Before He Was A Bookseller, Arnold Herr and Steve Gibson Re-Invented 3-D Adult Movies

The Saga of 2 Men, A 3-D Camera Rig, And Big Screen Sex Stories

Famous Hollywood Bookseller Arnold Herr, author of “The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Bookseller”, has a new book out.  It is the story of his life before books:  Arnold was in the adult film business, churning out porn films, but with a kicker, his films were in 3-D.  (His memoir on Hollywood bookselling is currently out of print, with copies going for about $100 if you could find one.)

Arnold Herr’s new book “Skinflick” is important for two reasons.  The first is the “deep dive” into his years of work in the field of 3-D photography and his experiences in working and producing 3-D sex films.  The second, equally important reason, although not stated in the book, shows how outsiders can affect an entire industry by thinking outside the box, in this case outside the camera, and use their inventiveness and creativity to explore unknown territory.

When Mr. Herr began to be interested in film in the late 1960s, he must have looked at the established ladder of cinematic success, and experienced a sinking feeling.  The ladder running up from the USC, UCLA, and New York film schools was packed with thousands of young folks from rich and well-off families who had absolutely jammed the rungs of the ladder.  Even a monkey couldn’t find a hand hold.

So Arnold Herr began his career by going in the opposite direction, down the ladder through a few layers of our tawdry civilization to find a starting point that wasn’t so crowded with the offspring of the well-to-do.  He took a film class at L.A. City College, a well-worn series of buildings in an edgy part of Los Angeles.  To supplement his income, he got a low-paying job as a projectionist in a porn theater.  He later jumped into porn filmmaking finding an even lower paying job with a local porn film company.  He was on his way.

“Skinflick” charts his journey not just into the production of erotic films, but into the world of 3-D filmmaking with his partner, 3-D pioneer and inventor Steve Gibson.  You will enjoy reading how they developed techniques of setting up specialized 3-D cameras, lenses, and special effects.  There is a lot of inside information here.  And because 3-D needed glasses, Mr. Gibson became the king of them, filling a warehouse with millions of pairs that he had manufactured. (He still has a few hundred thousand if you know someone who could use them.)

The secret lesson of this story is that Mr. Herr and Mr. Gibson together invented new techniques and explored new areas of movie making that 99% of the graduates of the expensive film schools have failed to do.  This is not directly mentioned in the story, but is a lesson that will be evident in absorbing it.  Sometimes coming up in an industry the hard way, from the bottom, gives a person a perspective that can’t be purchased by being pegged in near the top.  The hardships of start-up entrepreneurs puts pressure on the creative section of their brain, if they have one, to come up with solutions to vexing problems.

Although not discussed in the book, Mr. Herr and Mr. Gibson went on to film a 3-D horror film that won awards in 3-D festivals, but has still not seen release several years afterwards, a real shame.  As the Movie Theater business has been slammed by many factors like the Covid Lockdowns, big finance buyouts, and competition from streaming and internet, many movie theater chains are either in bankruptcy or looking at it.  Maybe a 3-D film revival will bring some crowds back to the theaters.  It’s tough to have a home set-up for a 3-D film, but certainly a lot of fun to experience it in a movie theater.

“Skinflick” is a fun read, but is also informative for those interested in filmmaking.  It also appeals to those who have an interest in some of the guys and gals in the “adult” film industry, quite a few of them are present in the book, including Bill Margold, (RIP), actor, writer, and Hollywood Press film critic with the great adult film reviews; Serena, John Holmes and many more.

NOHO Farenheit 451

Arsonists Set Fire at Iliad Book Shop in NOHO

by Paul Hunt

Book Shop is open but still blowing out the smoke.

A fire was set at the entrance of Iliad Book Shop in North Hollywood, CA. on late Thursday night November 3, 2022.  This was a deliberate act of arson, as not only were books piled up against the entry doors and set alight, but threatening fliers were posted on several walls of the shop.

Luckily a passerby spotted the fire and was able to flag down an L.A. Fire Department truck that was driving by.  Quick action by the Firemen extinguished the blaze, but the store filled with smoke, damaging many books.  The two bookstore cats, loved by the customers as well as the owner, were rescued.

Most of the smoke has been cleared, but remaining damage has to be taken care of.  If the flames had spread inside it would have been a much worse situation, as the smoke can ruin books and then water pouring on them will, of course, ruin the books totally. 

