The last year videotaping I filmed an animated film about a bud beauty contest where the losers were hunted and extinguished. Kind of a pot version of the Ann Frank story. It was shown the last night of the convention to the stoned masses.
Video Oyster 1990 - 2010
Video Oyster was a one man company that created, launched and documented the rare video industry in 12 issues of Pearls, 6 issues of Half Shell, and 2 Raw Oysters.
As my last real commercial business Video Oyster mostly filled the requests of customers of independent mom and pop video stores & school libraries.
Indy store recommendations was the only marketing Video Oyster ever needed, besides press and convention attention battling studio Goliath's.
Famous customers included - Michael Jackson, Ted Turner, David Letterman Show, Bob & Harvey Weinstein, John Frankenheimer, Keith Richards, Richard Gere, Barbara Streisand, Naomi Campbell, Valerie Harper & Werner Klemperer (klink)
Recordable DVD's instantly made pirates of everyone worldwide, and my business was history, so I got into NYC history.
I still have the rarest videos in the country, but didn't want to make them fodder for pirates and trademark lawyers.
Video Oyster's rare videos is now part of The Bank of Ephemera Tchotchke, and consumers can only trade reward points to gain access.
I watched & protested as the big film studios video divisions murdered the mom & pop stores.
Studios revenue sharing deals with Blockbuster & Hollywood Video, and DVD rackjobbers killed the video store.
Funny I wrote for Blockbuster Magazine until the Hollywood studios had me blacklisted, for covering radical issues in Pearls Magazine & Billboard.
My revolutionary article in Billboard certainly didn't help my future writing career, I became persona non grata.
Economics will turn classic films on VHS into a flea market ware
July 5th, 1992 -Billboard
Norman Scherer has transformed his publication, Pearls, which debuted last year, to encompass the consumer audience. Publication, featuring an inventory of rare and out-of-print vids, is due out in March and will be distributed to over 10,000 stores.
Scherer also plans to distribute Half-Shell, a retail-oriented publication listing rare tape brokers and inventory information.
Variety - 1991
Without the independents, he says, I am no hero anymore. I am just some schmuck trying to mess things up
Home Media Magazine
Norman Scherer, owner of the Video Oyster, a New York City mail-order supplier of rare tapes, says that before Christmas, parents desperate for The Little Mermaid paid as much as $200 a copy. Scherer notes wryly, ”Disney’s marketing strategy works quite well.”
Entertainment Weekly Jan 22, 1993
smaller video distributors ''don't have the budgets to keep enormous inventories,'' Scherer says. ''It's a new-release mentality.''
What to do? For a particular tape, try the public library. Or Scherer's catalog can usually help you.
While we had our yearly protest by Video Oyster's Norman Scherer and Playboy Wet N Wild parties,
Home Media Magazine
Scherer calls DVD "dubious video device" that "does virtually diddly." He opposes the new format because it is not geared to movie renters and he suspects studios are pushing it in order to sell features and kill the rental industry.
Scherer said he is a frequent visitor to VSDA shows, but this was the first time he had been roughed up by the association's staff when he was removed from the site.
Las Vegas Sun
I read somewhere years ago director John Frankenheimer paid $1500 for a single movie on vhs from that Video Oyster guy in New York and for some reason the title was not to be disclosed.
(it was his own film w lee marvin the iceman cometh, actually priced at $1800 but discounted when he sent me copies of all his original playhouse 90's tv stuff. rip john)
Michael Jackson was a very special client to me, said Norman Scherer, owner of a videotape distribution company in the 1990s.
Norman Scherer tells the NY Post that MJ had a penchant for collecting Nazi documentaries. Scherer, who owns a videotape distribution company, says Jackson had a "really good collection" -- which included, "Nazis -- Of Pure Blood," "Oasis of the Zombies" and "Hitler's Children."
He did get Nazi-based films from me, but I do not think he watched them for twisted reasons, he was fascinated with the way the military moved, and they were research for his dancing
This world is full of greedy adults that lie, cheat and steal. It is no wonder he chose to be around the innocent, honest and happy children.
A Fox promotional release describes the series as the "most requested unreleased films." But Mr. Scherer said that while the movies were indeed among those most requested by his customers, many had been released years ago by Magnetic Video, now defunct. The company once had rights to many Fox films.
NY Times 1992
Mr. Scherer says that Ted Turner, himself the proprietor of a lot of old movies in the RKO library and other collections controlled by Turner Entertainment, telephoned Video Oyster recently looking for "The Story of G.I. Joe," William Wellman's 1945 film starring Burgess Meredith. Mr. Scherer had to report that the movie has never been on videocassette.
