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Comedy series based on iconic Turlock VHS store coming soon
Casting call taking place next week
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The Video Box staff pose for a photo in 1983. The store and the staff’s encounters will be recreated in the mini-series “VHS Forever, Hollywood!”

A post on the popular Facebook group “Memories of Growing up in Turlock” has quickly snowballed into what is expected to be a comedic mini-series slated to be filmed this summer.

“VHS Forever, Hollywood!” is a comedy about odd interactions a group of video shop owners encounter on a daily basis. Many scenes will be based on true stories from the career of producer Richard Sargis, a native of Ceres and graduate of Turlock High School. It will be filmed in Hilmar and Turlock.

Sargis, a longtime resident of Turlock, was inspired to create the film after seeing a post by Tedd Turner in the Facebook group back in 2022. The post featured a photo of youngsters hanging out at the Video Box, the VHS shop on Geer Road owned by Sargis from 1981 to 1991. It is said to be the first VHS shop of its kind in Stanislaus County.

“When I saw that, all the memories came at me all at once,” he said. “In that short time, we experienced so much, and they meant so much, so I just wanted to find a way to bring those back and share them.”

Sargis has a long history in the film industry. He attended CSU Northridge and spent many of his days as a young adult navigating Hollywood production sets and befriending people on sets. Though he spent most of his time as a screenwriter, he also had a passion for production. His love for movies was the main catalyst behind the opening of the Video Box.

Roughly a year and a half ago, Sargis decided he wanted to create a mini-series based on the Video Box.

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The back of Hilmar Video and Cellular has been transformed into a makeshift VHS shop for the upcoming filming of the comedy series, “VHS Forever, Hollywood!”

“It was a true hangout spot,” Sargis said. “In the 80s, those were the places to be. We had social things like the video store to go to. And in places like that, there are always those odd or ridiculous encounters. For us, we had all kinds of those encounters at the front counter. To put it lightly, we had some interesting customers and characters. Most of them were just a lot of fun, but some of the more interesting, so we'll leave it at that. But if we could try to recreate or exaggerate some of those, that would be hilarious.”

Joining Sargis on this venture is Scotty Schwartz, who is better known as Flick from the iconic 1983 film “A Christmas Story.” Flick was the character who infamously licked the frozen light pole.

Sargis met Schwartz at an autograph signing a handful of years back in Los Angeles. They shared similar senses of humor and Sargis pitched several film ideas, which Schwartz loved. He will serve as the executive producer.

Also helping will be the folks of Hilmar Video and Cellular on Lander Avenue. Years back, the store predominantly sold VHS tapes and DVDs.

They kept the shelves up, they still had the new release signs, even some VHS tapes. He gave us a ton of them. So we’re using the shelves and the counters in the back of the store, so we’re not interfering with anything out front,” Sargis explained.

On Wednesday, the recreation of the Video Box was completed. “It's a perfect little set for us,” Sargis added.

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Actor Scotty Schwartz will work as the executive producer alongside Richard Sargis for the planned mini-series “VHS Forever, Hollywood!”

Despite no longer owning the original space at 2551 Geer Rd., they have received permission from Sanders Construction to grab some exterior shots.

“We want to make it as real as possible,” Sargis said.

With the setting complete, there have already been a handful of skits filmed. The plan is for there to be six episodes, each around 23 minutes long. There currently isn’t a television deal in place for the series, though the group believes it is very possible for a network or platform to pick it up, especially once organizations see some of the finished product. If the show is picked up, the time of each episode can allot space for commercials.

The rest of the shooting schedule will encompass the entire summer and early fall this year. The plan is to have it released in October on the web, though any networking or streaming deal may push it back.

For the remainder of the scenes, the crew is looking for help from the community. There will be an open casting call from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Hilmar Video and Cellular to fill speaking roles and background extras. Those interested are encouraged to visit and fill out the form at the bottom of the webpage, or reach out to Sargis by texting (209) 449-9349 before the casting. Individuals with acting backgrounds or experience in performing arts are preferred. Those confirmed to attend should “bring their 80s attitude.”

“We'd like to see photos, any previous experience, have a look at them acting in person and things like that. Give us a one paragraph pitch about themselves and why they'd be good as a customer or clerk,” Sargis said.

“It’s really exciting for me and for the community,” he continued. “I’ve done many things in the film industry, but never produced my own series or film. But we’re putting a really good group of minds and talent together. And for this first project to be about my old store and in my hometown, it’s amazing.”