Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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Blockbuster stores are still open, and soon to receive a special gift from John Oliver

Last Week Tonight's John Oliver has a gift for the nation's remaining Blockbuster video rental stores in Alaska: the jockstrap Russell Crowe wore in Cinderella Man.

First, an update on the once-ubiquitous Blockbuster chain: there are still four operating Blockbuster stores in the United States. That's down from 10 as of a year ago.

One is in Bend, Oregon, which became the last Blockbuster in the lower 48 when the Blockbuster in Sandy, Oregon closed shop at the end of 2017. 

The other three are all located in Alaska, but even there their numbers are dwindling. The Blockbuster in tiny North Pole, Alaska just closed its doors this month and another in Anchorage closed in February. 

Years after the video rental franchise that once boasted more than 6,000 stores across the U.S. shuttered most of them, Blockbuster has reportedly been able to stay open in Alaska due to spottier internet service there, making it harder to stream movies on services like Netflix.

So what's the connection to Last Week Tonight?

In a segment that aired Sunday, Oliver revealed that the show had purchased some memorabilia Crowe was selling off in an auction titled The Art of Divorce.

Among the items were the aforementioned leather jockstrap, which Oliver said cost $7,000, a robe and shorts also from Cinderella Man, a hood from Robin Hood and a vest worn in Les Miserables.

"Are you not entertained?," Oliver shouted, quoting from Crowe's film Gladiator, as he placed the jockstrap in a glass display case on his desk after revealing he'd purchased it.

Oliver said he wants to give the memorabilia to one of those remaining Blockbuster stores to help them draw people into the store.

"To the manager of the only remaining Blockbuster in Anchorage, Alaska, all of this s--- is yours," Oliver said. "Just call us in the next 48 hours, and we'll send it to you."

And it looks like Blockbuster Alaska is game.

Watch the Last Week Tonight segment below.

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