Eric's Heroes: Those who keep the magic of Scarecrow Video alive

Those who keep the magic of Scarecrow Video alive (KOMO News)

There is a place that for certain people, is a shrine. A hallowed place.

For some, that place is Oz. When everything went from black and white to color.

Meghann Crafton remembers walking in for the first time.

"You know the scene in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory when they open up the doors and all the kids are was like that," Crafton said.

This is Scarecrow Video. It is where movies live. It is where movie lovers die and go to heaven.

Matt Lynch is our tour guide. He is hopelessly, helplessly in love with movies.

When asked, "Why do we need all these movies?"

Lynch responded, "That's a terrible question! I mean, would you walk into the Louvre and say, 'why do we need all these paintings?'"

There are nooks and crannies jam packed with films at Scarecrow...chambers and passageways.

It is a cinematic catacomb, where the sacred bones of the golden age of the silver screen rest...waiting to be brought back to life.

"We actually ran out of room for the foreign films. If you look down here there's a red pole by Norway. We ran out of room so we had to jump across the aisle to where Pakistan goes, and the foreign films wrap around this aisle and end by the exit door with Zimbabwe," Lynch said.

There are 131,000 titles here. The biggest public collection in the world.

Nearly 15,000 titles are on VHS because they were never released on anything else.

"We are the only collection of this size, this magnitude, the breadth and scale of it, that is fully open to the public," Kate Barr said.

Movies say to the future, "We were here. This is what our world looked like. This is what our minds dreamed like."

"If you walk around and you just randomly grab something off of our shelves, that one item in and of itself, isn't necessarily that significant. What's significant is the totality of this collection," Barr said.

Scarecrow lives, because something else has been lost.

"Netflix has about 5,000 titles. We have 130,000 titles. You look at how many films they have from before say 1970, it's almost none. You know...we have thousands," Lynch said.

If you love, say, Montgomery Clift could search from here to eternity and never find your place in the sun.

So, how do you revisit something you saw way back when? How do you show your children?

Here, you find all of his movies. Here, you find all of everyone's movies.

It started in 1988 and four years ago, Scarecrow became a non-profit organization.

Scarecrow video will survive...but it won't be because everybody likes movies. It'll be because some people love movies.

And, because movies are magic. And we need magic.

Editor's Note: "Eric's Heroes" is a weekly series airing every Wednesday on KOMO News in the 6 p.m. newscast. If you have a good story about a good person doing good things for the right reasons, share it with Eric by sending an email to

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