 

Owner Dan Weinstein

Dan Weinstein, owner of Iliad Books is grateful for the quick action of the LAFD, but also that his two beloved cats, Apollo and Zeus were saved.  You can see a photo of Apollo sleeping on a ladder at the home page of Bookstore Memories. Sometimes when I was sitting on the floor in the Iliad browsing through books, Apollo would come over and closely inspect my choices, letting me know which books I should buy.  A very literary cat!  Zeus, the other feline, seemed to like the warm basket on the counter, accepting adoration from the customers.  Dan certainly has two of the best managers a bookstore could ever ask for.

We will be reporting further on this attack.  The questions of who set the fire and why, and the incredible series of recent arson fires in NOHO.  Meanwhile, please go to the Iliad Book Shop website.  They have a Go Fund Me page if readers can donate to help them replace the doors and install security cameras.

 IliadBooks.com

Hollywood’s Lost Book World East of Vine

From Bookstore Memories Time Capsule Archives: 

Universal Books, Hot Dogs, Nazi Bikers, Texas Rangers, and the Hollywood Bookseller’s Baseball League Starring Icky Icky Icky as a Fastball

Mark Sailor’s Nostalgic Memories of his Early Days in the Long-

Vanished Hollywood Book Trade East of Vine Street

Editors note:  Mark sailor wrote this about his early adventures in the Hollywood book trade.  The manuscript is undated, and I found it in Frank Mosher’s storage unit many years ago when I helped him move an enormous bunch of books and shelves.  I worked with dear friend mark during the last couple of years of cliff’s books. We had known each other since the early 1970s.  He  died about a year before cliff’s closed down.  Hope you enjoy this travel back to the days when Hollywood was lined with book stores, the golden age of the late 1960s and the 1970s.

Story by Mark Sailor

The south side of Hollywood Boulevard at Argyle was a squalid corner in the early seventies.  Universal Books existed only because of the times in which we lived:  a group of tiny shops jumbo packed between the Dog House and Marlow’s Magazines on the corner.  Serenaded by an endless rendition of Dueling Banjos through the paper thin walls that separated Universal Books from the cowboy bar just next door, we hosted Nazi biker gangs curbside on Friday Nights.

Our regular clientele included Don Morphis, “Head Reverend of the Church of Satan of Hollywood”, and Frank Braun, ex-Texas Ranger, a sometimes unwelcome frequent flier.  Frank had 19 packages of books on the hold shelf above the front counter of the book shop.

We lived in a time of the world of dreams as large as the Bingo Mansions and the Hollyberries who instantly occupied their immediate celebrity west of the Sunset Strip.  But we lived in a real-world east of Vine Street where rents diminished the farther one traveled into the habitat of ex-Nixonista refugees from Asia and the lands of the troubled Middle East.  Like living on Pluto at the edge of the Solar System,  we were at the edge of the Hollywood book world, east of Vine, in the shadow of the fading glamour of the Brown Derby and The Broadway Department Store.  In fact, just west of Argyle was the last outpost of the Hollywood Dream, the beautiful Pantages Theater.  The bulk of the bookshops were sprinkled west of Vine all the way to Highland Avenue.

I was a student at Occidental College.  My scholarship did not include meals.  I worked at Universal Books at night.  I learned to “slap jackets” there and my mentor Larry Mullen taught me cataloging.  It was my job to catalog the Black Americana collection started by Jerry Weinstein, a book maven and previous owner.  Jules Manasseh was the co-owner and had entered the book world as an auto insurance salesperson.  Jules’ manic presence as banker and novice bookseller provided a fertile backdrop of excitement and angst.  We were always broke.  Mrs. Manasseh’s matzoh ball soup on weekend nights was a blessing unexpected and usually happened following a big sale.

Universal Books was a small shop of 1000 square feet divided into two rooms; a main browsing parlor on Hollywood Boulevard and a backroom where books were processed by myself and fellow future bookseller Melvin Gupton.  Melvin was a student at Ambassador College.  He worked nights as I did.  Later, Melvin moved to Valley Book City on Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.  In the eighties Melvin opened Modern Times Bookshop in Pasadena and specialized in art and first editions.  His brilliance was as unexcelled as his petulance toward everyday duties like making coffee and bathroom cleaning.  His early death some years later was a loss to the world of knowledgeable and seasoned booksellers.

It was because of the shortage of money that I was chosen to call Frank Braun, ex-Texas Ranger so he could pay for one or more of the nineteen packages on hold.

