By Barry Barbe

Rewind.

“Believe it or not kids, there was a time when Mommy and Daddy would have to drive to a store to rent a VHS Movie and a machine the size of a typewriter in order to watch them.”

“Dad, what’s a typewriter?”

Most anyone over 50 recalls the appearance of movie rental stores and later the “Red Boxes” where you could rent DVDs and return them via mail a couple days later. This was well before the evolution of streaming services such as Netflix, which changed the way in which we discovered and watched movies in our homes.

Randy Rogers, of Show Business Video at 407 W. Goodwin has watched the evolution, challenges and the disappearance of the neighborhood video store, having opened Show Business Video in Jackson Hole Wyoming back in 1984. Later in 1994 Randy and the store moved to Prescott where it became a favorite among local film enthusiasts, and families, outlasting national chain stores. Recently, the library of over 57,000 titles was purchases by a benevolent benefactor.

In a creative turn of retail turned nonprofit, the new venture is now known as the Prescott Film Society. While still operating as Show Business Video, the organization looks to secure the heritage of film, while offering educational and vocational training programs.

The concept of the video store turned nonprofit has been utilized and successful in other larger communities which operate similar to a public library with workshops, discussion groups, and film screenings.

At the same time, and for reasons unknown, DVD rentals have seen a resurgence in popularity similar to that of vinyl albums. Perhaps it’s the sheer cost of streaming services which can run into the hundreds of dollars monthly, or perhaps it has something to do with the change in social norms since 2020.

As societal technology continues to move forward at a record pace, we continue to long sling for those things which are tangible and relationships built around them. In this case, perhaps community and social interaction is proving stronger than convenience.

To that theme, Show Business Video offers a selection of hard-to-find films, classic television programs, concerts and foreign films that are not readily available online, along with an enthusiastic group of volunteers to share their favorites with you.

The store also offers a sense of nostalgia as you peruse the collection that has been carefully cataloged for close to half a century by a single individual.

The group looks to preserve Randy’s hard work and passion by continuing to offer a face and some conversation about new releases, a favorite director or film noir.

The store itself has also gone through a transformation as the group continues to present a wide variety of offerings that run the gambit from traditional to niche films.

Visitors can now enjoy the comfort of some soft seating for conversation, as well as a viewing area with a knowledgeable staff of volunteers as you explore new works.<br />

Overseen by a board of directors, the group looks to increase education in the history of film, while promoting the Prescott area as a movie production destination.

The Prescott area has a history of western films having been shot here, but at some point in time, that all but dried up as other areas such as Albuquerque New Mexico, promoted themselves, offering incentives to production companies to spend their time and dollars in their communities.

With a variety of landscapes as well as architecture, Prescott offers backdrops which could be used in a variety of film genres. Prescott could easily fit into the storylines of Westerns, something looking to be shot in the Midwest, and a variety of other locales.

One thing that is lacking is a sound stage, which would make the area even more attractive as well as the possibility of being used for vocational training and apprentice programs for students and adults looking to gain knowledge in the industry, and something to group is looking to secure.

The benefit of such a vision is useful on many levels.

As public schools and colleges increase their vocational film programs, students are looking for opportunities to stay in their communities while pursuing their career choice.

Show Business Video and the Prescott Film Society are currently screening films locally at the Raven Café and working with the Prescott Film Festival to continue its outreach.

For more information, or to take a film home, visit Show Business Video at 407 W, Goodwin, 2 to 7p.m. daily except Sundays.

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