HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The Larry Edmunds Bookshop has been a Hollywood landmark since 1938. Historically, it was part of a community of bookstores along Hollywood Blvd. that would bring movie lovers, scholars, and collectors to the neighborhood.
Now, in the age of online retailing, Larry Edmunds is the last of its kind.
What You Need To Know
- The Larry Edmunds Bookshop has inspired generations of filmmakers
- Became a crossroads for scholars, collectors, and film buffs
- Huge part of business also comes from tourism
- GoFundMe campaign to save the store gaining traction
Jeffrey Mantor started working at the bookshop in 1991 and is now the proprietor of the store, which has an impressive collection of rare movie books and film memorabilia.
“I used to be the kid. I'm not the kid anymore,” said Mantor. “I'm the last man standing now.”
Mantor explains that in the 1960s and 70s, with the rise in film scholarships and interest in Golden Age Hollywood, Larry Edmunds Bookshop became a crossroads for scholars, collectors, and film buffs.
“A lot of people in that era made it a point to come down here and spend a whole afternoon basically just going up and down on the boulevard,” said Mantor.
Over the years, the store has also been important to generations of young filmmakers, including Quentin Tarantino, who lovingly recreated the 1960s iteration of Larry Edmunds for his Oscar-winning film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
A huge part of the store’s business also comes from tourism.
“We've always been very reliant on those people and love to visit them and see them every year,” said Mantor. “They're not going to be here this year.”
With tourism and events like the TCM Film Festival on hold, so is its revenue while the store’s future seemed uncertain.
“It’s a moment to stop and try to figure out, 'OK, now what?'” he said.
Mantor reluctantly took the advice of friends and decided to start a GoFundMe campaign, but he was not prepared for the response.
“I feel like George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life,” he said. “I was at the depths of despair here and convinced that we were on the mat. I feel like a lot of angels got their wings. A lot of people have contributed. It’s just one of the most humbling things in my life to get some of the stories from people that have a history with this store that's longer than I've been alive. It's really, really filled me up and kind of given me the desire to make this place better than it's been in a long time.”
No one knows what the post-COVID landscape will look like, but for now it appears the Larry Edmunds Bookshop will be one of the survivors.