Video store will be missed


MONTCLARION NEWSPAPER – March 13  2009

LIKE A CHAMPION boxer, bloodied but proud, he fought to the very end.

Over the years, Gary Wong tried everything to keep Movie Express a competitor. He gave out popcorn and offered two movies for the price of one. He hired film-savvy employees and kept plenty of the most popular titles in stock. He gave and gave and gave to the schools and other local charities.But after two decades, the Montclair movie rental shop has taken a knock-out punch. Netflix and Movies on Demand have changed the way we rent films.

It’s a sad day in Montclair. I’ll miss the smell of fresh popcorn coming from the little shop in the mall. I’ll miss swapping movie trivia with the guys behind the counter. And I’ll miss Gary Wong — a fighter who stayed in the ring for all 12 rounds.

E-MAIL BAG: Reader Robb Lazarus is one of the many folks who’ll miss Movie Express. “I have been a regular customer almost all that time, since the store was up on Mountain.” He says movies were played on VCRs back then. “DVDs were only a glimmer of someone’s imagination.”

Meanwhile”… It’s been months since Curves closed its doors in Montclair, but reader Bonnie Candell is still lamenting the loss of the weight loss place. What she misses most is the female camaraderie and support, something lacking in most gyms. Meanwhile, the space remains empty and one has to wonder — wouldn’t some rent be better than no rent at all?

CLASS ACT: I had lunch with local celebrity Brian Murphy the other day — one of the totally cool hosts of the KNBR morning show “Murph and Mac.” Murphy lives in Montclair and has one of those gigs where he gets up at the crack of dawn — and drives into the city. For four frantic hours, he and broadcast partner Paul McCaffrey chew the fat about every big sports story of the day. They are funny and hip and their style is over easy — just like the eggs at Murph’s favorite Montclair restaurant, the Egg Shop.

PHONE KICKS: Annoyed by the constant barrage of telemarketing calls — even when you’re on the National Do Not Call Registry?

Reader Kathie Fagan and friends have come up with an alternative to the futile pursuit of trying to stop the calls. They push “1” to talk to a live operator. “We put ’em on speakerphone,” she writes, “and listen to them say “hello?” multiple times — in tones of escalating annoyance — before they hang up.” It’s the little things in life”…

NATURE CALLS: Who says horoscopes are a bunch of hooey? Reader Audrey Daniels says her reading was right on, last week, when it suggested she do something completely different to “avoid getting struck by lightning.” Only hours earlier she had been evacuated from the pool at her swim club because of — you guessed it — a rare Oakland lightening storm. Strange “… but true.

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