“You wanna get paid, huh?”  Frank Braun was terse.  “You bring packages #2 and #19 to the Dog House in twenty minutes.”

“How will I know you?”

“Don’t worry about me – I’ll know you,” he quipped.

I turned to Larry.  He was already getting the packages down off the shelf.

“You gonna tell him Frank Braun’s got a gun?” Jules pealed.

“Don’t worry.  He won’t use it.” Larry answered.  His voice was flat as a pancake.

“Why me?” I asked.

“Cause he’s a nut,” Jules answered, “and an anti-Semitic bastard.”

“You gotta go” Larry told me.  “We need the money.”

The Dog House was a little Cinderella-style building 40 feet long and about as high as two trailers stacked sandwich style on top of one another.  The dogs were as good and cheap as the clientele.  Expatriates of the cowboy bar mingled with horse racing cappers.  Hollyweirders abounded.  Sometimes the lines into the Dog House exceeded the benches waiting for diners.  It was a jumpin’ joint.

An arm in a trench coat yanked me.  “You Mark?” the voice demanded.

I nearly dropped the book packages.  It was Frank Braun.

“Guess you wanna get paid?” Frank peeled open his Bogart-like coat, revealing a 45 and a checkbook.  I was so scared I almost washed my pants.

“You seen Larry lately?  He’s a hang dog and lost his spirit.  You tell Jules ‘the Jew’ Manasseh that Frank Braun’s ready to meet him anytime.”

I got Frank’s check and hurried back to the bookshop.  Sans hot dogs, sans kraut.

Universal Books existed as a bookshop because of the high esteem in which books were held.  No electronic device could replace Uncle Tom’s Cabin with the telltale “Stereotyped by Hobart and Robbins” and the 1851 moniker in two blind stamped brown cloth volumes which made it an exceptional and rare work.  No computer could duplicate signed copies of W.E.B. Dubois “The Souls of Black Folk” or Jean Toomer’s “CANE”.  The electronic equivalency and/or convenience of the Kindle iron lung dependent on a battery or a cord mirage existence, now you see it, now you don’t, just didn’t exist.

Book scouts, legendary and famous, were always coming into Universal Books.  Maybe they wanted money from the previous book buy, maybe they didn’t.  I got to know Jack Crandall, who later discovered a collection of incunabula in Kansas and bought an honest to God mesa in Arizona, complete with Indian bones and the remains of failed Conquistadors.  Jack was great; he found the exceptional book and we sold it.

‘Doc’ Burroughs, a gruff and talented book scout, provided occult and mystical books.  His presence was often joined by another great bookseller, Paul Hunt.  Paul’s star as a bookseller traveled and ascended into several great shops in Burbank, including Book Castle, and a store called Atlantis Book Shop, specializing in the paranormal and UFOs.  An encouraging friend, Paul also helped create the California Book Fair, a convention of booksellers gathered annually at the Glendale Civic Auditorium or the Burbank Hilton.  It was there such luminaries as Jay Leno and Kevin Tighe began their book collecting careers.

Doc, Larry and Jules provided the final boot to the Nazi Bikers.  On Friday nights “Icky Icky Icky” the biker leader would come in, pick a Bible from the shelf, tear it up and goose-step out of Universal Books with his arm and middle finger doing a HEIL HITLER.  After some weeks of this grandstanding, the boys (Jules and Larry) called Doc for help.   At about 8:15 that night, Icky Icky Icky met a baseball bat invitation from the “Hollywood Booksellers Baseball League”. His head was to be the fastball.  He was escorted out of the store.  It took a lot to subdue Doc Burroughs, who really wanted some batting practice.

The answer to our troubles was a bullet through the front window some weeks later.  Ironically it was from Frank Braun, whose gall overcame his pall of resentment about Jules.  I found out later Frank had commissioned Igor (Hollywood’s carpenter who built bookshelves) to build 20 bookcases on wheels with doors, so to move from his Beachwood address in the event of attack or invasion by the communists.  Some kids dumped boulders on Frank’s roof and Frank released the 20 cases down Beachwood Drive.  I never heard from him again.

Larry Mullen moved to Mexico.  Jules Manasseh moved his store up to the middle of Hollywood Boulevard some years later.  Doc Burroughs and Paul Hunt opened the Atlantis Bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard and after Doc’s death Paul moved to Burbank and re-opened the shop on the old Golden Mall where it flourished for many years.

