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.

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.

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.

Hollywood Bukowski Mural Obliterated

Cultural Depravity?  Who Painted Out The Great Bukowski Mural?

First – Here’s The Mural and the Artist As I Filmed it in 2015.

The Mural, at Kingswell and Vermont in East Hollywood was painted in 2015 by Nathan Anderson, a local L.A. artist.  The person who evidently commissioned the mural was none other than Hollywood bookseller Alan Siegel’s daughter, who was trying to open a “Bukowski” bar a few feet east of the Mural.  Alan ran Hollywood’s biggest bookshop for years.  He also had another huge store out in Burbank, and a 10,000 square foot warehouse in NOHO.  His daughters were raised in the book stores, and I heard it was Marcie who was opening the bar, which I don’t think got off the ground.  If anyone has any information on this let us know.

I was sad to get this message from my Facebook friend Robert Ready:

“Hey Paul! I wish I had been mistaken, but that Charles Bukowski mural on the south side of Kingswell at Vermont in Los Feliz *has* been painted over–with an ugly and pointless brown pigment. Oddly, the mural of his books is still up, just a few yards to the East…”

Here’s the latest photos Robert sent us:

No more Bukowski – Just an Ugly Brown Wall, which is perfectly symbolic of the antics of Hollywood landlords.  Photo by Robert Ready

Some books still survive the wipe out.  Photo by Robert Ready

Bukowski curbed, so to speak  Photo by Robert Ready

I love this photo, I took it about 2 months after the Mural was up. Buk would have liked the idea of homeless folks sleeping under his Mural. Photo by Paul Hunt.

The physical destruction of old Hollywood continues, with countless buildings and entire blocks being torn down.  Billions of dollars pour in to build monstrous complexes.  And the homeless population seems to increase by the day.

Paul Hunt

 

The Cardinal and the Corpse

Driff Took Part in This Iain Sinclair Film

I was surprised to find this on youtube, a treat from writer Iain Sinclair.  Driffield, the infamous publisher of the old UK guides to used bookstores, took part in this.  In the 90s I went to London to track down Driff, but his short-lived magazine had closed down and he was evidently (according to various used booksellers I spoke with) in hiding from creditors.  I searched high and low, book shops, book stalls, book shows, pubs, no Driff, although once in a while some bookdealer would report a sighting.  More on Driff and the great Iain Sinclair at a later time.

Bucks on the Bookshelf Resumes Broadcast Saturday

WBFI Radio Show on Books and Bookselling Resumes Saturday

Saturdays Pacific Time is 10am to Noon. Steve Eisenstein is the host of this great show for all book people.

Steve says

MY GUEST TODAY IS NO ORDINARY “JOE” His name is Joe Corso. His awards are of olympic proportions. He has written 31 books which resulted in 32 awards. Which translates to a 4 time top 100 best selling author. Want to pick his brain I do, so join us for a great interview Saturday November 25th. For some early details Corsobooks.com

We also will be answering several questions we have received while we were off air the past two weeks. PRIZES WILL BE POSSIBLE TODAY. WE HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US FOR AN
AFTERNOON OF BOOK TALK. got a question or comment give us a call 1 727 498 0459. It is really nice to be back live Saturday’s were not the same without you.
In the second photo we prove our theory. THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH SPACE FOR BOOKS!!

No automatic alt text available.

 

Call in Number:   1 727 498 0459. 

Go To www.WDBFRadio.com

 

Incredible Book Find of Rare Thomas Paine Pamphlets

Felix O’Neill Finds Amazing Treasure at Irish Book Auction.  He Will Be Interviewed on Steve Eisenstein’s Radio Show

Owen Felix O’Neill
Irish Rare Book Dealer

Here’s the original email post from Felix to Steve about this amazing find of rare material:

