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Pop Culture

Netflix asked people to share DVDs they 'forgot' to return, and the result was pure nostalgia

Getting that red envelope in the mail was coolest thing ever.

netflix 25 years, netflix forgotten dvds, netflix

To think, this icon was nearly synonomous with a bleating goat sound.

Once upon a time in the late '90s, in the prestreaming days of yore, before binge-watching was even a word, a company called Netflix entered the scene, killing brick-and-mortar movie rental stores like Blockbuster with its promise of entertainment delivered to your doorstep in a crisp red envelope.

Whether it was a tried-and-true title or something on the more adventurous side that was selected from the online “queue”—my choice was usually some kind of French arthouse film because I desperately wanted to be cool—the combination of excitement and convenience (at least for that time) was simply unbeatable.

netflix anniversary, first netflix dvdMovie nights are the best nights.Giphy

Nowadays we have access to content of our choosing 24/7 (thanks in part to Netflix) and that inexplicable feeling of getting a new DVD in the mail is mostly a fond, though distant memory.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary (don’t you feel old now?) Netflix posted a bunch of company fun facts, and they did not disappoint.


For instance, you know that iconic, satisfying “tudum” sound that plays when you enter the platform? The one sort of reminiscent of “Law & Order?” That was almost the sound of a bleating goat instead. Yeah, bullet dodged there.

Also, the very first DVD ever rented was Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice.” Whoever that first customer was, they obviously had great taste.

Here are a few other gems curated by MovieWeb:

  • The most popular profile icon, used worldwide on 11 million profiles, is the “Boss Baby” icon.
  • Netflix originally had a placeholder name of Kibble—yep, like the dog food.
  • Following the launch of "The Queen’s Gambit," there was a 125% increase in chess board sales.
  • Netflix had its own awards show called "The Flixies."
  • The first Netflix Original was “Lilyhammer.”
  • There was once a campaign for “Netflix socks,” which detected when you fell asleep and paused the show or movie you were watching.
  • “Squid Game” is Netflix’s most popular title ever.

In 2021, Ben & Jerry’s created a Netflix & Chilll’d ice cream flavor, featuring peanut butter ice cream, sweet and salty pretzel swirls, fudge brownie bits and excuse me while I whisk away to the grocery store…

Netflix later posted a follow-up tweet asking folks to share any DVDS they “forgot” to return and still have. Since the company never charged late fees, people simply paid their monthly subscription and could return films whenever they wanted. Or, you know, not at all.

Though the company promised no one would get in trouble, some were lightheartedly suspicious.

But for the most part, people were brave. And their replies were a delightful cruise down memory lane.

Sharing their envelope for the movie “Crimson Tide,” one person wrote “I’ve been holding on to this for years!!! I really like this movie but I lost the DVD in the cabinet and never sent it back.” Relatable.

Another person, showing off their Coen Brothers flick “Burn After Reading,” joked that “finally after 14 years I can get this off my chest."

Others simply shared their nostalgia for a bygone era.

Technology continues to move forward at a lightning fast pace, advancing everything along with it. But one thing always remains the same—humans need comfort and entertainment. The ways we get it might evolve, but the need will always be there. And though Netflix is arguably not without its flaws, it has played a major role in fulfilling that need.

So go ahead, grab a blanket, turn off the lights and celebrate this milestone. What a time to be alive.

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