Update: Sadly after I ran this article the last remaining Blockbusters in Alaska announced they were closing.
This month my family ventured to the Pacific Northwest. We watched whales frolic and feed, walked glaciers and even explored villages and remote areas both by land and sea. But, it was a little store in Anchorage that was deemed the “highlight” of our 12 – day excursion. Yes, apparently one can relive their childhood by simply walking through the doors of one of the last remaining Blockbuster video stores in the heart of Anchorage, Alaska.
This Blockbuster store is under the management of Kevin Daymude. “Blockbuster” as a corporation is long gone, due to the change of the video landscape. Replaced by streaming services, such as Netflix, the demand for video and gaming rentals has dwindled to nearly “zip”. However, in this part of the world, Blockbuster still holds relevance. New and “antique” videos and games adorn the shelves and there is the requisite aisle of theater sized boxed candies. You can purchase older videos for under a dollar and don’t forget the popcorn and cotton candy! The only “addition” to the Blockbuster of 20 years ago was a prominent display of movie memorabilia in the very front of the store, including some “goods” obtained from actor, Russell Crowe.
There is a very interesting story about how Blockbuster of Anchorage and Kevin Daymude received Russell Crowe’s items from the actor’s “ART OF DIVORCE SALE”. It would appear that the items were received via an intermediary who acted as a conduit for this Blockbuster store to receive these “treasures of cinematic history”. Among the memorabilia were two director chairs from the movie American Gangster that were used and embroidered with the actors’ names – Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Plus, there was from Russell Crowe’s collection a “jockstrap” that was placed in the display (and reportedly cost 7K!)
Who was the buyer of all these “artifacts” and what was the backstory? Well, the person who purchased many of Crowe’s items would be none other than HBO talk show host, John Oliver. The reason why… well that is a whole other story. Let’s start with Oliver’s announcement via Twitter from April 2018.
Hey, @blockbuster! Come and get it! pic.twitter.com/C8Cd85pWD8
— Last Week Tonight (@LastWeekTonight) April 16, 2018
And the reason why John Oliver bought these items? I’ll let Time Magazine explain the “details” in THIS article.
Why is this store still open while the vast majority have closed? I had an opportunity to chat with Kevin about the remaining Blockbuster stores in Alaska (and one in Oregon) and get more insight. (There are two videos for easier uploading.)
Lastly, if you do visit the DeBarr Rd. location of Blockbuster know that there are shirts and pullovers available for purchase. My entire family bought one – how could we not!?! Plus, we walked out with a handful of those repurposed DVDs for 99 cents each!