Hi Steve…I hope all is well with you and family ….all is very well here in Ireland…I thought I would share this with you…I attended a Book Auction in a very rural part of Ireland last weekend, and they were selling 35, 0000 volumes of Books…It was to me Book Heaven…miles and miles of books most of the people who came to see them had no idea about the books…and guess what…I struck gold, there was this single book, very well trashed from the late 18th. century missing its covers and with no spine, I saw it before the auction and I all but had a heart attack, the book was in reality a series of 9 Pamphlets gather together into this book, probably in the late 18th. Century, I pick the book up and looked at the front title page, and I smiled, the first Pamphlet was by Thomas Paine and his signature was to the last page, I looked through the book and counted the Pamphlets, I put the book down, I was very excited, I knew what I saw and had. My notes on the Paine Pamphlets below…of the 9 Pamphlets 2 were by Thomas Paine, another 2 were by Wilberforce, on Slavery in 1790 , 1. on The Laws on British Parliament 1788, and 1 on Arts, Sciences, Agriculture, 1790, 2 more were Poets, Alexander Pope, 1780s and the last was on the Birmingham Riots of 1791..what a find I thought to myself, most of the books about 99% were rubbish, 1 % were interesting, my problem was to look for gold among the muck, and this I did, all my years of accumulation of my book knowledge paid off…I bough a few other books, including 1768 Samuel Johnson’s 8 Volume stunning set of Shakespeare Plays. With no internet bids I only spend one thousand dollars for about 50 books, what a steal….Tell you more when we next speak…enjoy the Summer, say hello to all including you lovely wife….Felix
PS. My details Note below on the two Thomas Paine Pamphlets.
1. Letter to the Addressers, on the late Proclamation, by Thomas Paine
 No Publisher’s name on the Title- Page, but the name of  H.D. Symonds to the last page of ads. So it could also be the elusive Publisher J. S. Jordan, (Jeremiah Samuel Jordan), Jeremiah Samuel Jordan published all his Pamphlet on light blue paper, If so, this is the very  rare and non existence,1st. Edition of “Letter to the Addressers, on the late Proclamation”, by Thomas Paine which has forty pages and was published in London by the Publisher J. S. Jordan of No.166, Fleet-street. also in 1792; however, to the best of my knowledge that 1st. Edition does not exist, but I do think, (more research) this Pamphlet of 42 pages including title-page and the last ad page, bring this Pamphlet to 42 pages is by, Jeremiah Samuel Jordan, he was the Publisher of most of Thomas Paine’s works at the time, as was  H.D. Symonds in Paternoster Row also of London, H.D. Symonds ads would appear on the back page of the Pamphlets by J. S. Jordan, that was normal, they were both friends.
The Printing of Letter to the Addressers, on the late Proclamation, by Thomas Paine, was untaken by both the Publishers Jeremiah Samuel Jordan and H.D. Symonds of London, which would have been the norm at the time, because it would require the printing in excess of 25,000 Pamphlets, a huge job at he time, it also would be one of many other Pamphlets and Books that were printed by both of them. Both printers done other printing for Thomas Paine, both were friends.
Anyway Published in London, in 1792 on very light blue paper by either J. S. Jordan or H.D. Symonds. 1st. Edition thus, original Pamphlet form of 42 pages, very light blue original wrappers within dark green and gold marbled paper wraps as covers. Untrimmed papers which is normal for any Pamphlet or Tract published at the time. Rear very light blue original wrapper with publisher’s advertisements for “Rights of Man” part I and part II,  and other cheap editions of the above works, including the prices by the Publisher’s, H.D. Symonds, in Paternoster Row.
This Pamphlet is Thomas Paine’s reply to the controversy stirred up against both parts of his “Rights of Man” by the “Proclamations and Addresses” in “Corporations and rotten Boroughs” This Pamphlet, in which Paine discusses the reception of the two parts of his Rights of Man and continues his attack on the evils of the English Government, particularly as embodied in the writings and speeches of Mr. Edmund Burke, is essentially a third part of the Rights of Man itself. The late proclamation” refers satirically to the royal proclamation against seditious writings, issued May 21, 1792, and directed particularly against the second part of Paine’s Rights of man. Also this Pamphlet contains the final leaf of advertisements, which is often missing. Thomas Paine corrected the proofs while in Paris and sent them to London for publication to both J. S. Jordan  and H.D. Symonds,  both the Publishers, J. S. Jordan, and H.D. Symonds were prosecuted for publishing this work. “Paine here makes a brazen call for a revolution in England and outlines a plan for calling together a convention for the purpose of reviewing the whole mass of English laws and retaining all worthy ones, while letting the rest drop”
