Video Americain
About Us

The Video Americain community is a religious group of VHS and DVD addicts. We currently convene at two cathedrals dedicated to magnetic tape and digital video worship. These are located in Baltimore and Takoma Park, Maryland.

With 800 titles, a hand-painted sign featuring Humphrey Bogart, and a profound love of movies, Video Americain was started in Newark, Delaware in February 1988. The three original co-owners—Barry Solan, Michael Bradley, and David Ostheimer—had, as their shared background, many years of working together at Newark’s beloved State Theatre. The State was a somewhat raggedy old vaudeville theater, which from the years 1979 to mid-1986 brought Newark the “classic” repertory format; great double features with foreign films, popular hits, and cult favorites, rock n roll movies, porno-chic fare, and Rocky Horror Picture Show (on Saturday nights for 7 1/2 years!). This format existed in a circuit of old theaters in major cities and college towns during those pre-video years, and a few continue to this day. David and Michael started as ushers at the State, working for Barry, who had as his original partner Al Malmfelt. Al was owner of The Theater of the Living Arts (TLA) during the years that most of the present TLA Video partners were cutting their movie teeth with him as their boss. Barry joined the ranks of these present TLA partners for a boisterous and exciting three-year period in the mid-80s, working with them in the TLA (the rep house), the Roxy (the 1st run house), and the beginning of TLA Video, in their original South Street and Sansom Street locations. Barry left the TLA in 1987, and soon after threw his lot in with Michael and David, who had the idea of bringing the State Theatre/TLA Video concept to Newark. Their first Baltimore store, the Cold Spring store made famous in John Waters’ “Serial Mom,” followed early in 1989, and new locations have been popping up (and sometimes moving until the right location is found!) ever since.

Video Americain now has one store in Baltimore and one in Takoma Park, MD. Each store has an inventory of somewhere between 20 and 30,000 videos and DVDs, and the chain has earned a national reputation for the diligence with which it takes its role as a serious but accessible film archive, as well as a place to peruse the latest hits. Video Americain has been in business for over 20 years, and feels that it has never done its job better than it does now. This is largely due to its fantastic staff that makes sure that there are no trends, movements, or national cinemas that do not quickly find shelf space in the Video Americain stores. As has been the case since as far back as the old State Theatre, Barry, Michael, and David have always have had as their goal a desire to provide great movies to a diverse number of tastes and sensibilities. From weary young parents looking for a good laugh on a Saturday night, to young art-school students who feel that incomprehensibility—in film and in life—is a virtue, to seniors for whom two hours with Fred or Gene brings a twinkle back to their eye, Video Americain has the right film for you, and great people to help you get it. Video Americain is intensely grateful for your loyal patronage for many years now, many more than we ever thought might be possible, and hopes to continue to provide this service for many years in the future. As Video Americain enters its third decade, we thank you and look forward to serving you in our stores.

To learn more about our service, check out our Rental Policy.


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