Where Have All the Memorabilia Shops Gone?


An article in the March 5 Los Angeles Times talks about Larry Edmunds Bookshop. This is a combination bookstore specializing in movie books and movie memorabilia shop located on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. While pop culture is big business, the majority of the business is online and shops like Larry Edmunds are one of the few independent brick and mortar outposts in a sea of dot coms.

As you can expect, that got me thinking. While there is nothing wrong with buying a movie poster or other item online, there is something to be said for going to a memorabilia shop, looking around at the store, perusing the poster and photo files and finding an item that you always wanted and now have the opportunity to buy or finding an item that you didn’t know existed but like it enough to buy on the spot

In addition to being great places to spend an afternoon, the memorabilia shops have launched careers. The current owner of the Larry Edmunds Bookshop, Jeff Mantor, worked at the store for 16 years before buying it from the previous owners, husband and wife Milt and Git Luboviski in 1996. Movie historian and author Leonard Maltin, got his start by visiting memorabilia shops in the New York City area in the 1960’s and buying movie stills and publicity photos for between 25 and 50 cents. While selling childhood doo-dads on Internet auction sites got me started in selling movie posters, I enjoyed going to a collectibles and antique shop in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia and going through a photo album filled with vintage advertisements promoting products ranging from Spam™  to cigarettes (one such ad featured a picture of a doctor recommending Lucky Strikes cigarettes). That store is now gone and a bicycle shop is in its place and I’m willing to bet that the memorabilia shops that Maltin went to are gone as well, so that just leaves the Larry Edmunds Bookshop.

As great as the Internet is in locating and being a conduit for buying memorabilia and everything else, it’s doesn’t replace holding something in your hand and looking at it, in person. When you see something like an old movie poster or an old publicity photo in person, it is almost like going back in time when movies were the mass media and the place where our hopes and dreams where projected along with the images on the screen. The memorabilia shops aren’t just places of commerce, they are places that help to preserve a part of American pop culture. So the next time you happen upon a memorabilia shop, go inside and buy something. Not only will you be helping stores like Larry Edmunds Bookshop stay in business, you will also be keeping the awe in the memorabilia buying experience.

Sources:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/books/la-et-movie-books-20110305,0,4762396.story

Cantu, Hector. “Hollywood Charms” Heritage Magazine Summer 2008, pgs. 46-51

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4 Responses to “Where Have All the Memorabilia Shops Gone?”

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