A Pamphlet or Tract is a small booklet or leaflet containing information or arguments about a single subject. A Pamphlet or Tract is also an unbound sheet of paper without a hard-cover or binding It may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths, called aleaflet, or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddled stabled (staples into the spine ) at the crease to make a simple booklet. The pamphlet form of literature has been used for centuries as an economical vehicle for the broad distribution of information. Also due to their low cost and ease of production, Pamphlets have often been used to popularise political or religious ideas. Ephemeral (Pamphlets or Tracts) and to wide array of political or religious perspectives given voice by the format’s ease of production, Pamphlets are prized by many Book Collectors, Research Libraries, Private Institutions such as Universities. Substantial accumulations have been amassed and transferred to ownership of academic Research Libraries around the world. Also Pamphlets or Tracts were printed on scarce paper at the time, so when finished were more often then not used as toilet paper, (toilet paper at the time was non existent,) or also used to start a home fire, so paper Pamphlets or Tracts rarely survived, hence there greater value.
Contemporaneous  notes  hand-written notes to the last blank page, before the final page of ads for other Thomas Paine Books is this, I copied exactly as written….
Line 1.    At Chelmsford Sessions one
Line 2.   Christopher Payne of Saffron Walden
Line 3.    Bookseller was tried for selling
Line 4.    Paine’s Letter to the Addressers
Line 5.    an error in the indictment proved
Line 6.    fatal to the Prosecution and honest
Line 7.    Valiant was acquitted…..
2. Mr Paine’s letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas by Thomas Paine, 1792
This 1st. Edition, 16 page Pamphlet  was Printed and distributed gratis by the Society for Constitutional Information. The Society for Constitutional Information, which was a British activist group founded in 1780 by Major John Cartwright, to promote parliamentary reform. The Society flourished until 1783, but thereafter made little headway. The organisation actively promoted  Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man” and other radical publications, After the British Government repression and the 1794 Treason Trials in October, in which the leaders were acquitted, the society ceased to meet. The Title-Page has no date but the page after the Title -Page has a printed note
“ At a Meeting of the Society for Constitutional Information, held at the Crown and Anchor, Friday June 15th. 1792. ——Resolve, That Twelve Thousand Copies of Mr. Paine’s letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas, be printed, for the purpose of being distributed to our Correspondents throughout Great Britain”This very rare Pamphlet has a few Contemporaneous notes hand-written names to the Title -Page, plus Thomas Paine’s name inked in, almost like a signature to the last page, page16, bottom right. The Contemporary hand-written name of John Jones, three times written, as a signature of one,  John Jones, and two dates 1792 and 1799. (maybe Captain John Paul Jones) 1792? and his Son 1799?? A few slight tears but no damage to the text, page 9 and page 10 top centre of the pages.
The 2nd Edition of Mr. Paine’s letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas by Thomas Paine was published by J. Parsons, London 1792
Major John Cartwright wrote The English Constitution, which outlined his ideas including Government by the people and legal equality which he considered could only be achieved by universal suffrage, the secret ballot and equal electoral districts. He became the main patron of the Radical publisher Thomas Jonathan Wooler, best known for his satirical journal The Black Dwarf, who actively supported Cartwright’s campaigning. Major John Cartwright had sent a copy of The English Constitution to former President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote back to Cartwright in July: “Your age of eighty-four, and mine of eighty-one years, ensure us a speedy meeting. We may then commune at leisure, and more fully, on the good and evil, which in the course of our long lives, we have both witnessed; and in the mean time, I pray you to accept assurances of my high veneration and esteem for your person and character”.
Check out Steve Eisenstein’s “Bucks on the Bookshelf” Radio Show on WDBF Radio:  Click Here for Radio Show
 Saturday 9am-11am Pacific Time
Website of Felix O’Neill, Click Here

