I believe I mentioned that when my brother and I were living in Hollywood together we were always broke, and I mean flat broke. We couldn’t go anywhere, we couldn’t do anything. Our idea of a good night was to score a joint, a six pack, a bag of Doritoes and rent a movie. That was our entertainment a lot of the time. Luckily, we rented movies at a cool little place called “Video Hut.” It was on the corner of Franklin and Highland in a tiny strip mall. It was a little store that had a little porn section where I was first exposed to famous titles such as “Schindler’s Fist,” “Star Whores” and “Beverly Hills Copulator.” My brother and I would sometimes browse this section just to laugh at the titles. That’s poor people entertainment.
We had a nice relationship with the owner of the store…well, he sort of had a crush on me and that really worked in my favor. Because when we didn’t have any money for a movie, he would let me take it and pay him later. We would usually pay him when it got up to $20 or so, but we had a long stretch of being really broke and we just kept getting movies and racking up our bill. In fact, it got up to about $100 and then we just stopped going in there. What could we do? We were getting “Pay in 3 Days or Quit” notices from our landlord on a regular basis. We were struggling to pay our rent and buy food at the 99cent store let alone paying our movie bill.
Well, sometimes you just get lucky. We were driving by one day and happened to notice that Video Hut had burned down! No, we didn’t do it. We looked at each other with surprise but were both kind of smiling and my brother said, “Fire is our friend” (a line from Young Frankenstein). We actually felt relieved that the place burned to the ground. Isn’t that sick? But when you’re broke, that’s a little dream come true. You wish every place you owed money to would burn down.
I wonder if it burned because it was a “hut.” A video hut would burn more easily than say a video depot or a video adobe. But I always had this sneaking suspicion that maybe a little foul play was in order to maybe collect some insurance money? If so, I hope he got more than $100 for it.
More poor people entertainment stories to come….I hope you’re having a great day thus far.