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News Opinion Readers Respond

Must Video Americain face its final reel?

It is with a heavy heart that I heard the news that Video Americain would be closing ("Losing business, Video Americain faces fadeout," Aug. 27). The store and its owner Barry Solan have been close to my heart since I first came into contact with them in 1997 as a young collegian looking for a part-time job to have a little extra cash to help get by.

But the other reason I wanted to work at Video Americain's then-Takoma Park location was that I loved the movies they rented there. In those days, it was VHS tapes mostly and eventually, DVDs, that were becoming more prevalent.

The clerks at Americain weren't just clerks but movie lovers, future directors themselves, many of them, and musicians. I remember we used to play the band Jawbox and their rocked-out version of Tori Amos' "Cornflake Girl" and were told a member of the band used to work at Americain.

On Friday nights, Barry or his then-partner David Ostheimer would work alongside us and buy us some pizza to boot. When my distant relative James Grady found out I worked there, he paid a visit and even signed a copy of the movie "Three Days of the Condor" they had, based on his book, "Six Days of the Condor."

I later approached Barry about sponsoring my radio show when I moved to Baltimore for law school. He didn't hesitate in saying yes. I returned the favor several years later in bringing his son on as an intern to my law firm.

I stopped by Video Americain whenever I lived nearby their Cold Spring or Charles Village stores. The first sign of trouble was Takoma Park's closing, then Charles Village last year.

People of the new generation have just found Netflix an easier venue to rent movies than having to do so much as drive to a store and support local business.

With the eventual closing of Video Americain, as Chris Kaltenbach so eloquently writes, so will end an era in Baltimore. This will be the end of renting movies as we know it. But good luck finding some of the titles Americain has anywhere else, or someone with such a true and honest love of movies like Barry.

I, for one, hope some angel can come to the rescue at the 11th hour and save the titles they have for future generations.

Thomas Maronick Jr., Baltimore

The writer can be heard as "Tom Moore," host of "The Tom Moore Show," on 680 WCBM.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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