Los Angeles Bard Duane Thorin Passes

Booklover, Song Writer, Musician

He Wrote “Occupy Your Car” the Classic Song About Homeless Folks and the Economic Meltdown

by Paul Hunt

Duane Thorin

Duane Thorin had music in his heart from birth. He loved to sing, play the guitar, entertain. But the path to that musical life was paved with obstructions and suffering. It was only when he was crushed by the 2008 meltdown like millions of other folks that he somehow rose from the ashes of despair to be able to live his dream of music, storytelling and song and make his mark on the Southern California cultural scene.

I first met Duane in the 1990’s when he was a frequent visitor to my bookshop in Burbank, Magnolia Park Books.  At the time that I met him, he was installing swimming pools in middle class areas of San Bernardino and Riverside. Those were the years of the housing boom. The government and the banksters were pushing everybody who was breathing, and some who were possibly not even existing in this dimension, to buy a house. Out in the hinterlands of San Berdoo, there was a huge housing boom. They were springing up in every desert plot and sandy hill that was available. Mortgages were rubber-stamped, and the middle class, eager to participate in the great American dream, poured into the area.

The families that bought these new digs got settled in, but then they got a taste of summer. It’s not Death Valley, but it is boiling hot out that way. The moms and pops had to hear their kids whining about it every damn day. The summer boil. No school with air conditioning. No nice grassy back yards like in the Westside of L.A. Just sand dunes. What to do? Paying the mortgage was tough enough, no way for a real swimming pool like in Beverly Hills. So how about an above-ground pool? They are just big enough and deep enough to keep the kids wet, a place to play in the yard at least part of the brutal summer days. Once the parents bought the pool, they would be given a referral to a guy like Duane who would come out to your place with a crew and actually install the thing on your sandlot.

Duane relaxing at the old Cliff's Bookshop in Pasadena. Photo by Paul Hunt

Duane relaxing at the old Cliff’s Bookshop in Pasadena. Photo by Paul Hunt

Duane was a big sturdy guy. Although he had worked in the entertainment world part of his life, several years booking acts into the Ice House in Pasadena, he still had to make a living. I don’t remember how he ever go into that business, but he did. Part of the lure of it was work like a dog all summer and make enough to live the rest of the year. The reward during Fall and Winter was to do the things that he really loved to do, singing, music, reading. But installing pools out in San Bernardino in the middle of summer is brutal work. The area had to be leveled, the rocks, snakes and lizards moved out, and then the pool put together so that when it was filled the water would stay inside.

He always had a tough time keeping a crew, the work was hell, long days when 100 degrees was the lowest it ever got, burning your skin off. Take your salt pills and drink gallons of water ’cause you’re going to sweat until you end up looking like a prune. Duane would come into my shop and occasionally dragoon some unemployed book – lover to work for him in the pool biz. If those guys lasted a week it was a miracle. Most were skinny and pale, night owls with an aversion to sunlight. I used to joke about it with him, telling him he was killing my customers. He said he was just trying to put some money in their pocket for an honest day’s work. Usually they were done in one or two days, and after a couple weeks of recuperation they looked forward to something a little less physical, like working at a Starbucks. Anything other than the sheer brutality of that scalding sun.

At times, even Duane had to back off for a few days. The pressure from the pool companies was intense. They would sell scores of pools and they depended on Duane to put them up. He had all his equipment loaded into a trailer, which he would pull out to the customer’s property. A difficult pool installation might take more than one day, sometimes several days. He would get a cheap motel and the crew would have to sleep there until the job was done. Just before the economy crumbled, an omen had popped up: his main guy, a really hard working Latino, was arrested and sent to prison for something. Duane was upset about that because he depended on him. It meant hiring 2 guys to replace him. The work load was intense, the phone always ringing, more jobs than he could ever handle. But it all came to a dead stop with the 2008 financial crash.

