All of my recent books are available in e-book editions, including Kindle. Now, I am happy to report that I have arranged for the following earlier, and out-of-print, volumes to be published as Kindle editions: The Kindergarten of the Movies: A History of the Fine Arts Company (1980), Fifty Great American Silent Films: 1912-1920, with Edward Wagenknecht (1980), The Best of Rob Wagner's Script (1985), The Cinema and Ireland (1988), They Also Wrote for the Fan Magazines: Film Articles by Literary Giants from ee cummings to Eleanor Roosevelt, 1920-1939 (1992), and Lois Weber: The Director Who Lost Her Way in History (1996).
Hollywood Unknowns at Hollywood Heritage
On Wednesday, April 10, at Hollywood Heritage, I will be presenting a program on "Hollywood Unknowns," and there will also be an interview with Pauline Wagner, a Hollywood extra who will be 103 this summer, and a book signing. The program is produced by Sue Slutzky.
Two Important Scholarly Essays
I would like to draw attention to two scholarly essays of mine published in Film History. The first "A Publishing Phenomenon That Begins and Ends with Scarecrow Press" is primarily a history of my work as an editor. It appears in Volume 22, No. 3 (2010). The second "Early Women Filmmakers: The Real Numbers" documents some of the blatant errors and questionable findings related to women in silent film. It appears in Volume 24, No. 1 (2012). My thanks to retiring editor Richard Koszarski for encouraging me and publishing the end results.
University Press of Mississippi
Next summer, the University Press of Mississippi will reprint my Encyclopedia of Vaudeville as a hardcover, paperback and e-book. Also, next summer, the press will publish my anthology, Interviews: D.W. Griffith, and in the fall, it will publish my definitive history of the movie extra, Hollywood Unknowns.
Hollywood Fan Magazine Exhibit at USC
To celebrate publication of my latest book, Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers (University Press of Mississippi, $40.00), the University of Southern California is hosting a major exhibit on the subject in its David L. Wolper Center. The exhibit opens on April 29th and will be on display through the end of July.
On Sunday, May 16th at 1:00pm, I will be signing copies of the book at Larry Edmunds Bookstore in Hollywood. On Sunday, July 18th at 1:30pm, I will be signing copies of the book at the Castro Theatre, San Francisco, as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
Will Rogers Commentary
In July, 20th Century-Fox will be releasing on DVD four Will Rogers films, for three of which — DOUBTING THOMAS, IN OLD KENTUCKY and LIFE BEGINS AT FORTY — I provided commentary. (I have further recorded the DVD commentary for
UNDER MY SKIN, released in 1950 and adapted from an Ernest Hemingway short story.) Also in July, Arcadia Publishing is bringing out NEW YORK CITY VAUDEVILLE, a collection of photographs and artifacts from my extensive vaudeville archives. The photographs
in this book, together with other photographs and films which I control, can be licensed from Producers Library Service at www.producerslibrary.com
William Haines' essay
I am privileged to have provided a short essay on William Haines' screen career to an outstanding coffee table book, published in October 2005, CLASS ACT -- WILLIAM HAINES: LEGENDARY HOLLYWOOD DECORATOR by Peter Schifando and Jean H. Mathison, published by Pointed Leaf Press.
The DVD of THE RAINS CAME, to which Robert Birchard and I contributed commentary, has now been released -- in November 2005 -- by 20th Century-Fox.
The Razor's Edge Commentary
In July 2005, 20th Century-Fox released THE RAZOR'S EDGE (1946) on DVD, with
commentary by myself and Robert Birchard. The LOS ANGELES TIMES (May 22, 2005) described our
commentary as "juicy." Bob Birchard and I hae also recorded commentaries for 7th HEAVEN (1927) and
THE RAIN'S CAME (1939), both of which should soon be available on DVD. Also in July, I videotaped an
interview with Hilary Mackendrick on the work of her husband Alexander "Sandy" Mackendrick,
which will appear as an extra on Optimum Releasing's UK release of WHISKY GALORE! (1949, and released in the
U.S. as TIGHT LITTLE ISLAND)
On July 10, 2005, I was at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, signing copies of SILENT PLAYERS and AMERICAN RACIST,
and I would like to thank all those who came by to say hello and (better yet) to purchase copies of the books.
After 25 years, Scarecrow Press has informed me that it no longer wishes
to continue publication of the Filmmakers series, of which I am editor.
I feel both sadness and bitterness that such a worthwhile publishing
venture in the field of film literature, which has
included both critical biographies and autobiographies, is to disappear. I
take heart from Leonard Maltin's recent comment on his website,
some sort of award for seeing to it that so many autobiographies made their
way to print that wouldn't have stood a chance with mainstream publishers.
The memoirs of such veterans (and pioneers) as Alice Guy Blache,
Henry Wilcoxon, Georgia Hale, Joseph Henabery, Curt Siodmak,
Jimmy Starr, Charles G. Clarke, Esther Ralston, William Bakewell, John Bright,
Maurice Rapf, Edward Bernds, Bernard Vorhaus, Rose Hobart, Lita Grey Chaplin, Ronald Neame, and
Harry Carey Jr. constitute a major contribution to film literature and scholarship."
The last group of books in the series, coming in 2005, include the autobiographies
of screenwriter / producer Sydney Box and legendary cinematographer Ossie Morris, as well as
studies of African-American singer / actress Elisabeth Welch, 3-D filmmakers, and David Lynch
Those with whom I have spoken directly will know of my deep sorrow at what has happened to Scarecrow
Press and the manner in which it has been managed. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that what is my latest book,
SILENT TOPICS: ESSAYS ON UNDOCUMENTED AREAS OF SILENT FILM, is quite definitely my last for the company. Published
as a $35.00 paperback, SILENT TOPICS: ESSAYS ON UNDOCUMENTED AREAS OF SILENT FILM, examines various under-discussed or completely
ignored areas of cinema. Included here are essays on the release of British silent films in the United States,
the "Great Events" series produced in the 1920's by Technicolor, the manner in which silent sheet music exploited film personalities,
production costs of silent feature films, special effects pioneer Roy Pomeroy, actor/minister Neal Dodd, Margerie Bonner (Mrs. Malcolm Lowry),
and an analysis of talent and lack of it in silent actors and actresses, as well as the only interview with composer/arranger David Mendoza.