Do you miss 'Ken Cranes'?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Keith Paynter, Nov 24, 2003.

  1. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    This may be more appropriate in the Vendor section - mods, make the decision.


    Having read today's Digital Bits post, it has been noted that their links re:upcoming DVD cover art now link to Amazon.com, as their agreement with DVD Planet has come to a conclusion now that DVD-P is being purchased by another company.

    That statement made me very nostalgic for the Ken Cranes of old, when Laserdisc was the niche product by which they made their reputation, before the Dark Times - I mean - before DVD mass marketing.

    The family business model has definitely been eroded, and I can't help but miss the helpful telephone customer service people (I live in Canada, eh...) who were patient with me as I frequently went down my list of back catalogue wants, even though they would frequently tell me 'out of stock', they were courteous about it, and if I came away with only a couple of titles, if none at all, they were very good people, and I frequently went to them for hard-to-find stuff that remains on my shelf to this day.

    I can't say the same for their current state as another mass-market DVD retailer. I have never bought a DVD from them, and I have heard people remark about very poor service during their transition.

    Your thoughts/stories on the KCLD of old...?
     
  2. Larry Schneider

    Larry Schneider Second Unit

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    Agreed; I once had the kid on the telephone go into the store to snag the last copy of a nearly-out-of-stock title. They they were bought by Image...
     
  3. Dave_P.

    Dave_P. Supporting Actor

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    Yep, before the internet exploded, I would eagerly await Thursdays to call in and press 2 to hear the week's new laserdisc releases. Then I'd always watch for the UPS truck (their default carrier back then) to drop off a nice thick 5 lb box of discs. Ahh, the good old days, where have you gone? They went from best retailer to worst. What a shame...
     
  4. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    Ken Crane's existed in a different era, in which the economic outlook of web-based businesses seemed limitless. Since a great many fewer people owned DVD players, studios & distributors were willing to discount titles sharply, in the hopes of luring more consumers into buying players and starting DVD collections.

    Venture capital was easier to come by and profit margins were higher, so companies could afford to pay decent salaries with good benefits (or even give stock options). Happy workers who feel they are valued are much more likely to give good customer service than those who feel they are underpaid and overworked.

    Companies now face the difficult choice of remaining price-competitive (and working on tight margins) or offering better customer service (and risk pricing themselves out of the market). DVD Planet tried to do both (in the Ken Crane's tradition) and lost their shirts.
     
  5. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Guilty as charged! That was a way to confirm if a title was really coming out (think Criterion's Brazil)
     
  6. William Waits

    William Waits Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought it was pretty sad that I knew 4 telephone operators by name by their voice, and they all knew mine, and they didn't have callerID...

    Those good feelings about ordering from a good company are long gone...
     
  7. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    I also miss Ken Cranes, I bought quite a few laserdiscs from them back in the day. It was harder to find laserdiscs around me so I used the convenience of internet and great reputation and nice people to have them shipped to me. Stopped using them just before the buy-out and once DVD came mainstream it was just easier to buy locally.

    A time passed and dearly missed. I think I'm just sad that the magnificant laserdisc is no longer a known product, and never will it get true credit for thrusting the home theatre forward. :..(

    Michael
     
  8. Scott Simonian

    Scott Simonian Screenwriter

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    Ken Cranes is where I used to buy my DTS DVDs when they first came out. You couldnt find them in local stores at the time.
     
  9. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    I'd almost forgotton why I own a huge mailbox, it was so those Laserdisc boxes would be safe.
     
  10. Michael Cucka

    Michael Cucka Stunt Coordinator

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    When I first got into laserdiscs several years ago, Ken Cranes was a regular stop for me on the internet to pick-up what they were clearing out.

    I remember one time ordering an OOP box set at a good price, had it arrive damaged, only to be told that it couldn't be returned for an exchange since they no longer had any copies remaining.

