Meet the Westport Guys Bringing Back All of Our SouthCoast Childhood Memories
Everyone likes to take a trip down memory lane now and then, but two Westport guys have made nostalgia their calling card with their burgeoning media empire.
Frankie Frain and Jon “Junt” Hunt have lived in Westport their whole lives and experienced everything the SouthCoast had to offer in the 1980s and '90s, like shopping at Ann & Hope, catching a movie at Cinema 140 or getting a bite to eat at the Ground Round.
As they grew up, both worked in independent films and eventually combined their production skills and with their close friendship to form Red Cow Entertainment about six years ago and create a YouTube channel that as of this writing has just over 16,000 subscribers and growing.
“We started doing our flagship series ‘BoxMac,’ which is a web series where we decided to try to review every single macaroni and cheese ever, and we’re getting them sent to us from all over the world – Germany, Scotland, everywhere,” Frain said.
They also cover video game reviews, pop culture, and a series where Hunt takes the viewer into various retail establishments and shows off his purchases entitled “What’s in Junt’s Cart?”
“Junt is like a bargain hunter, he loves a good deal and he has a really particular way of shopping,” Frain said. “We started with KMart as that was aging out of the old Fall River mall there, and then we did some Black Friday videos, and it was obvious he was really loving aged retail, dead malls, Building 19, that kind of thing.”
"RIP Restaurants and Retail"
That led to a series entitled “RIP Restaurants and Retail,” in which Frain and Hunt stand outside the spots they remember visiting growing up – some abandoned, some repurposed – and share their memories of that location as well as discuss what may be there now.
“We started seeking that out, and before you know it, we were watched by people around the country and around the world,” Frain said. “Everyone has retail and restaurant memories.”
Dartmouth, New Bedford and Other SouthCoast Restaurants Featured
Their videos on restaurants like Dartmouth’s Old Country Buffet and Seekonk’s East Side Mario’s are highly successful, but what’s important to Frain is that they’re sharing more than individual memories, too; they’re also sharing the story of their friendship.
“We’ve been friends for a really long time, and some of the memories we are sharing are ones we’ve made together too, so that adds to the fun,” he said.
Frain said it gets really interesting when they find out some of the long-gone places around the SouthCoast may still be thriving elsewhere.
“East Side Mario’s closed years ago, but we found they’re still thriving in Canada. We had no idea,” he said.
Upping the Production Game
Because of Red Cow Entertainment’s production background, they’re able to create highly-produced clips that incorporate other elements beyond just Frain and Hunt standing outside with a microphone.
“The fun of it is that you can really tell half the story of these places through old clips and old commercials, and that is what makes them relatable even beyond the SouthCoast audience,” he said.
Our own Fun 107 crew has even made it into some of the videos. In a recent edition discussing Dartmouth’s Red Lobster, Smokey Bones and other spots that were once in the location of where the Brazilian Grill now stands, they cut to a clip of Michael Rock and Gazelle chowing down on some rodizio meats.
In the video about Old Country Buffet, Gazelle once again makes an appearance, alongside this writer, in a clip we created once OCB closed for good back in 2016.
“We have new ones coming soon, too,” Frain said. “We just released one on the Newport Creamery in New Bedford, and we have one coming up about the old Radio Shack in New Bedford. It was a blast to go through old Radio Shack commercials from the ‘90s, ones we haven’t thought of in decades and talk about things like the Tandy line of computers.”
Remembering a Simpler Time
“Eat out culture in the ‘80s and ‘90s was very different than today,” Frain said. “Going to a family restaurant was maybe a twice a year thing. We weren’t going every Friday night, so our relationship to restaurants and food was different.”
Keeping With What Works
Red Cow Entertainment tries to release a video to YouTube pretty much once a week, and while they do also have a podcast called Red Cow Arcade and occasionally release some clips to Instagram, the gang knows that newer platforms like TikTok might just be a bit beyond both them and their audience.
“We tend to be late to the game on those kinds of things, because first of all, our audience is not that younger demographic. They tend to be our age,” Frain said. “Two, by trade we’re film and video people, and our training and experience is in creating highly-produced content, and YouTube is the format that just fits our skills and personalities.”
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