Rest in peace, George Latsios.
I remember when Scarecrow Video was in the tiny, tiny Latona storefront location. Though it was small, I was always surprised by the amazing obscure movies that were there. So one day, I went in wondering if they would have a copy of my favorite obscure movie that was never released on video in the US, and barely even played in US theaters. I went up to the counter and George asked me what I was looking for. I started to describe the movie, figuring that, like every other video store clerk in the world, he would shake his head and tell me they didn’t have it and had never heard of it. But his face lit up in a wide smile and he interrupted me — “YES! I love that movie!” — and ran to a shelf and picked up a copy in PAL format. “It’s never been released in the US, but we can rent you a PAL VCR/TV so you can watch it.” And so I got to see a movie I thought I might never see again.
A couple of years later, in the huge new Roosevelt store, we talked about the movie again. It seems that he talked to the film’s director (a Seattle native), and got personal permission to make an NTSC copy of the film to rent at Scarecrow, because “this is a great movie and it should be accessible to everyone.” Now, this is a movie that almost no one in the US knows or cares about, though it’s a wonderful film. But George Latsios knew it was worth seeing, and he made sure that Scarecrow had it.
Goodbye, George — you will be missed.
(See also the P-I and Times obituaries.)