Sad Thoughts: So Long Book Castle Movie World, Burbank, California

Well I suppose this one was inevitable: Book Castle Movie World is closing. The shop has been a fixture of Downtown Burbank for, oh geeze, it has to be 40 or 50 years at least.

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The shop had all the appearances of a film curios shop that might stock or display props, costumes, reproductions, movie posters, screenplays, and other ephemera to tickle a cinephile’s fancy. The shop front had the dilapidated Art Deco look of a repurposed clothing store from the 40’s that had gone long unoccupied until the Movie World tenant moved in. The displays featured faded movie posters for past great films and even the latest and greatest stuff in theaters, all showing an equal amount of fading and weathering.

But the reality inside was somewhat different.

It had literally nothing to do with films beyond its sparse selection of movie posters and a collection of vintage posters that lined the upper walls in the building.

Other than that, it was just stacks and piles and piles of hoarded used books and magazines, mostly paperbacks with no rhyme or reason or organization whatsoever. Pricing was cheap and arbitrary, the smell was that musty smell one knows from aging paperbacks printed on pulp stock, and I don’t know if the place was ever once vacuumed in its existence.

People described it as a place where, if you “worked hard,” you might find a “gem” of a book to leave with. I’m not so sure. Granted, its dusty narrow rows of infinite stock gave it character, there are FAR BETTER used bookstores than this.

One thing it does deserve credit for, however, is being a primary source of inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction,’ and even received a shoutout at the end of the film. This makes sense though, as old musty tattered pulp fiction makes up a large chunk of the inventory there.

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Will people miss Movie World? Honestly, I don’t think so. I think if they had actually focused more on actual movie-related items, be they rare, screen used, or kitschy, this would be a far more tragic departure of a type of shop that’s a borderline extinct breed. The reality however, is that this is a used booked store run by people who probably didn’t care all that much, and it will probably be replaced by some other small business (most likely a restaurant serving up a delicious ethnic cuisine) in Downtown Burbank, a place I love.