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FILM : The Laser Disc Specialists : Stores catering to the format are few and far between. Here are five of the best-stocked spots in the Valley.

August 04, 1995|JIM BARTOO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Once considered a lowly stepchild to the videocassette, the laser disc has made a comeback of sorts in the home enter tainment field. The format's superior picture and CD-quality sound have made it the overwhelming choice among film purists and collectors.

Yet--even with movie studios offering laser packages with such goodies as scenes that were once deleted, screen tests and director commentaries--the genre as a whole still pales in comparison to the mainstream success of the VCR.

For this reason, many laser-disc fans find themselves searching for places to pick up that elusive letter-box edition of "Blue Velvet" or the unrated director's cut of "True Romance." While thousands of independent video stores exist, very few cater exclusively or substantially to the laser format.

The following are some of the San Fernando Valley's best-stocked suppliers of laser discs and their accessories.

LASER WORLD, 9820 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Chatsworth

Offering about 3,000 rental and 200 retail titles, Laser World has been in business for 5 1/2 years. The store caters to low-end buyers and renters of laser discs, as well as the high-end purchasers of home-theater equipment.

The store offers three annual rental programs: a free basic membership; the $50 V.I.P. membership, which provides a 50% discount on rentals, and a $100 Gold Star membership. The last gives buyers a 50% discount on rentals and a 15% discount on sales.

Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (818) 709-7884 or 594-0327.

TITAN VIDEO, 18515 Devonshire St., Northridge

Expansion is the operative word at Titan Video. Formerly the Video Super Shop, the store offers about 3,500 discs for rent. Under new ownership, it is increasing its rental collection by 50%.

The store buys duplicate copies of new releases, which can be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. It also back-orders titles for purchase and sells previously rented discs at a discount.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, call (818) 360-0620.

LASERTRONICS, 8337 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park

One of the Valley's newer disc stores is Lasertronics. Owned by a former partner at the now-defunct Laser's Edge chain, the 6-month-old store features a modest collection of new and recent films, but specializes in karaoke discs. No membership is required.

Lasertronics also repairs and installs laser equipment.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (818) 888-6638.

DAVE'S VIDEO--THE LASER PLACE, 12144 Ventura Blvd., Studio City

Considered by many to be the mother of all laser stores, Dave's Video has been selling discs and accessories for more than 13 years. Four locations later, the store has a policy of acquiring every laser title released, bringing its rental library to about 13,000.

Besides offering this mammoth collection, the store hosts an annual "Studio Day" when industry representatives meet and discuss the genre with buyers.

Right now, the store is pushing a large selection of home-theater equipment and accessories, including players, speakers, TVs and furniture. A $50-per-year membership is available. All discs are sold at a 10% discount, and most titles can be back-ordered.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call (818) 760-3472.

TOWER OUTLET, 14621 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks

A haven for bad movies at low prices, the Tower Outlet sells used and cut-out discs for about $15.

Though it is unlikely that a copy of "Star Wars" or "Gone With the Wind" will be among the titles offered, it is a prime spot to look for a cheap copy of "Rabid Grannies" or "Porky's Revenge."

Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, call (818) 783-8810.

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