The high shelves at the Universal Bookshop and its depth of stock was a delight to many a book reader.  Its passing was unmentioned like a Blanche DuBois typescript unremembered for want of a cast of characters.  In its Streetcar Named Desire was the beginning of a long journey into the book world of rarity and wonderment.  It was a fine community of Hollywood bookstores.  Those book stores now exist only on bookshelves in readers homes throughout the City.  Perhaps you have some copies in your home too, books from Hollywood’s lost book world, east of Vine.

Lawyers of Los Angeles

New Book Digs Deep Into the Dramatic History of the Lawyers of the L.A. Bar Association and Some of the Cases that Shaped Jurisprudence

Kathleen Tuttle has written an historical history of the Lawyers of the Los Angeles Bar Association. It is not a dry history of certain lawyers, but a dynamic look at many of the court cases that shaped our history and culture. She dug through old oral histories and found the answers as to why certain law firms, judges, and lawyers got involved with some of the biggest cases in Los Angeles local history. A great read and a book packed with local history.  Click below to watch the video Interview of Kathleen Tuttle. She is interviewed by Judge Marc Marmaro (ret). here in Los Angeles, Sunday August 15, 2021.

The book is available at Chevalier’s Book Store in Los Angeles.

Click Here To Order Book From Chevalier's Books

 

Dan Glickman: Laughing At Myself

New Book Presents Highlights From a Career in Government and Industrry

Mr. Glickman appeared at Los Angeles Book Shop Chevalier’s Books on Larchmont on June 21st.  He was in conversation with Daniel Weiss and spoke about his lengthy career.  Click below to hear his talk – this is an audio recording with a few photos. Mr. Glickman and Mr. Weiss were introduced by Book Store owner Bert Deixler.  The store recently moved into a beautiful location on the west side of Larchmont, a village-like shopping area teaming with shoppers.

Chevalier’s Books, 133 S. Larchmont, Los Angeles.

Dan Glickman

Dan Glickman in conversation with Daniel Weiss

 

 

Latest News From Iliad Bookshop, North Hollywood

Here’s the latest from Iliad Book Shop, the good news is that they are open!  Visit them soon to support this great bookshop.

+++++

Hi Gang!

California’s rollercoaster pandemic ride continues… As of this last week of January, we are allowed to go from maximum capacity of 20% to 25%, meaning that we’ll be able to allow up to 25 customers in the store at a time. As always, please be aware that if we reach capacity (almost a certainty on Saturdays), we will have to ask you to wait outside. Also, as a reminder: you must wear a face covering/mask, practice six-foot social distancing in the store, and please stay home if you have any symptoms of or have been recently exposed to Covid. We have hand sanitizer and gloves available for your shopping security. Sorry, but the bathroom is not available to customers.

Sorry to say that we don’t have new dates yet on when we will resume buying/taking books for credit. If you’d like to donate books, we can give you a hand unloading once you’re in our rear parking lot.

We are making progress on our new Rare Book Room, which will be located adjacent to the main sales counter. Take a look at the photo just below, and you’ll see our dry-walling and painting is now done. Next up: new bookcases to hold those 300 boxes of rarities!

We feel hopeful about 2021, although it’s likely going to be late summer or fall before things start to right themselves again. In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy

 

Dan, Lisa, Poul, and Brett (and Zeus and Apollo)
*****

Old Book Cart in Florence, Italy

Los Angeles Could Use a Few of These

by Paul Hunt

This Photo taken by Bookseller Arnold Herr:  He writes: >>  I looked through Bookstore Memories the other evening and saw your article on book carts in Europe and your request for other pictures.  Here’s one I took in May 1987 in Florence, Italy.  It stood outside the Medici Palace and was just down the street from a penzione I was staying at while in town.  Feel free to use it.

Thanks much, Arnold, we love the book carts.  Pre-Pandemic (seems like a different lifetime) I was occasionally stopping by the Goodwill Outlet store near DTLA.  They had carts similar to the ones in London, basically just a giant drawer on wheels.  Most of the carts were full of clothing, a couple with other junk, and maybe 10 filled with books.  It was madness, the clerks would push out a cart and everyone would have to stand back about 3 feet.  Then the clerk would yell out “OK” or “Go for it”  and the mob would attack the cart, stuff flying everywhere.  The book scouts who were looking for textbooks were the worst, they would just fling  books around.  Many books were shredded by this insanity, spines broken, dust jackets torn.  Picture a pack of Jackals in Africa, plunging into a lame antelope, biting and snarling at one another, occasionally nipping off a piece of meat, the poor antelope giving a final cry and then dying of fear.  That was the Outlet store at its finest hour. Minor injuries were common. Yelling at jerks very common.

