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.

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)
*****

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

How To Sell Books In Budapest

Get Yourself A Quaint Old Book Cart

They Still Read In Europe

Photo Copyright by Lance Webster.

It would be fun to have one in Westwood or the Third Street Prominade in Santa Monica, but you would have to be a millionaire to afford the stratospheric rents.  There was actually a newsstand on the Prominade years ago, I think it’s gone now.   Even Barnes and Noble had to close down.

There are similar book carts in London, but not as oool looking as the ones in France or Hungary. Anybody have any  other photos of book carts like this?  Email them to me so I can share.  unclepaulie@rocketmail.com.

Once Upon a Time in Mar Vista

Last Memories of Sam: Johnson’s Bookstore

PhotoStory by Paul Hunt

The Bookstore was once the Mar Vista Library. I found this flyer stapled to the side of a shelf.

This nice color photo of Bob Klein was stapled to a shelf. RIP

This bookmark was in one of the books I got at the sale.  The website is still active this June day but will soon disappear into the internet ethos.

Just before the final sale there were about 10,000 wondrous books snuggled into shelves.

 

 

The Dollar Sale – fabulous bargains to those in the know.

 

The shelves started getting sparce, but this was a store where there was not a bad book to be found. All relevant and clean, dust jackets were protected with plastic brodarts.

 

Then, as time ran out, all remaining books, about 5,000, were free.

 

Finally, all shelves were cleared, the last book went out with a happy customer.

And so ends the story of the last big bookstore on L.A.’s West Side.  All the books have found new homes with loving owners who are grateful and excited to get them.  Some folks returned to get some additional shelving.  Many thanks to Richard, Janet, Petee, and Julie for help with this story.  To Bob Klein and Larry Myers:  Salute.  You achieved much to educate and change the world for the better.

Goodbye Bookstore Friend.

Archives Bookshop Relocates In Pasadena

Large Store Now Open In North Pasadena

Archives Bookstore, a long-time fixture in the Pasadena area has once again been forced to re-locate.  The good news is that owner John Wipf found a great location in the warehouse district of North Pasadena.  With plenty of free parking and a beautiful large store with great lighting, it is a pleasant place to shop.  Archives specializes in Religion, Theology,  Philosophy, Christian History and Christian Studies, and many related subjects..

Plenty of parking at the new location at 1232 N. Fair Oaks, Unit 10-B, Pasadena.

The entire long back wall is filled with Bargain Books at large discounts.  Plenty of light in this store makes browsing easy.

Another view of Archives massive inventory.  Congratulations to John and his crew for creating a great bookstore.

Archives Bookstore

1232 N. Fairoaks, Unit 10-B

Pasadena, Ca. 91103

Phone: 626-797-4756

Website link click here.