The big Meltdown hit everyone. The middle class was devastated. The poor class swelled with new members. Millions lost their houses, their savings, their way of life. San Bernardino looked like a big ghost town. Within a couple years, the City was sending guys out to the neighborhoods to spray green paint on dead lawns on the abandoned properties so they would look lived in. The pools were a big problem. The happy days of children splashing in the pools became the nightmare of the City, as the thousands of abandoned pools, now with stagnant algae packed water, became a breeding ground for billions of mosquitoes. City crews spent months draining the pools that Duane had built. We joked that maybe the thieving bankers visiting their now empty houses would get a well deserved dose of malaria in the process.

Duane Thorin 2013

Back in the bookstore, I saw Duane on almost a daily basis. We became fast friends. He was talented, intelligent, funny and literate. His business had collapsed but he lasted a couple years on his savings. I had to close the book store about the same time, and move into my van. At some point, he ran out of money totally. There was no work in L.A. The homeless population was swelling, thousands of families living in cars and vans. He lost his apartment, but I found him an RV which he got parked on a friend’s property, a lovely couple living in the mountains of Altadena. Through this crushing defeat, Duane Thorin was reborn. It wasn’t easy, he and I were often together at food banks. We hung out at coffee houses. The weird thing was that he was free. Free to change. Free to pursue his dreams.

He now had time to devote to his music. He sang at coffee houses, ran open mic nights, sharpened his skills with his guitar, hustled some music jobs, wrote songs. He was killer at it. His creativity exploded.

He also had time to do something that he wanted to do for years. His dad, also named Duane Thorin,  had been in the Korean war. He was captured by the North Koreans and thrown into a jail with other G.I.s. He managed to escape and was free for some time, trying to make it back to friendly lines, but was recaptured due to another G.I. making a stupid mistake. Duane’s dad was one of the only Americans to ever escape from the North Koreans. His recapture meant that torture and punishment would now be his life, and the North Koreans turned him over to the Red Chinese.

Escape From North Korea

Duane had made a recording of his dad telling his story before his death, and wanted to get it out, so I helped him to produce a CD of the original recording. It’s an exciting story, although agonizing to re-live the captivity.

Duane, was very patriotic, and wanted folks to remember what those who served for us had to go through. Listen to Duane singing the National Anthem. It will floor you.

Duane’s career soared in the last few years. He was in demand as a singing coach and manager, he arranged and ran the musical entertainment for private celebrity parties, he sang at venues around the southland and wrote songs. We were blessed to have Duane’s music video, Occupy Your Car, and his original song about Walmart moving into a small town.


The songs are so powerful because Duane lived through it. He knew what it was to live in a car. He could write his songs from his heart, drawing on his own personal experiences. His good friend Donna has filmed and recorded Duane for years, and we are blessed with the preservation of his music.

Chef Duanio

His sudden death last week was a shock. He seemed healthy, in good humor, and leading the life he always dreamed about, the musical life. He had created a character called Chef Duaneo, an Italian Chef who sang opera. Duane had so much fun with that, and Chef Duaneo was a hilarious musical show that played around town.

L.A. has lost another great voice, a bard, a troubadour.
Duane Thorin joins some other noted musicians who have passed recently. I can’t help thinking that Heaven’s gotta be rockin’ right now.

This is a revised version of a story that I wrote two weeks ago for www.GypsyCool.com. –Paul Hunt

Found: Another Guide to Burbank – North Hollywood – Glendale

Fold-Out Guide Dated May 1999 Floats to Surface in My Archive of Dead Bookshops Paper Debris Pile

Paul Hunt

Original Published May 1999 by Paul Hunt

Original Published May 1999 by Paul Hunt

Reverse side

Reverse side

Where Are They Now?

Note:  If the store was listed in the previous article on the first Burbank – North Hollywood fold-out, the listings will be pretty much the same, although I might binge out a bit.  There are many changes and new shops listed on this fold-out from 1999.

