The Other Manson Family: A young couple from Boston embarked on a cross-country journey that would lead them to the heart of Los Angeles. Little did they know that their introduction to the City of Angels would be intertwined with Manson Distributing Corporation.
This is a glimpse into the glitzy allure of Hollywood nights as the couple navigated through an era of transition on the Sunset Strip, all while forging their paths in the enigmatic realm of the entertainment industry.
Join us on a journey back in time to late ’70s LA, where Clark Apartments, Aladdin’s lamps, and the city’s vibrant pulse painted the canvas of their story.
The Other Manson Family: Hollywood Nights in the Late ’70s: A Journey into Manson Distributing Corporation
In 1977, my significant other and I embarked on a cross-country journey from Boston to Los Angeles, driving a “drive-away” Impala through a challenging blizzard.
Natasha, my mother-in-law, secured us a one-bedroom apartment in the Clark Apartments, perched uphill from the iconic Whiskey a Go-Go.
Once graced by Dionne Warwick and later Motley Crue, our new residence offered a neglected charm but felt like a slice of cockeyed heaven in the heart of LA.
Amidst bouncing between temporary positions at IBM legal and Pepperdine’s forgotten Watts campus.
I yearned for a taste of Hollywood glitz. Natasha’s connection landed me an interview at Manson Distributing Corporation, a film distributor conveniently located blocks away from Clark Apartments.
Michael Goldman, the somewhat awkward and jovial president, hired me, showcasing the influence of Tinsel Town nepotism.
Manson Distributing Corporation exuded an unassuming charm at 9145 Sunset Boulevard in the Aladdin Building, marked by a conspicuous brass Aladdin’s lamp over the entrance.
The neighboring landmarks, from the Cock’n Bull tavern to La Maganette, set the stage for my cinematic journey.
Amid iconic eateries like Scandia and the presence of Dick Clark Productions and the Paul Kohner Agency, Manson Distributing Corporation became the epicenter of my Hollywood adventure.
As I settled into my new job, the Sunset Strip transformed from the sixties’ remnants to the seventies’ stumbling steps.
Filthy McNasty’s faced its last gasp, Power Burger delivered super beef shots, and the likes of Turner, Old World, and Mirabelle’s added character to the culinary landscape.
The music scene thrived at The Roxy and the Whiskey, Tower Records stood as the vinyl cosmos center, and the Hollywood Vampires era gave way to the emerging metal scene. This was the vibrant backdrop of my life in LA during the late ’70s.
In the vibrant era of late ’70s Los Angeles, Manson Distributing Corporation stood as a hub for cinematic exploits, with a history rooted in the synergy of two visionaries—Edmund Goldman and Sam Nathanson.
The company, named ingeniously from the last syllables of their surnames, became an integral part of Hollywood’s tapestry, navigating the evolving landscape of the film industry.
Edmund Goldman, a patriarchal figure in Manson’s narrative, played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s destiny.
Renowned for acquiring the domestic rights to Gojira from Toho for a mere twenty-five grand, Goldman orchestrated its transformation into the Americanized Godzilla, King Of The Monsters.
The accounts of how he stumbled upon this cinematic gem ranged from tales of Little Tokyo movie houses to connections forged during his detention in a Philippines camp during the war.
Within the walls of Manson Distributing Corporation, colorful anecdotes abounded. A framed photo in Goldman’s office depicted a comical scuffle with the Three Stooges on the Columbia lot.
Goldman’s wry commentary on Moe Howard’s camera-induced aggression and his casual dismissal of Shemp’s track outings offered a glimpse into the quirky dynamics of Hollywood personalities.
The annual ritual of bonding with Edmund Goldman during foreign film markets brought a touch of humor and camaraderie.
From Smart & Final shopping sprees for the perfect snack spread to debates on the significance of food in making sales, these moments painted a picture of a unique professional relationship.
The juxtaposition of Goldman’s Monopoly man appearance and his jest about resembling an extra from “Satan’s Sadists” added a layer of whimsy to their shared experiences.
Stationed in the shipping department alongside the eclectic trio of Devon, Hal, and Queenie, the narrative delves into the peculiar dynamics of this team.
Hal’s eccentricities, Devon’s thespian prowess, and Queenie’s dual role as a messenger and burgeoning costume designer added a touch of theatricality to the daily operations.
As Manson’s library transformed, delving into exploitation and adult fare, challenges emerged in sending screening cassettes across borders.
Determining which films had “erect” or “flaccid” content for international audiences highlighted the industry’s intricacies.
A breakthrough moment in selling a soft-skin offering to a Lebanese distributor hinted at the evolving landscape of international film markets.
With new collaborations with Crown International and producer Charles Band, Manson Distributing Corporation ventured into diverse genres—from teen romps to low-budget sci-fi.
The eclectic mix of classics, exploitation, and emerging genres marked a transformative period for Manson’s library.
In this memoir, the journey through Manson Distributing Corporation unfolds against the backdrop of Hollywood’s dynamic evolution, offering a glimpse into the characters, challenges, and triumphs that shaped this unique chapter in the history of film distribution.
Hollywood’s Exploitative Playground
Step into the gritty glamour of late ’70s Los Angeles with tales from Manson Distributing Corporation, a film distributor perched on the edge of Hollywood’s notorious landscape.
In this immersive journey, Todd details the exploits, eccentricities, and colorful characters that defined his tenure at Manson, offering a rare glimpse into the underbelly of the film industry.
Manson’s bread and butter lay in the grand tradition of exploitation cinema. With loyal purveyors like Stephen Apostolof, a.k.a. A.C. Stephens, the company dabbled in titles like “Class Reunion,” “Snow Bunnies,” and “Lady Godiva Rides.”
The narrative unfolds with anecdotes about Steve’s attempts to convince Edmund Goldman to pick up his latest title, “Hot Ice,” and the internal conflicts surrounding the decision.
The shipping department at Manson was a world of its own, with characters like Devon, Hal, and Queenie adding their unique flavors.
From quirky daily rituals to unexpected guests, Todd paints a vivid picture of the unconventional dynamics at the heart of the distribution process.
The Manson office became a magnet for industry figures, from Johnny Legend and Holly Palance to Al Adamson and Regina Carroll.
Todd shares encounters with these personalities, offering a backstage pass to the eclectic mix of Hollywood’s fringe and mainstream.
Devon’s joy over a dumpster TV and remote turns unexpectedly when the prankster owner reveals it to be a fake.
The incident sparks humor and chaos, shedding light on the offbeat camaraderie that fueled the Manson work environment.
As Manson expanded and diversified, the landscape shifted. The narrative delves into the evolving dynamics, the acquisition of mainstream titles like “Mother Lode,” and the eventual departure of some employees.
Todd bids adieu to Manson, paving the way for the company’s transformation and eventual sale in 1987.
Todd resurfaces at Carolco, a company that starkly contrasts with Manson. The chaotic filing system at Carolco symbolizes Hollywood’s ever-changing nature, hinting at the challenges and uncertainties of the industry.
The memoir encapsulates an era marked by exploitation, unpredictability, and the indomitable spirit of Hollywood’s unsung heroes.