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Screen Saver
By Ian Mount

(FORTUNE Small Business) – George Atkinson asked a simple question in 1977 that changed history: Did anybody watch a movie more than once? To find out, Atkinson bought two copies--one VHS, one Betamax--of each of the 50 video releases then available and opened Video Station in Los Angeles, the country's first movie-rental shop. Steve Martin and Bob Newhart were among the first to pony up $10 a night. The company quickly grew to 600 affiliate stores. But Atkinson, like many pioneers, was buried by rivals. The man who made staying home fun died March 3 in Los Angeles at the age of 69. --I.M.