Atlantis Book Shop  This was the old Bond Street Book Shop listed in the first flyer.  This store began the Conspiracy – UFO video rental saga and along with a great History selection, became known for extensive sections on Politics, Deep State, Conspiracy, CIA Plots, Assassinations, Secret Societies, Ancient Mysteries and such.  Redevelopment tore down the entire block, wiping out Atlantis Books just like the original Island of Atlantis of the Mediterranean, now largely known as Saudi Arabia, was destroyed.  Many celebrities hung out here, including the great Jordan Maxwell.  Filmmakers and television companies filmed here, surrounded by plans for Nazi UFO’s, photos of ETs, and stacks of books on various conspiracies.

2. Automotive Books   This is actually Automotive Book Stop.  (The Autobooks/Aerobooks shop near Hollywood Way did not want to participate in this flyer at the time, so was left out.)   Owned and operated by Fred and Chris Chapparo, they closed the shop and retired in 2016, although they may still be selling some rare items online.

3.  Bestseller Book Shop.   Store closed several years ago.  I started this store with a partner, it was all paperback books, and quite successful.  Massive rent spikes put it out.

4.  Book Castle/Movie World.  This was the Movie Store next to the Gigantic Book Castle.  The great Book Castle closed in 1994 when the rent went from $5M per month to an asking price of 30M per month, a number not possible to pay.  Shortly after, my partner Steve and I parted ways, and he operated the Movie World shop, which is still at the same location and packed with much more than just movie memorabilia.  A post on their facebook site in January said they may be closing this summer (not verified).

5.  Book City – Burbank  This store is long gone, although years after it closed a dollar book store opened for a short time.  This shop was run by Alan Siegel, who owned Hollywood Book City.  It was a huge shop, with a lot of good books although too many were behind locked cases, making it difficult to browse.   As I remember it opened around 1980, but then was closed for months after the ill-constructed back loft collapsed.  Luckily this happened in the middle of the night, because anyone underneath would have been crushed to jello.

Bookfellows

6. Bookfellows Bookshop  (Also known as Mystery and Imagination Bookshop)  This great Science Fiction and Mystery Fiction shop is owned by Malcolm and Christine Bell.  It began life in an embryo stage on Hollywood Blvd. in the 1970s when Malcolm Bell and Chuck Annegan opened a bookshop in an upstairs office at the Cowboy Young building.  Heritage Book Shop and Atlantis Book Shop both also started there.  Christine worked for the nearby Book Treasury on Hollywood Blvd., and later hooked up with Malcolm.  Their first shop was on East Broadway Blvd. near S. Verdugo, in Glendale, later moving to Brand Blvd. to be where the action was.  The shop closed last year (2016) due to impossibly high overhead.  They were noted for their great book signings and top condition of their stock.  They are now mail order only, you can find them on ebay and internet book sites.

Brand Bookshop

7.  Brand Bookshop  One of the great large used book stores in the Los Angeles area, at its peak was about 7,200 sq. ft. of nicely shelved good stock.  The store was opened and run by Jerome Joseph, a long-time area bookman, and one of the friendliest guys on earth.  Unfortunately,  Jerome took ill a few years age, and his friend and partner Noriyake ran the store until Jerome’s passing.  The shop closed around  2015, leaving a void of a large general book store in the Glendale area.

8.  CM Bookshop in Silverlake  This was a small, but nice book shop that opened next to The Silverlake Coffee House.  I’m not sure of the owner’s name, I think it was Carl,  but he was a nice chap who started as a book scout. With a partner, he opened a shop in Old Town Pasadena called Book Alley, which was later sold and is now on East Colorado with a different owner, Tom Rogers.  This shop is long gone, too bad, it was so pleasant to buy a book and then go next door to the coffee house and have some java.  On hot summer days the air conditioning in the coffee house beckoned, but when the weather permitted the outside patio was even a better place to read a book and watch the endless parade of pretty girls going into the coffee house for their blended Iced Mocha Whipped Cream Strawberry Thinga Majings

9.  Dark Delicacies  This shop specializes in Horror and Fantasy Fiction, and is a mecca known around the country.  It moved to its present location at 3512 W. Magnolia where it is going strong.  Their current location is a couple doors from what used to be Magnolia Park Bookshop.  Great displays in the front windows is a tradition, and they keep a full schedule of author signings, including stars of horror and science fiction films.

