A Year in Books/Day 102: LIFE Goes to the Movies

  • Title: LIFE Goes to the Movies
  • Editor: David E. Scherman
  • Year Published: 1975/This Edition: 1986 (Time-Life Books, Inc./Pocket Books)
  • Year Purchased: 1990s
  • Source: On clearance at a forgotten store (likely Waldenbooks).
  • About: The binding of this book is falling apart; if you pick it up carelessly, random pages tumble to your feet. I’ve retrieved the disordered middle third of the book from the floor more than once. It’s that kind of volume-delightful, informative, unique and just damn good to ogle. It’s light on text but big on informatively captioned photographs. The staff of this quintessentially American periodical had a degree of privileged access to film studios and stars that today would be unthinkable. The best of forty years of their coverage is stuffed into 304 kaleidoscopic pages.
  • Motivation: LIFE magazine employed top-notch photographers; many of the images they published are instantly recognizable classics. I knew that I would never tire of looking through it, which I haven’t (apparently to the point of nearly destroying it from the inside out).
  • Times Read: Countless
  • Random Excerpt/Page 86: “In the Hollywood of the ’30s and ’40s, stars were not born; they were mass produced. The machinery that swallowed up legions of girls with pretty midwestern faces and that ground out sultry vamps and sexy hoydens gave each young hopeful a buildup that can only be described as relentless.”
  • Happiness Scale: 9

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6 thoughts on “A Year in Books/Day 102: LIFE Goes to the Movies

  1. I promise last comment for the night. However, my University had a collection of LIFE magazines on the top floor. I loved just sitting on the floor and scanning through them. The illustrations and advertisements (especially in the 50’s) are hilarious and wonderful.

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    • That’s fantastic! I (very) casually collect them. I usually buy them at the antique building at the state fair or randomly at second hand stores. A few months ago I realized that lots of shops sell them on Etsy. I forced myself to walk away because that would be like shooting fish in a barrel-no fun at all!

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      • You should come shop around the flea markets in Raleigh. They always have old magazines, and old postcards for sale. I like to buy old pictures of people I don’t know and write stories and poems about them. It’s lovely finding things you know someone else has cherished, or flipped through.

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      • Don’t tempt me. I love books, old things and flea markets! I love that you write about random people in old pictures. That’s wonderful.

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