In 1977, “Video Cassette Rentals” opened in Los Angeles becoming the nation’s first VHS and Betamax movie rental store. Over the next two years, the business expanded to almost 50 stores and changed its name to “The Video Station”
What could you rent in 1977? Fox had licensed 50 films to Magnetic Video who had started selling tapes for $50 a pop in the fall. The owner of Video Cassette Rentals purchased one VHS and one Beta of each film with funds raised from newspaper ads (above). There’s also evidence Adult films were available for rent, since the store had been selling them earlier.
The rich story of how this confluence of technology, piracy, pornography and politics birthed today’s multi-kajillion dollar Home Entertainment industry is covered in the book, “Smutty Little Movies: The Creation and Regulation of Adult Video.” Dig it >