By Michelle Frost
At first glance, it’s a small, unassuming building, perched on the corner of Belmont & 43rd Streets. The marquis reads, “Portland’s landmark video store with over 90,000 rentals and growing.” Parking is usually easy, on the street or in the lot beside the building. Customers come and go in a steady stream. The food carts and neighboring businesses add to the hustle and bustle of this particular stretch of Belmont, but when you enter Movie Madness you are walking into a one-of-a-kind museum of movie history. “I have 74 costumes and 30 props,” says Mike Clark, owner of Movie Madness. The items on display are original and authentic memorabilia from Hollywood, up-close and personal.
The building at 4320 SE Belmont did not exist in 1991. Clark found the location in February of 1991, signed the lease and began construction. He started with 800 square feet. As the business grew, he expanded into the other side of the building, jumping to 2,000 square feet, then eventually constructing a ‘bridge’ to join the two buildings, bringing floor space to 3,000 square feet. Today, the museum covers 6,000 square feet and houses the largest selection of titles available to rent in the Pacific Northwest.
Clark was born and raised here, attended Lewis & Clark College, then moved to southern California in 1970, beginning as an assistant film editor in Hollywood. Working on the movie “The Deep” in 1976 he “changed pace” and became a post-production coordinator, often working on location with directors. He worked with 20th Century Fox in the TV Department initially before moving to Paramount, Disney, MGM & Warner Bros.
Clark became friends with many of the actors and actresses, as seen in the framed photographs autographed and displayed around the store. In 1990, after 20 years in the movie business, he returned to Portland.
Clark imagined having a store of some sort, “but I didn’t know I was going to start collecting until I was at Caesar’s Palace in ’94 and bought Diane Keaton’s dress from Godfather II,” Clark explains. “That dress was the first item I bought.” The museum began with Keaton’s dress and now includes costumes and props from movies such as Aliens, Bonnie & Clyde, Casablanca, Fight Club, Psycho, The Wizard of Oz, and The Sound of Music.
To browse the museum collection, see the website www.moviemadnessvideo.com and check-out New Arrivals to rent, search for titles, order DVDs and t-shirts, and read what celebrities are saying about Movie Madness.
Movies are catalogued by Classics, Foreign, Cult, Documentaries, Television, Gay & Lesbian, Independent Films, New Releases, and more. As summer approaches, Clark encourages everyone to become a member of Movie Madness. “If you’re not already a member, you should come in and sign up. And if you are already a member, we would love to see you!
Clark is adding more space to the store and enjoys keeping the business growing. “When I opened, I thought, ‘I’ll give it 5 years and see how it goes… 25 years later and it’s a Portland icon,” Clark says, “This is my gift to the city of Portland.
Movie Madness is at 4320 SE Belmont, Phone #503.234.4363, Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-11pm s