Sunday, December 31, 2017

Visiting Hyatt's Classic Video

Well, here we are. The final moments of 2017. In just a few hours, 2018 will be ushered in and everyone will be making their plans to have an even bigger and better year. I know I'm among those who have an optimistic view on everything, so 2018 is already being eyed as "best year ever". But as the calendar turns, let's not forget the moments that made 2017 so great. New friends, new events, new everything. That's the beauty of a new year. And speaking of new events...

Say hello to Hyatt's Classic Video. One of the last video rental stores in my area and one that's been a entertainment staple in the community for over 35 years. Owned by the same married couple for all those years, this store became the go to spot for an instant timewarp in recent years. A lot of my video collecting buddies told me about it and I had to check it out. I'm glad I did when I did because one step into this store, and you're 6 years old looking at GI Joe vhs all over again.

First thing you notice when you walk in was the clutter. Bob Hyatt, the owner, has amassed a LOT of movies over the years which made the movie collectors dream come true but most likely a highly organized persons biggest nightmare. I'm used to clean and organized video stores but I'm not gonna split hairs here. I'm in an actual video store that rents and sells tapes! I can't really be picky. I mean how can I...wait...what's this?!?!


As if my nostalgia meter wasn't going off the charts already, this just makes me go even crazier. Resting on the end of one many rows of VHS, I can't help but think this exact clock was produced just to hang in a video store. I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time I've seen it in a rental store. In fact, a video store I used to frequent about 13 years ago had one hanging in their kids section and it just added to the ambiance of this somewhat holy ground of movies. This was a great sign of things to come. My confidence is now at an all time high and I'm pretty convinced I'm walking away with something memorable...

Well this was a bit overwhelming. Rows of beautiful vhs tapes. The photo doesn't do the actual aisles proper justice, it was literally like being in a library meant only for tapes. I didn't dare attempt a count of how many tapes rested on each shelving unit but the rumor is Mr. Hyatt had 55,000 vhs tapes in that store. If you're a tape collector, this is the kinda spot you'd come to get quick inspiration or if you're lucky, a tape or two to fill your collection.

A lot of familiar faces and tape spines were seen including two beautiful copies of The Wizard. Plenty of common tapes but a lot of rare and in demand tapes that collectors would sell their own grandmother for.

Elvira and Mary Lou Maloney? Be-still my beating heart.

A real "cool" section, the fascinating finds and ridiculous tapes were getting a bit much for even me to handle. Plus, I had to get to work, so I scooped up a few tapes for myself. Tapes I haven't been able to find outside eBay.

Toy Soldiers, Bullies, Elvira and an episode of My Pet Monster. A nice haul with some great shelf fillers. I've been wanting to to get my hands on Toy Soldiers specifically. Loved that movie as a kid, but hadn't watched it since about 1992 or so. Thankfully, all these years later, it still holds up. Elvira and Bullies were great additions as well but let's look at that MPM tape for a second...

The "children" sticker, the sun damage box, the illustration. Man, you can't create a better vhs cover if you tried. Scientists will be studying this cover for ages simply because it's the perfect video store artifact and declare this as the ultimate pinnacle in the history of man's achievements.

It was time to go. But in order to buy tapes and possibly purchase more tapes, I had to open an account. Thankfully, Mr. Hyatt was more than happy to give me my own membership card and I was more than happy to treat it like solid gold. I want this laminated and framed. It's glorious.

Sadly, I'd only come to this store once but I *kinda* knew that would happen. It was a great place to spend an hour looking at tapes and all, as well as feel like a kid again, but after 35 years or so, Mr Hyatt and his wife shut down. This isn't the most shocking situation. Plenty of other stores have shut down after dwindling audiences and changes in technology. Even worse, I didn't find out until the day it shut down and had no chance to revisit. BUT. The good news is, every tape that wasn't scooped up by collectors were donated to a local film archive for future preservation. Even better? The Hyatt's moved down the road to a different location, so thankfully they're not out of business, just downsizing. With movies being so hot this year, there's plenty of time for the happy couple and many future generations to discover more movies! Hyatt's Classic Video may not be in the original location, but it's legacy among Rochesterians continues to live on.

Oh and you're darn right I cherish the video bag I was given alongside my purchase:




  1. COOL AS ICE!! I have been hunting that one for years the only way you can watch it is on riff tracks. Sad they had to down size but glad they are still around. Is it sick in my head that I want to open a rental store? I think streaming has run its course and strongly feel rental stores will make a return soon.

  2. That place looks like a treasure trove! I'd love nothing more than to find an old video store like this and just wander around aimlessly.