Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Purchase your tickets for a chance to win $25k toward a new car or $20k in cash during NHPR's Summer Raffle!

Five Things That Have Gone The Way Of Blockbuster


Blockbuster Video is no more. The home rental stores, which were once the place to go to get a movie to watch on a Saturday night, are to close their 300 remaining stores. The reason, as you might expect, is that practically no one wants to go out and physically pick up a tape or DVD anymore when they can download or stream a film at home.

For those of us that can look back wistfully, and remember how going to choose a movie was actually half the fun of it - even if the new releases were always out of stock - we thought we'd reminisce for a moment or two about some other things once ubiquitous but now, well, not quite so blockbuster.


GONYEA: In our top five randomly thought of - and not scientifically researched - obsolete things, items and services, we have the payphone.


GONYEA: According to the American Public Communications Council, there are now only half a million public telephones left in the U.S. That's down from 2 million at the turn of the century. Superman long ago found a new place to change his tights.

No. 2 on our randomly selected list: dial-up Internet.


GONYEA: Seventy-four percent of Americans are now online. But in the old days of early last decade, most of us would plug in a phone cord and call up the Internet like we were ringing our grandmother for a chat. Only 6 percent of us still do that - use dial-up Internet, that is.

In at No. 3, we've gone for encyclopedias. Where once you reached for a reference book to check a fact or settle an argument, in today's world we seem to rely on one, simple phrase: Google it.

Our fourth choice: the cassette tape and by association, the Walkman.

And our final entry in this non-scientifically researched list of things that have gone the way of Blockbuster: the overhead projector - badly prepared slides by your 10th grade math teacher, Mr. Williams? He's now using PowerPoint. I can't vouch for his new slides, but it's better technology - until something else comes along, and PowerPoint goes the way of Blockbuster. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.