A Year in Books/Day 161: Hollywood and the Great Fan Magazines

  • Title: Hollywood and the Great Fan Magazines
  • Editor: Martin Levin
  • Year Published: 1970/This Edition: 1991
  • Year Purchased: 1990s
  • Source: Unknown, but likely B. Dalton Bookseller
  • About: This book is a collection of articles from the heyday of film fan magazines-the 1930s. Equal parts pop culture and history (and 100% fun), it is a fascinating look at the Hollywood publicity machine in full swing at top strength. Don’t let the mostly light-hearted topics fool you: this was a serious business that helped fuel an incredibly powerful industry. The frivolity is underpinned by ruthlessness and a lot of money. It is this carefully placed juxtaposition that intrigues me. You’ll find the following articles and then some: What’s Wrong With Hollywood Love; What I Will Tell My Baby; Charlie Chaplin’s Kids; Four Rules of Married Love; Career Comes First With Loretta; I’m No Gigolo! Says George Raft; I Want to Talk About My Baby!; The Price They Pay For Fame; Mystery Tales of the Stars; The Story Jean Harlow Never Told; Tarzan Seeks a Divorce; Ronald Colman Gives the Lowdown on Himself; Watch Your Step, Ann Dvorak!; Ginger Rogers Asks, “Did I Get What I Wanted Out of Life?”; Can Hollywood Hold Errol Flynn?; and Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands and Wives. The photos are splendid and rare.
  • Motivation: I collect movie magazines from the 1910s-1950s. As a teenager in the early 1990s, that hobby was still in my future. This book was the next best thing.
  • Times Read: A few
  • Random Excerpt/Page 42: “PRIZE CONTEST! Can You Describe Errol Flynn In ONE SENTENCE Using Just 20 Words? How proficient are you in the use of adjectives? In order to describe Errol Flynn most effectively at least three descriptive adjectives should be used. For instance, here’s a sample sentence of 20 words containing three adjectives which we think fit his type and personality: One of the most debonair and adventurous Hollywood actors is attractive Errol Flynn whose hobby is traveling in strange places.” (Ed. Note: I want to travel back in time and take this person’s job.)

    Cropped screenshot of Ann Dvorak from the trai...

    Ann Dvorak watching her step (Photo credit: Screen shot from Three on a Match via Wikipedia)

  • Happiness Scale: 9

6 thoughts on “A Year in Books/Day 161: Hollywood and the Great Fan Magazines

  1. Had no idea movie magazines were in existence in such an early era. Maybe they were the seed for the modern tabloid? I confess, I love tabloids! I rarely buy them, just read in line at the grocery. lol


    • Yes, they are nearly as old as cinema itself! The oldest mag I have is from 1917. Some of the periodicals were really quite scholarly, others were more pop-culture oriented. By the 1950s, there was a definite division between legit mags and tabloid-esque rags. Welcome to the modern world!


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