Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee maintains vintage appeal

by Pamela Wells 545 views0

Eddie Brandt’s is the first video rental store in Los Angeles. It is still going strong after 43 years in business. It includes all the Hollywood classics from the silent era to recent releases. It has early television shows to the present. It has movies in westerns, musicals, documentaries and animation.

Claire Brandt opened the store with her husband Eddie Brandt. The video store has the largest independent collection of still photos in the country.

The store opened in 1969 as a thrift store. “The animation business had gone down the tubes,” Claire said. “Eddie saw this as a career move.”

Eddie suggested to his wife that they buy a videotape and rent it out to people.

“We would buy one a week because they were very expensive then,” Claire said.

The store now has 80,000 videotapes and 20,000 DVDs.

Doug Haferty, an art director for historical soundtracks, has been a customer at Eddie Brandt’s for six years.

“This is one of the best sources for movie stills from old movies,” Haferty said. “Claire knows these movies. I’ve never heard of some of these movies but Claire will say I know that one.”

Eddie Brandt died on Feb. 20, 2011. He was 90 years old. Claire currently runs the store with her son Donovan. Claire has been affected by the economy, the Internet, the drop in use of DVDs, and the rise of rental services like Netflix and Redbox but the original movies from the early days make Eddie Brandt’s a store that no one can compete with.

“This place used to be buzzing,” Claire said. “People aren’t coming in anymore like they used to. We don’t know exactly why, but so far we’re surviving.”

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