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Catalog Data

National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Community Life  Search this
Erol's Video Club.  Search this
24 Cubic feet (80 boxes, 11 oversized folders)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Press releases
The Video Press Kit Collection contains press kits produced from the late 1970s to the early 1990s for over 5,000 film titles for domestic and foreign productions dating from the 1930s to the early 1990s. This collection was created by Erol's Video Club in Springfield, Virginia. The date span of the collection reflects the release dates of the films profiled in the press kits.
Scope and Contents:
This collection was complied over approximately ten years by the Erol's Video Club in Springfield, Virginia. The Video Press Kit Collection contains an extensive range (over 5,000 titles) of press kits produced from the late 1970s to the late 1980's for domestic and foreign productions. Materials relating to earlier, vintage film and television are included but only as they pertain to their video release. Within each series, the materials are arranged alphabetically according to title. Some composite title press kits were built around a major title; these kits have been filed according to the most prominently displayed title. Not all secondary titles are listed in the finding aid. Folders containing combined advertisements for more than one movie are filed under the title used in the original order of the material as it was received by the Archives Center. The boxes are described giving an alphabetical range of titles contained in that box. Materials may include press releases, publicity stills, posters, clip-art, ad slicks, advertising, product packaging. Dates, when given, are either video release dates or original theatrical release dates, some entries remain undated since it is unclear what date to assign to the press kit or theatrical release. There may be some series' co-mingling due to original order; the researcher is advised to check all series even if on first glance it may not seem to apply to the title being searched. Works bearing the same title but with different release dates may sometimes be filed together under that title.
The collection is divided into ten series and is arranged alphabetically by video title. Series 1: Commercial Motion Pictures, 1935-1993, undated, contains press kits relating to the video release for motion pictures that were initially produced for the commercial film market or expressly for a straight-to-video release. They are arranged alphabetically by title and constitute the bulk of the collection. Series 2: Children, 1985, undated contains titles produced especially to appeal to the children's market. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Series 3: Documentaries and Educational, 1985, undated contains non-fiction titles produced as either a documentary or for an educational purpose, excepting sports related videos. Series 4: Instructional, undated contains titles produced for instruction. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Series 5: Varied Materials, 1985-1993, undated contains a variety of titles and material not easily assigned to any other series and a wide variety of advertising and publicity materials including catalogues, slides, photographs, and ephemera within this series. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Series 6: Performances, undated contains titles of filmed performances including dance, opera, concerts, and comedy. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Series 7: Sports and Fitness, 1988, undated contains sports-related titles and fitness videos (i.e., Jane Fonda's Workout). They are arranged alphabetically by title. Series 8: TV Series, undated contains press kits for video collections of television shows released on video either singly or as part of a collection. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Series 9: Video Collections, undated contains titles released as a collection, usually centering on a particular performer, director, or genre. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Series 10: Oversize Materials, 1947-1993, undated contains oversize stand-up displays and quarter, half, and full size posters. They are foldered according to size and titles are listed alphabetically within their respective folders.
Biographical / Historical:
The explosion of the video rental and purchase industry in the 1980s meant that not only would a motion picture, television show, or even a theatrical production, have a revenue-producing first run, it would have a second revenue generating life on video cassette geared to the home viewing market. The growth of the home viewing market also spurred an industry of exclusively made-for-video productions, compilations of popular and vintage television shows, educational and documentary features, and filmed theatrical entertainment. Video "clubs," as retail video tape rental/purchase stores were called, proliferated as the VCR revolution took hold throughout the United States. At first, local independent one-store operations and small chains dominated the market but within a few years, video rental purveyors had been consolidated into larger national and regional chains. Two examples are Erol's Video Club in the east and Blockbuster Video nationwide. As video moved into the 1990s further consolidation of video clubs took place. Erol's Video Club ceased to exist as a separate entity circa 1992 when it was sold to Blockbuster Video. To help "sell" the video product and assist video clubs in their rental/sale operations, production companies treated many video releases like a traditional first-run theatrical movie release - by preparing a press kit. These kits included some, but not all, of the standard publicity elements: 8x10 glossy photographs, posters, stand-ups, talent biographies and interviews, reviews, ad slicks, and other types of material. Some press kits were quite elaborate while others contained the barest essentials. Elaborate or simple, the goal of the press kit was to place the video product prominently in the viewing public's mind.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center Erol's Video Club Collection, 1984-1991 (AC0687) The collection consists of advertising and promotional materials for Erol's Video, Inc.
Donated to the Division of Cultural History, National Museum of American History from Erol's Video Club in 1993.
Collection is open for research but boxes 1-83 are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use. Standard copyright restrictions apply to all copyrighted material.
Video recordings industry  Search this
Motion picture industry  Search this
Advertisements -- 1980-2000
Posters -- 20th century
Photographs -- 1980-2000
Press releases
Video Press Kit Collection, 1935-1993, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Video Press Kits Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History