Dutton's

10.  Dutton’s Books – Burbank   Store Closed years ago, see post about it and the Dutton Book Empire elsewhere on this blog. (check the list of articles and stories).  This was the perfect neighborhood book shop, run by an intelligent staff.  They carried both new and second hand books, with lots of perennial classics.

11.  Dutton’s Books – North Hollywood  This was Dave Dutton’s flagship store.  When business took a dive in the 2008 crash he retired.  The premises was a Yoga Studio for a while, I don’t know who is in there now.  It was a great shop, and I spent many hours browsing there.  It was a large store, with an interesting mix of new and second-hand.  Books were piled everywhere.  Dave could usually be found in the parking lot area behind the shop, sorting through the never-ending avalanche that poured in.  Dave and his shop missed by everyone with an ounce of culture.

12.  Howard Lowery Gallery  Specialty here was animation art of all kinds, especially Disney art, movie memorabilia, and comic art.  Howard was a very experienced dealer in these fields, having run the monthly auctions at Collector’s Bookshop on Hollywood Blvd. for years.  He ran his own auctions, usually held at the Burbank Hilton, and made a name for himself as the go-to expert in the field of animation art.  The shop is sadly long gone and I believe Howard is retired.

IMG_5427

13. Iliad Bookshop   Owned by Dan Weinstien, he was forced to re-locate when the rent spike hit.  This shop on Vineland was famous for its great Mural that covered all three storefronts.  Dan found another spot and managed to scrape enough together to buy his building, and is now at 5400 Cahuenga Blvd., in North Hollywood.  He has a great new Mural that runs on two sides of the building, as we have written about and photographed on this site.  Treat yourself to a visit to this wonderful store, packed with good books and with really great prices.  This is the last big book shop to survive in the area, so please support it.  One of his cats is pictured on our banner.

14.  Last Grenadier – Burbank  This store had an excellent selection of Military History, books on Uniforms, Regimental Histories, related magazines, and also board games and armies of little lead soldiers, many colorfully painted by their staff.  Just before the wrecking ball took out the block they moved up north a few blocks on the same street, but the high rents eventually forced another move, this time over to the west side of Burbank on Hollywood Way, just south of Magnolia. They were there for a few years but closed when the rents went up.  The owner, Rocky, at one time had 5 game stores and with partners ran the Los Angeles area game and military conventions, always a lot of fun to  attend.

An old shot of Magnolia Park - Probably in the 1950s

An old shot of Magnolia Park – Probably in the 1950s

15. Magnolia Park Book Shop.  This shop started over 70 years ago by two guys who were remainder book salesmen.  Eventually it sold to a gentleman who bought the property.  He had a manager running the shop, but the manager  died in a tragic car crash. Also killed in the crash was his son, the product of a concurrent marriage with another woman, wife #2.  A bitter shock to wife #1.  His widow ran the shop for years. She sat by the front door, a thin, wizend old gal, smoking a cigarette and usually talking to anyone who would listen.  Her opinions about her present and former customers were classic and caustic.  I got the impression there weren’t many folks that she liked, except her friend the landlady, who was in her 90s and renting the store to her for the bargain price of $300 per month.  I leased the shop in 1993 when she retired to an old folks home, paying over 5 times the rent the previous tenant paid.  Four months later the place was almost entirely destroyed by the January 17, 1994 earthquake.  The front windows blew out, the ceiling collapsed, the shelving came down and the water lines snapped, flooding the shop and ruining thousands of books. It took us months to recover, but eventually it opened and was very successful.  The shop ran for about 10 years under the capable management of Gaye Hunnicutt.  It eventually was closed due to the building being sold to a rich landlord who wanted the location for his daughter’s mattress shop. That lasted a year, now it is a high end spa. From Books to Bedding and Beyond, to slur a current ad slogan.  But hey, in this society what’s more important?  Fancy Nails for sure.  Definitely the new standard for culture. Daaahling, with those long nails you couldn’t even turn the page of a book without tearing it.

