They Don’t Know “Shane” from “Shinola”

Posted on: September 23, 2017


It’s been widely reported that the vast majority of millennials have not watched a black and white movie all the way through, if at all.


I can tell you from my personal experience with Netflix that one of the main reasons older/classic films on Netflix are rapidly declining is because they hired people in their 20s to do the programming – techies and/or MBA’s with no film background.  To them “old” and “classics” were interchangeable, so it wasn’t surprising for them to literally or figuratively close their eyes, touch a list and – bingo – selection made.  That’s why you got “classics” like “Blood of Dracula’s Castle” instead of “Dracula”  — “Psycho” (1998) instead of “Psycho” (1960) – hey, newer in color must be better.  (According to Newsweek there are just 43 movies on Netflix streaming made before 1970)


I can hear the scheduling conference in Silicon Valley now, “Any of you hear of this ‘Dumbo’ from Disney?   Sounds boring.  Hey, they also have “Operation Dumbo Drop,” perfect – lot of poop jokes so we can double it up with ‘Superbad’.”  (I did say 20-somethings.)


What happened next?  These “so-called” classics failed to generate viewers, and the wet behind the ears film buyers went to their superiors with the proclamation “no one wants classics.”


Amazon Prime Instant Video still offers at least a semblance of classics, but it’s a combination of the usual third generation public domain movies we’ve seen in every big box store’s dollar bin, and a lot of lackluster quasi-classics again selected by title.  No different from Netflix.  Don’t blame the studios — they license classics affordably — so it isn’t a matter of money.


Remember the saying when cable and satellite expanded and we said “300 Channels and nothing to see?”  Now it’s 1,000 channels, and one to see – TCM.


The owners of classics — major studios as well as minor leaguers like myself — all expected a world of hundreds of channels on cable, later satellite, and then download/ streaming to mean new outlets for older films, called “library titles” in the biz.  Didn’t happen.    Instead, we got reality shows and their never-ending spinoffs.  Setting aside movies for the moment — try and find a good selection of TV shows made before 1980.


There are 76 million baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) living today, and 79 million Generation Xrs (b. 1965-80).  Hollywood and Silicon Valley are ignoring the entirety of Boomers, and a chunk of Xr’s, is one reason DVD and Blu-ray sales of older films and television series continue to sell briskly.


As we proudly attest on The Sprocket Vault website, you’ll find a varied collection of DVDs and Blu-rays in almost every genre ranging from classics, the not-so-classics, and countless hours of entertainment in-between.


And I should add: “Movies You Won’t Find on Netflix!”


Here’s the Newsweek article:


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3 Responses to "They Don’t Know “Shane” from “Shinola”"

Went looking for Bell, Book and Candle to no avail. Educating my kids with all my old favourites.


Amazon has it for under $10.


Thanks – already bought and watched 😉


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