NY Times 1995
"The home video companies are most interested in new releases," said Norman Scherer, owner of the New York specialty outfit Video Oyster, which trades in the estimated 4,000 movie titles once available but now removed from the video market. Last week, Scherer sold a used copy of "Two for the Road" for $300, and one of "Laura" for $350.
LA Times - Jan 3, 1992
VIDEOOYSTER.COM. The VHS collector's paradise, patronized by the Weinstein brothers, Ted Turner, and Michael Jackson, who bought $45,000 in retro children's shows. Prices like $675 for 1978's "A Decade of Black Sabbath" reflect the collectabiliity of the original cassette covers and the rarity of the films -- most offered here are the single existing versions.
Washington Post - 8/17/2006
Scherer, who finds rare tapes by scouring dealers` and collectors` stocks around the country, said he had sold about 30 copies of the old ``Tom Jones`` for $100 to $200.
Scherer, who used to work for Variety, the show business newspaper, saw a coming boom in video collectibles and founded Video Oyster a year and a half ago. He has a Lower Manhattan shop and a mail-order business that track down hard-to-find tapes for people ready to shell out, say, $180 for The Beatles' film Let It Be.
''It's a huge business,'' he says. ''Potentially it's bigger than baseball cards. This is the TV generation. Video is on its way out and some things from the early days are very rare.''
Ed is joined by entrepreneur Norman Scherer, proprietor of the Video Oyster video store in NYC. Norman regales Ed with tales from his past: working with Variety and High Times magazine, his experience in the movie industry, and how he became the purveyor of the rarest video collection on the planet.
2016 - Opperman Report
Variety Newspaper - 1979-1990
As a messenger I started a real estate column & worked my way up the sales department at Variety Newspaper the showbiz trade bible for over ten years.
I expanded Variety's video, cable, music, licensing and kids programing ad sales by launching targeted special sections.
The family owned trade newspaper/bible went corporate, and I shifted to sister company R.R. Bowker.
I launched Variety Complete Home Video Directory for Bowker, doing sales, promotion, marketing, distribution & product development.
Norman Scherer, video maven, continues to prosper via his one-man video operation, the Video Oyster, in downtown Manhattan. In fact, Norman says he has several web sites and companies, among them www.videooyster.com.
I think it’s safe to say the very soul went out of V the moment it vacated 46th St. Looking back from today’s vantage point, I sadly conclude that the sale was inevitable. What we are seeing on the tapes are artifacts from a truly different media era, one that undoubtedly could not exist today.
Sime Site 2007
I have been hiding out in Montville, NJ from my soon to be ex wife (next week divorce finalized, never marry a lawyer)
Sime Site 2013
When Variety went corporate I pulled old reviews from Liberty Warehouse where all the old Variety’s and Sid’s drums were kept. Then worked 1/2 for Bowker and 1/2 for Variety until Bowker got me full time. I made great money doing sales, distribution and promotion but stepped on too many corporate toes so my final job as project development was a joke.
Sime Site Muggs 2014
Sharon and I have moved to Sparta N.J. which looks like a German gingerbread fairyland community set around a lake
Sime Site - 2016
After working the day at Variety, I turned into Elvis Tetra Video Artist at 7 west 8th street with the usual suspects.
Take it off the Wall - 8th Street (filmed by Mick Rock)
Framed Dead - 8th Street
For most of 1979 - I lived in Denver, Cobb Mountain, San Francisco, San Diego and Grand Junction writing The Separated States of Amerika.
Unique Clothing Warehouse - 1978- 1979
I started doing in store display work during the summer of 1978 for Harvey Russack at Unique Clothing Warehouse at 714 & 716 Broadway.
Jobs included window & manikin displays; DJ; Weekly flyer creator, distributor & street clown; located hot selling spots for new merchandise.
At Unique I met and befriended Jean Michel Basquiat, and often hung out in Washington Square Park during our lunch breaks.
In 1978, when a 21-year-old named Norman Scherer was working for the Unique Clothing Warehouse in the East Village, his responsibilities included dressing mannequins, organizing window displays and wandering the Village like a flashy, demented town crier.
The hope was that potential customers, eager to keep up with the latest alternative styles, would notice Mr. Scherer outfitted in Army fatigues and a pith helmet, a fake bird perched on his shoulder and either follow him back to the store or make a note to stop in soon.
NY Times 2007
Norman Scherer who worked with him remembers him well because "there was something to him that left me an impression."
Know as Crazy Norman, I ran the film series at Rider College from 1974-1978, and helped book Asbury Jukes, Billy Joel (twice), Boston, David Bromberg, Jackson Browne, Nectar, Renaissance & other bands. I did stand up in the student center theatre before all the weekend movie, giving me my nick name.
Years before college
Faces of East Brunswick High School
Out of Gas
The Mad Snot Monster
Morning of the Living Dead