Just Around the Corner: Reckless Video

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Publisher’s note: David Carlos often takes photos in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, but he occasionally submits photo essays capturing interesting places and events nearby. So we’ve given these essays a name: Just Around the Corner. Here’s his latest, on Seattle’s Reckless Video.

I wandered into the Reckless Video store for the first time Thursday, because after seeing so much change in Seattle, I have a feeling this place won’t be around too much longer.  It is the last family-owned video store in Seattle. (The only other video place, Scarecrow Video, is a non-profit owned by employees and loyal patrons.)

Opened on Thanksgiving Day 1990, this video store has survived in the age of Redbox and streaming video. Within the almost 100-year-old converted blue house, Reckless has 30,000 titles. The regular customers have dwindled to about 600 per week, according to a recent Seattle Times article. To keep going, it would be nice to have 800 per week.

As I stepped in, I could tell I had missed going into a video store. Shelves and shelves of DVDs occupied what was once a living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. The staff must have a sense of humor, too, because the movies weren’t categorized just by the boring titles: Science Fiction, Drama, or Comedy. Some shelves were titled “Weed” (for marijuana-centric films),” ‘Spoitation” (for cheesy B-movie/action flicks), “End of the World” (apocalyptic themes), in addition to movies broken down by directors, actors and authors. Yes, there’s even a “Nicholas Sparks” section. Ewww.

My favorite observation: The “Foreign Films” section held movies from far-off countries such as China, France, Eastern Europe and Africa. But if you look closer, there’s a subsection titled “Ballard.

There’s a wood stake at the cash register that says, “Vampire Asking Stick.”

There’s a candy coin machine full of Reese’s Pieces, with a label, “E.T.’s Favorite.”

And there are movie lists from each employee’s favorite movies. I imagine they are well-versed in all genres of films. Today, the guy behind the cash register was watching Steve McQueen’s “The Great Escape” playing on a wall.

Not wanting to leave empty-handed, I decided to rent “Machete” and its sequel, “Machete Kills,” with Danny Trejo. I don’t have to return them for 7 days, so I’ll have plenty of time to watch them, once or twice.

Try this place out. You’ll be supporting a local business, and getting a feel of what renting movies was like back in the ’80s and ’90s.  Be…Reckless.

Reckless Video
9020 Roosevelt Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115

— Story and photos by David Carlos

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