We walk past the Fairmont and down two steep blocks of Mason Street to enter the Argonaut Book Shop, at 786 Sutter St. Based on their study of production notes from the film, Leventhal and Kraft are certain that this shop was the inspiration for the Argosy Book Shop in "Vertigo," where Scottie meets old Pop Leibel, proprietor, California history buff and explainer of Madeleine's family secrets.
"My dad knew Hitchcock," explains Argonaut owner Robert Haines Jr., who, like Pop, specializes in rare books on the Gold Rush and old California. He says his father, Robert Haines Sr., who founded the store on Kearny Street, was the director's model for Pop Leibel.
"There's a scene where Pop pulls out a Zippo and taps a cigarette - and that's just what my father did," he says. "For the last 40 years, I've had people coming in here, asking, 'Is this the shop where Alfred Hitchcock' did so and so?' "
"And it is," Leventhal says. "Hitchcock once said, 'This is what a bookshop should look like,'" referring to the original shop on Kearny.
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(A tip of the cyber chapeau to RareBooksNews.com for the initial heads-up.)