A Year in Books/Day 87: Hollywood Kids

  • Title: Hollywood Kids Child Stars of the Silver Screen from 1903 to the Present
  • Author: Thomas G. Aylesworth
  • Year Published: 1987 (E.P. Dutton)
  • Year Purchased: 1990?
  • Source: B. Dalton
  • About: Being a child actor has never been easy. You’re pushed and pulled between your parents and the studio powers-that-be. If you’re lucky, your parents aren’t crooks and the studio heads aren’t criminals (see: Coogan, Jackie and Garland, Judy for some chilling cautionary tales). While ‘Hollywood Kids’ doesn’t gloss over the grubby reality of what it meant to be a kiddie star during cinema’s breathless heyday, spilling sordid secrets is certainly not its focus, either. Aylesworth treats his subjects as the talented professionals they were; this is really just a typical mix of film history and biography seasoned with anecdotes. It’s well written and features standout stills and publicity photographs.
  • Motivation: When I bought this, I was a kid myself: hopeful and in love with Hollywood.
  • Times Read: 3
  • Random Excerpt/Page 10: “Griffith sized her [Mary Pickford] up as being too pretty, too short, and having a reedy voice-in a word, all wrong for the stage. But on screen, since this was the silent movie era and voice didn’t count, her petite beauty would be a big asset. He offered her $5 a day. Drawing herself up to her full five-foot height, she replied haughtily that she was “an actress and an artist” and must be paid “twice what ordinary performers” received. Griffith agreed.”
  • Happiness Scale: 9
    Lobby card showing Mary Pickford about to punc...

    Lobby card showing Mary Pickford about to punch actor Francis Marion during a scene from the film "Little Lord Fauntleroy". 1 photomechanical print : collotype, color. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

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