It seems every corner shop had a small part of the shop dedicated to rental videos, even petrol stations found a place for them. I can even remember someone used to drive around with a boot full of videos to rent to people on their doorstep, the demand was huge!
TV was four channels until Sky came along in the late 80s but it took a long time to become the force which it is today.
The first mainstream video rental shop to open in the Consett area was RITZ on Front Street with it’s bright yellow shop front and giant red font writing, it stood out in the town. It was a small shop which made full use of it’s space. I remember walking in as a child to see an endless wall of videos.
There were long waits for new releases ( VHS videos took far longer for manufacturers to produce, and it wasn’t always as easy as pressing a button and moments later a DVD would pop out).
From the time when a movie came out at the cinema to it being available on video was close to a year, if not more. Videos were also out to rent before you could buy them. This was a problem for me, but it also had a positive effect on my viewing habits. If all the latest video releases were being rented by someone else, it meant you’d have to wait until someone would return one of the limited copies to your local video shop. This is where the lost art of finding an alternative video to rent would mean you would discover all kinds of great films and hidden gems.
The old term, “Never judge a book by its cover” is also true for videos, but I think you should also never judge a film by its trailer.