"Go back and reconcile your past,
in order to move tranquilly into your future."
Also... I love saying . . . "I've touched more videos than Walt Disney!"
I'm probably the only individual on the planet who can make that statement.
Did I hear someone say, "Yeah, Right!" Ok. Fair enough. Let me explain.
In September 1981 we opened a video store which introduced us and our customers to many never before seen problems. One of which was the fact that people rarely returned tapes they rented rewound. Put up a sign by the register that proclaimed:
"Be kind to a friend... Rewind at the end."
Before long the local wise guys (we were located in the heart of South Philly) began calling us the "Be Kind Rewind" guys. One of our guys, Joey Palmisano, took to writing it on labels and putting them directly on the rental cassettes. Pretty soon we were buying so many tapes, Joey began complaining. One of our regulars, who happened to own a printing company, offered to print up some labels for us.
As business picked up (you might could say exploded), we soon found ourselves having to sell off multiple copies of movies once demand died down. Naturally, other video stores were our best customers and began asking us if they could buy the labels. Not being one to turn down found money, we started selling the labels.
About the same time I was looking into producing instructional tapes (Pro Blakjack and Pro Chess). Had to get familiar with copyright law and was consulting with an Attorney and mentioned the Be Kind label in passing. He said "Let's Trademark it!" Well, it took some doing but we finally got the Trademark.
Started exhibiting at video trade shows selling both the labels and our Pro Blackjack tape (some of you old salt retailers may remember us - we'd set up a BJ table and play a little). Anyway, the labels were a hit from the start.
By 1984 several label companies were infringing and I had to make a decision as to press the Trademark by bringing suit. My attorney advised me that it would probably take a couple of years and cost at least five thousand. At best we'd get a cease and desist order (no damages).
Like an idiot, I decided not to exercise the trademark at the time. Who knew? We were making a ton of money with the business, I had three beautiful kids and life was grand. I got to admit that I was also flattered that everyone in the industry was using the label. The rest is history (well, sorta anyway).
Thanks for listening and remember, Be Kind, Rewind.
Go Easy, Stay Well and Stay in Touch,