I did occasionally find a nice pamphlet or book, but it was not always worth the physical abuse and the evil thoughts of what the fate should be to the reckless bozos throwing textbooks at each other.  The price was right, 75 cents a pound.  Back in the good old days of the early 1970s I used to go to the warehouse of one of the Thrift chains and buy books and magazines by the pound.  Magazines were 10 cents a pound and books were 25 cents a pound, and there was a staggering amount to plow through every day.

So a couple weeks ago I stopped by the Outlet to check the book scene, it was open, although there was a line to get in, and masks were required.  I waited about a half an hour, which isn’t so bad because all the libraries are closed and many of the few remaining bookstores are shuttered.  I got in and there was only one cart with books, an abysmal selection of junk, I couldn’t even make a mercy buy.  So much for the good old days of book mayhem. Social distancing has put an end to the mob of vultures.  At least back then you could get a few things. The carts of literacy are just more victims of the declared pandemic. Our culture may not be far behind them, rolling toward oblivion on broken wheels.

The True Cost of Amazon

American Booksellers Association and Other Indie Studies Reveal Shocking Truth

The true cost of the U.S. Government’s continued lax attitude about the amazon.com monopoly has come to light in studies conducted by the American Booksellers Association and other independent groups.  Amazon has a virtual monopoly on the book business, both new and used.  They also have similar status in other industries, and despite raking in hundreds of millions of dollars from the Pentagon, Retail Sales, and C.I.A. purchase of “Cloud” space, they still didn’t pay a dime of income tax last year.

That’s right folks, a profit of 11.2 Billion Dollars and not a penny of income tax.  Worse, they got 129 million back as a refund for “tax credits”.  The year before they made 5.6 billion, and paid nothing.  Click here for details on Amazon Federal Taxes.

Here’s some more interesting facts from a recent One Year Period:

Amount of lost revenue to State and Local governments:  1.2 Billion Dollars.

The equivalent of 39,000 retail storefronts were displaced by amazon’s monopoly practices.

Estimated 220,000 retail jobs lost.

Click Here to read more details from the report from the ABA.

It is far past the time that the remaining independent and used book dealers get together and devise a strategy to fight the amazon monopoly.  It doesn’t look like the government is going to be of much help, they are too busy shoveling hundreds of millions to them for Defense Department items.

Faded Memories: Santa Barbara Bookstores in the 1980s

Santa Barbara Had A Respectable Batch of Wonderful Bookstores As Revealed in This Old Flyer in our Archives

Folding Guide to Santa Barbara Bookstores

Map Showed Location of Book Stores

I went over the list to try to determine who was left, who had moved, who was gone.  Here’s what I found:

Again Books:  The Phone is disconnected, I assume they are gone.

Andromeda Boookshop:  Closed in the early 1990s.

Avalon Books:  Now Avalon Comics and Games. Moved to 10 West Calle Laureles, S.B. 93105

The Book Den:  Still at the same location.

The Book Loft:  Moved to 1680 Mission Dr., Solvang, CA 93463.

Robert Gavora Bookseller:  Moved to P.O. Box 448, Talent, Oregon 97540.

Richard Gilbo Books. I believe Mr. Gilbo passed away some years ago.  He was a very good bookman.

Hammer Books:  Gone around 2013.  His collection, or parts of it are at UCSB.

Joseph The Provider Books:  Moved to 10 West Micheltorena, Santa Barbara 93101, 805-962-2141.

Kisch Book Shop:  Gone, could not find.

Lost Horizon Bookstore:  Moved to 539 San Ysidro Rd., Ste 4.  Santa Barbara 93108.

Maurice F. Neville Rare Books:  Great stock of books, Mr. Neville passed around 1987.

Paperback Alley Used Books:  Still at the same location.

Randall House:  Still at the same location.

Ted’s Used Books & Collectibles:  Gone around 2007.

I could not find any information on the following:  ABI Books, The Book Barn, Drew’s Book Shop, Merlin’s Bookshop, and Northwoods Books.  Does anyone have any information on any of these?  Let me know and I will update this list.

Paul Hunt.  unclepaulie@Rocketmail.com