16.  Reader’s Edge  This shop was actually in Montrose, a City that used to be part of the north end of Glendale.  It was located on a charming tree-lined street and served the local community with a selection of used paperbacks and hardcovers.  The old couple who ran it were very nice folks, I think the store closed many years ago because of their failing health and old age.

17.  Twice Told Tales  A tiny shop about a block from Magnolia Park Books on the North side of the street, run by a character who could have been out of a Jack London novel: Ty Stanley (not his real name as I found out later).  He was a Chicago guy, and palled around with Jay Robert Nash, the famous writer of true crime and mafia books, including the massive Encyclopedia of True Crime.  He looked like he was Klaus Kinski’s twin brother, just frightening enough to ward off trouble at crucial moments.  He was always scouting for books and paintings and he was a frequent “guest” at the old Bond Street store, bringing in boxes of material to flog on us. He was one of the most dedicated book scouts I ever met, and I learned a lot of advanced techniques from him.  When relaxing he always had some wild stories to tell about his Chicago days.  I got the impression that it was a good idea for him not to go back there.  One tragic incident that occurred toward the end of his career was that he was hit on the head from behind with a crow bar and robbed of a large amount of cash that he always carried.  This happened at a liquor store in the seedy area of NOHO.  The attacker stole his van, with him in it, parked it and left him pretty much for dead. He seemed to recover from that horrible incident, but he was drinking a lot of beer, which led to a drunk driving arrest.  He called my book shop from jail and wanted us to post bond for him, which we agreed to do.  Against our advice he sent one of his young friends up to the store to pick up the $1500 bail money.  The guy he sent was another book scout, generally a good guy, related to a famous book family in Los Angeles, but at the time sucking  fumes out of a crack pipe.  He picked up the cash for Ty’s bail and then disappeared, not seen again for months.  This happened on a Friday, meaning that since the bail was not paid  Mr. Stanley was still in the can on Monday, calling us as soon as he could Que up for a pay phone.  He wondered if we had had a change of heart, but blew his stack when we said we had given the dough to his pal, who had probably gone on a two-month crack binge.  My partner Steve then went downtown to L.A. County Jail and posted bond for him, another $1500, springing him Monday night.  Ty paid us back immediately.  He then went looking for his pal, but luckily (for both of them) he couldn’t find him, or there might have been some Chicago style justice.  Sometime in the 1990s he had a heart attack and died.  His son – whom Ty had never mentioned, cleaned out the shop.  Thus ended the fascinating tales that emanated from that little hole in the wall.  Too bad Jay Robert Nash didn’t write Ty Stanley’s biography, it would have been a doozy.

18.  Weinstein Fine Books  A nice shop in central Glendale run by a veteran bookman and a member of the Weinstein family, Sam Weinstein.  In his career he started, bought and sold several bookshops, I remember I first met him in Vista, CA. where he was running a shop.  This store is long gone, and Sam passed in 2017.  His son Dan owns and operates the great Iliad Book Store in NOHO.

PH and Jack Papuchuyan

PH and Jack Papuchuyan, H & H Book Services – Rare Book Binders

19.  H & H Book Services.  This shop is an old fashioned book bindery, run by two brothers, John and Jack Papuchyan, both superb artists and craftsmen.  They opened their first bindery in Burbank in the rear area of a store behind the old Bond Street Books.  Later they landed jobs at Heritage Books in West Hollywood.  They moved to this location many years ago, and if you need a rare book restored, this is where you go.  The shop is still open at this writing.

Once again, I hope you have enjoyed looking back at the golden age of book shops in the Burbank, NOHO, and Glendale area.  Out of the 19 shops listed only 4 survive, and two of those are at different locations.  Please send your comments, memories, corrections, or whines to us.