    After whining and complaining about an opportunity lost to their phone help staff, I was surprised to get a call from Ken Crane himself apologizing for the loss and promising he'd locate a copy somehow and get it out to me - plus, he spent about a half hour on the phone with me just talking shop.

    Sure enough, some time later, the set arrived in pristine condition! [​IMG]

    Don't find that kind of interaction to often nowadays...
     
  11. HankM

    HankM Second Unit

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  12. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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    1-800-624-3078 [​IMG]

    Used to call all the time to get the release dates.

    Neil
     
  13. Michael St. Clair

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    I mostly used Sight and Sound (back before any retailer had a true storefront on the internet), and I miss their monthly catalogs and cool sales.

    I've been on the 'Internet' for sixteen years. It has been amazing to watch it develop and mutate.
     
  14. Joshua_W

    Joshua_W Second Unit

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    I never owned a laserdisc player, and never bought anything through Ken Crane's, but reading I through this thread makes me miss them, too.
     
  15. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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    Anyone else remember the huge 25% off MGM titles sale? My dad and I (especially my dad though) got so many discs from that. Those were the days. And wasn't it UPS 2 day that they used? I don't think it was standard ground.

    Neil
     
  16. Yancy Berns

    Yancy Berns Extra

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    Ah, Ken Crane's Laser Disc. It was about a forty minute drive from my place in Hermosa Beach to Crane's, down the 405 South. At the height of my laserdisc mania, I used to go once a week.

    First, with my dad before he died. I remember once coming out of there with the Criterion "Dracula" and "Twin Peaks:Fire Walk With Me" and Eastwood's "Unforgiven," all brand-new releases.

    Then, living on my own and going to school at Cal State Long Beach, Crane's was just fifteen minutes further South than the campus. God knows how many classes I skipped on Tuesday mornings, racing like a demon to get there under the crushing paranoia that ten other mad and driven geeks (like me) would beat me there and snag the only copies of, oh... "The Fog" on laser, or whatever.

    I've had a hard time figuring out exactly why - even though the techonology is better and the software is cheaper - I still romanticize the laser disc "era" all out of proportion. I used to imagine that it was an issue of warmth of image, sort of like people who like the sound of vinyl better than CD. But I suppose that quickly outdated, awkward technology simply reminds me of the days when nobody else in the city had a widescreen copy of "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea"... and a commentary track felt like a rare gift, not something downright expected (in triplicate.)

    Well, I still have Lazer Blazer on Pico... Although Blazer never came close to generating that butterfly tickle in my gut when I would get off the 405 at Beach Blvd. and pull into the Ken Crane's parking lot...
     
  17. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I remember buying my Star Wars OT trilogy for $9 and change per movie. I also got Jurassic Park and The Lost World DTS LDs on their DTS closeout as well as a copy of Saving Private Ryan which was only watched once before the DTS DVD was released. I think Ken Cranes was the best online retailer I've ever done business with and still miss it to this day.
     
  18. Aaron Garman

    Aaron Garman Second Unit

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    I remember Ken Crane's as a place that I checked out to dream. When it was still operating, I was just in junior high and then high school. Of course, I never had the cash to buy all the titles I wanted but I could always dream. Eventually, I did get that Star Wars SE box set and still have it to this day. There was nothing like getting a brand new laserdisc in your mailbox. DVD's are just so common, so unmagical compared to laserdisc. Sure, DVD is technically better but are we ever going to reminisce the way we do about our beloved lasers? And now I ask, where was I when they had a DTS laser closeout!?

    AJG
     
  19. Dave_P.

    Dave_P. Supporting Actor

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  20. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I too used Ken Crane's for many years as my primary source of laser discs (not living near any b&m retailers). When they went to dvd planet, they had their ups and downs, but I still bought a ton of dvds from them, until the recent (last June I guess) fiasco in which customer service went all to hell, and I've bought nothing from them since. I prefer phoning in my orders to placing them online, and they were one of the few places that did that (prior to firing 99% of their customer service reps in June resulting in no one ever answering the phone).

    RIP.
     

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