son Donovan have been minding the store for the last few years and we can only hope they’ll continue to do so. Eddie Brandt’s may be a local treasure, but it stands as a shining example of small business in an ever-changing landscape.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, visit Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee at 5006 Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood, California 91601.
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