Dirt Nap City

What Was Fotomat? A Dirt Nap City Dead End

January 25, 2024 Dirt Nap City Season 3 Episode 37
Dirt Nap City
What Was Fotomat? A Dirt Nap City Dead End
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Show Notes Transcript

Did you ever drop your film off to be developed at a Fotomat? In this episode of Dirt Nap City Dead Ends, Alex and Kelly take a nostalgic look at those tiny kiosks that populated over 4,000 parking lots in their heyday. When film was king, Fotomat was the titan of developing it. And if you keep your eyes out today, you might still see a Fotomat kiosk that has been converted into a drive through coffee shop!

Dirt Nap City Dead Ends are short stories about the traditions, sayings, technologies, and businesses that used to be popular but now reside in Dirt Nap City.  If you have an idea for a Dirt Nap City Dead End story, drop us a line at our email address: not@dirtnapcity.com

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Alex:

Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of dirt nap city. We usually talk about and I have started thinking more about other things that aren't around anymore besides people. interesting dead people, we're going to discuss these things, the companies, the sayings, the remember, but we don't experience anymore. These are the dirt nap city dead ends.

Kelly:

And this is the actual inaugural episode of dirt nap city dead ends. So this might take off city. We don't know yet. But we'd love to know what you think if you if you like these, then hit a child or as a young adult, or I don't know how old you are. But whenever if you remember store you went to, or anything that was a tradition that no longer exists, let us know. there. And if we use your topic, we'll give you a sticker.

Alex:

And I have made a great list of things in my notes. If we go to the Notes app on your phone.

Kelly:

Is that still a thing?

Alex:

It definitely is still a thing. It's still a thing in my phone for sure. I have so many lists

Kelly:

know I know you are using a Blackberry still so

Alex:

do you remember photo mats?

Kelly:

Do I ever Yes.

Alex:

So photo mat for our younger listeners was a I don't know how you would describe these shack.

Kelly:

a little it was almost like a almost like a What's that? Those little burger places quick

Alex:

think they were smaller than that. They're like the size of the snow cone. Places that you lot. Just a little hut. Let's call it a hut. Yeah, and they were drive through chaos where you could or movies, and you had to get things developed, you would drop off your film at these little huts.

Kelly:

And there are people in it right either they're wandering searching, they're

Alex:

right there. And they also sold film. Turns out they also did custom film strips, you remember school teachers could make custom film strips, but they would have to take film. And then they would audio part. And then the photo mat would put those things together.

Kelly:

Now, do you think they did all that in the actual box in the in the hut? Or do you think that

Alex:

think that's the whole point of this was that the labs that were used to developing film these people's films. And a couple times a day, they would drive out to some sort of processing photo mat started in Point Loma, California, which is just outside of San Diego, in 1965. And, and was 4000 photo mats in the United States, mostly in the suburbs.

Kelly:

There were almost like Starbucks back then. Right? You just couldn't turn around without

Alex:

of them. And these are the kinds of things that I hope to highlight on this dead ends is that the place. And now most people today have never even heard of them. It's just a faint memory. But signs with the blue lettering and almost the same font as Kodak back then, although they weren't

Kelly:

Yeah, they tried to give the association through color and then

Alex:

Kodak I think ended up in the later you're starting to have their own type of Kiasma photo of them regardless of who owned them. Yeah,

Kelly:

there was like Fox Photo. Photo box.

Alex:

Sure. Yeah, sure. But that was like a third rate photo mat. Right.

Kelly:

Well and then and then it always got confused with foxy photo where you took your your

Alex:

I don't remember that one. photo mat also did video rentals back before anybody who's doing you have a VCR in 1979.

Kelly:

I don't think so. I don't think we did. I feel like we were like maybe like I was almost in

Alex:

they did video rentals from 79 to 82. But it was a little problematic. You would get this very in order a movie. And the movie was $12. No. $12 in 1979 is the equivalent of 50 bucks today. Wow. days.

Kelly:

Was it on VHS? Yeah, yeah. And

Alex:

here's, here's the other thing. It was only Paramount movies. So as a very limited catalog

Kelly:

of Paramount plus, it was paramount minus, right. It's

Alex:

a good one fermo minus four for about 50 bucks, you could get a movie for one movie for the thing after that. But what happened was many labs made these things obsolete. So many labs are

Kelly:

like in a Walgreens or in the back of like, like grocery stores started to get them. You could were shopping. One Hour Photo one

Alex:

hour, one hour. One our photo, started putting these photo mats out of business because

Kelly:

yeah, they had to drive the film to the lab and process it and get it back. Now. One, our you know that?

Alex:

So that movie, was it called One Hour Photo? I think it was which is weird because I think he his whole existence was that he was stuck in that little building. So that wouldn't have made sense.

Kelly:

Wikipedia page about one hour photos a 2002 American psychological thriller film, written and Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael var. Lan Gary Cole and Reek LaSalle. The film was produced by Williams as a photo technician who develops an unhealthy obsession with the family to whom he has

Alex:

So I think the idea of that, that's one of those things that maybe the treatment was before time it got produced. Photo mats were not very present anymore by 2002. People started having

Kelly:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Alex:

But, or at least remember the cameras. Remember the go between film and digital where it

Kelly:

was where you actually put a disc in it like a floppy disk or whatever. And it would just

Alex:

I think you still had to go get those developed, but disc cameras kind of were a game get those developed. And then came digital films of I'm thinking by the time that movie came out, anymore. I mean, photo mat was not really much around in 2002. They strung along with photo your images. Kind of like Shutterfly, you know, is

Kelly:

Yeah, you get a free a free Shutterfly with every single thing you buy at Best Buy. Yeah, and too late into the digital world and got got their lunch eaten.

Alex:

And you know, most photo mats now are coffee kiosks. They didn't tear them down. Oh, yeah, out or like I said before snow cones, sometimes hot dog places, just anything. You can make it a they're just like a brick and mortar.

Kelly:

If you walk out of there with your coffee, or your snow cone, and you feel a little dizzy.

Alex:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Just leftover from the chemicals. Right. And I would think tornadoes

Kelly:

out too, but I don't know. Yeah, yeah. Well, they didn't put them in mobile homes. That

Alex:

essentially were mobile homes. Yeah. Well, that's it that's that's the dead end. And I want anymore. Yeah.

Kelly:

If you're a former employee of photo mat, you ever worked at a photo photo mat? Or if you Email us, not a dirt nap city and tell us what you think about photo mats. We'd love to hear

Unknown:

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