|Our beloved Jean beckoning us inside from the storefront|
Wait, let me back up to a particular conversation that took place only 30 minutes prior.
It was between me (Cori) and the co-author of our upcoming art deco book (and fellow art deco diva!), Lara on the lot of Paramount Studios for the annual Children’s Art Festival.
The conversation went something like this…
Cori: It’s hot. What is a cool (two meanings!), artsy and very old Hollywood spot that I can visit nearby?
She didn’t even hesitate.
Lara: Larry Edmunds.
Cori: I don’t know a Larry Edmunds. You sure you don’t mean Larry Flynt? Because I’ve definitely heard of him.
Lara: Larry Edmunds Bookshop. It’s the oldest remaining movie book store on Hollywood Boulevard.
I noted her excitement at the prospect of visiting such a book store. This excitement was apparently contagious because it inspired Chandra (sitting next to me) to volunteer to trek there with me…and my 11-year-old son.
Two minutes later I was Google-ing all the info I could about the place as well as an address. I was determined to know this Larry Edmunds better than the other Larry.
“Mom,” said my son. “Will they have Book 3 in the ‘Lightening Thief’ series there? If so, can we buy it?”
“Maybe,” I said. But I seriously doubted it. Old Hollywood movie glitz and glamour didn’t necessarily fall in line with gods, titans, Greek mythology drama, and half-bloods. Then again, maybe it did.
Around for over 70 years, Larry Edmunds is known for offering books related to anything Tinseltown. There are literally thousands of original movie posters, photographs, stills, other film-related memorabilia, as well as books about old Hollywood movies, actors, theatre, set designs, and so much more!
Fast forward to the scene of me standing on the curb with Chandra, my son, and the face of Jean Harlow in the heart of Hollywood. It felt like we were about to enter a glamorous time-warp.
Pulling our gaze away from the Harlow picture showcased in the storefront, we stepped into the shop and were transported into a world full of Hollywood film nostalgia. My son immediately eyed the “vintage” Star Wars poster on the wall, so I knew this experience wouldn’t be too bad for him.
Think about 20s, 30s, and 40s informational heaven with a metaphorical golden gate storefront reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood (1930 – 1948). Okay, it wasn’t gold…but it was priceless. Then picture it situated in Hollywood sandwiched between tattoo and costume places and a yummy lemonade shop one block down. Imagine the timeless faces of Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, Helen Hayes, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, and Katherine Hepburn all staring at you, as though begging you to carry on their legacies and buy their books. That is the Larry Edmunds bookshop.
Chandra was immediately drawn to the books about, well, everything. She was all over the place, like a kid in a candy store…only one that was more glitzy and without the sugar-high. She literally yanked off the rack the craft how-to books that taught how to create paper dolls from the 20s and 30s. She loves style, art, crafts, and involving her daughters in this art deco adventure. I mean, does it get much better than that?
We chatted with the nice man behind the counter who was, as we found out, an incredible source of knowledge. “Do you have any books about films between 1920 and 1940,” we asked him. He rambled off a list of them for memory, and we were impressed. Chandra and I eventually bought a book for Kitty that was all about films in the 30s. It was glorious, and we were feeling especially generous.
A few things to note about Larry Edmunds Bookshop:
- Parking is tricky. Avoid the $10 a day public parking lots if your plans are to only peruse the bookstore. Of course, if you’re going to make an entire day of touring Hollywood Blvd., then that public parking lot behind the store is ideal. If you’re only visiting that store, park instead in the 2-hour metered parking. It takes credit card, and it’s only $2.
- Plan on standing. There are no chairs or tables inside the store. I was sad to learn this, because as a writer, I love to sit and write in inspiring places, such as this place! And believe me, you’ll be truly inspired to educate yourself (or celebrate!) everything Hollywood film related! If the idea of sitting delights the bottom (and you want to marvel at your purchases and even start reading), you can also journey to the cool and dark Miceli's restaurant just up Hollywood Blvd. on Las Palmas. For coffee addicts like myself, there is a Coffee Bean nearby right before the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. If your kids are with you, then you might just find yourself at the CPK on the corner of Hollywood and Highland. Oh, and speaking of which, there's a Metro station right there in case you fancy a train ride into Hollywood and a short 10-minute walk to the bookshop.
- If you see something you really want to buy, then buy it. Because if you don’t, somebody else will. The beauty about many of the items in that bookshop is that they are also collectibles too!
- If you take your kids in this bookstore, tell them in advance it’s not the typical book store like Barnes & Noble. Show them the fun film production books instead—there’s some great graphics of heroes!
- Sometimes standing in a bookshop on a blistering hot day (104 F temperature) would make anybody thirsty. Chandra and I highly recommend the lemonade store about a half block down. Sip and savor. You might want to cover your young child’s eyes, though, as you walk down the street. Some of the storefronts with sexy lingerie and scary costumes might, well, traumatize the young-uns a bit.
Upcoming Event at Larry Edmunds Bookshop:
Thursday, August 23rd @ 7:30 pm
"The Hollywood Canteen"
Hollywood historians, Lisa Mitchell & Bruce Torrence will sign copies of their new book, "The Hollywood Canteen" and will offer a slideshow with doznes of photographs about this memorable place where servicemen and women danced in Hollywood during World War 2.
Check out the info page at http://larryedmunds.com/category/events/. You'll also find other events in the area!