This is a segment from The Carl King Podcast, Episode 27. Listen to it below in this handy player.
By the way, since I’m not doing a video version of the podcast this week, I’m posting all the photos I took as a photoblog on my website. And holy moly, there’s a link in the show notes. So go over there, and be blown away by the inside of that dang store.
Okay. Scarecrow is not just a video store, it is a non-profit publicly-available LIBRARY of rare films, some of them so rare that it’s the only known copy. Those allegedly require substantial cash deposits.
The place was such an inspiration. And by that, I mean it ENERGIZED me. Made me feel that everything is OK in the world.
It’s the experience of walking into a living museum of creativity. The people who run it operate by a different set of the rules. They live in another universe that’s better than ours. This is the way the world can be, if we really wanted it to.
So anyway, Scarecrow Video actually a FUNCTIONING video rental store. People were in there seriously renting movies. I thought, man, if I lived near this place I’d try to watch every movie in here. Which would be impossible, and I’m sure everyone has that thought. Or, they run out screaming.
Anyway, the guy working there gave me permission to take some photos. The first thing I wanted to do, since I wasn’t going to rent anything, was find a way to support the store. And I was glad to discover they sell T-shirts. Perfect.
I also wanted to get Mark Borchardt a souvenir, but I couldn’t remember his shirt size. Even though I send him shirts all the time, I can never remember. So I gave him a call. His response was classic Borchardt, and you have to imagine this in his voice: “Carl, I was born extra large. I’ll die extra large… And in between I will live… extra large.” Mark is a very tall guy. But I think he meant that each day he lives his life to the fullest. He was super fired-up when I called, and laughing at me. I was trying to keep my voice down because I was in a store, wearing an N-95 mask. He was over there in Milwaukee celebrating my birthday.
It was impossible to fully take-in the scope of the contents of that place. You’d probably need to go there a dozen times, or even work there, to begin to understand what’s in it.
Here’s another little tidbit. This happens nowhere else I go. TWO different people walked up and tried to make friends with me as I stood outside taking some photos. One was a typical nerd guy like you’d see at Comic Con, super hairy. And a couple minutes later, there was another guy on a bicycle who had a band aid across his bottom lip. I had never seen a bandaid used like that before. He said to me: “You’re a geek too!”
What an unusually friendly neighborhood. I wonder how many Very Good Friends I’d have if I lived around there.
By the way, Scarecrow video was somehow able to get Scarecrow.com. I’m sure that domain is worth a lot of money. They must have gotten it waaaaay back when the internet first started. So check out Scarecrow.com.