Archive for the ‘Books – New’ Category

The Real Wizard of Oz

Monday, February 22nd, 2010


The Real Wizard of Oz

The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum

by Rebecca Loncraine


The Real Wizard of Oz


When The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written at the turn of the century, it quickly became an icon of American culture. The public and the media were entranced by myths surrounding Baum’s creation. What was the entomology of Oz? What was the meaning of the yellow brick road? Was the Cowardly Lion the leader of the Populist party? Baum himself became a figure of interest: Was he haunted by his world into the characters of his story?


America was itself living i a time of fantasy. With one foot in the more primitive 1800’s — with mysticism and tall tales consuming muchof the population, and the other engrossed in modernization. Baum, spent his early adulthood in the Wild West playing real Cowboys and Indians, fighting for woman’s rights, attending the World’s Fair in Chicago, and getting involved in the first motion pictures.


Ultimately, Baum used his adventures and imagination to create a world that blurred his own sense of reality and fantasy. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz became a force of nature and he was caught up in its power. He understood the magnitude of his fairytale had and began to create a myth around it. He utilized the growing power of media and pop culture to make it bigger and more profitable. He even wrote the first Broadway play to reflect the story of Dorothy and Toto. Later, his estate supported the Judy Garland movei whose iconic ruby slippers are one of the most popular museum items in the world. Even today, modern productions and spin offs are incredibly popular and profitable. The interest in Baum’s world seems endless.


From the Great Plains to Hollywood, Baum’s life had more twists and turns than a cyclone. His writing has touched readers the world over. The story continues to excite and intrigue even more than 70 yeasrs after the classic MGM film first premiered. The Real Wizard of Oz is the first biography of the man behind it all.


Click here to purchase The Real Wizard of Oz at Amazon



Luise Rainer’s 100th Birthday

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010


Luise Rainer






BORN: January 12, 1910, Dusseldorf, Germany


Currently living in London 



Click below to see Luise Rainer as Anna Held in The Great Ziegfeld (1936)






LA’s Graveside Companion

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009


LA’s Graveside Companion:

Where the V.I.P.s R.I.P.

By Steve Goldstein


LA's Graveside Companion


A perfect gift for your history and graveyard lovers!


Ten years in the making, this informative guide to a dozen Los Angeles cemeteries locates the 400 most interesting gravesites in Southern California. Over 270 color photos, informative text, and driving directions guide readers to the graves of L.A.’s most famous and influential citizens. Included are early film stars Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, and Florence Lawrence; along with Cecil B. DeMille and Jesse Lasky. It includes the graves of former slave turned philanthropist Biddy Mason and comic legends Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle, and George Jessel; even the area’s most visited grave, Marilyn Monroe’s, is featured.
The text includes biographies for each star and where bodies are buried that are not in cemeteries! All who are passionate about history and the movies will treasure this book.


Click here to purchase LA’s Graveside Companion



Hollywood Bohemians

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


Hollywood Bohemians:

Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream


by Brett L. Abrams


Hollywood Bohemians


Between 1917 and 1941, Hollywood studios, gossip columnists and novelist featured an unprecedented number of homosexuals, cross-dressers, and adulterers in their depictions of the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle.


Actress Greta Garbo defined herself as the ultimate serial bachelorette. Screenwriter Mercedes De Acosta engaged in numerous lesbian relationships with the Hollywood elite. And countless homosexual designers brazenly picked up men in the hottest Hollywood nightclubs. Hollywood’s image grew as a place of sexual abandon.


This book demonstrates how studios and the media used images of these sexaully adventurous characters to promote the industry and appeal to the prurient interests of their audiences.  (from the book jacket)


  • “an insightful and intriguing read” — Philadelphia Gay News


  • “In Hollywood Bohemians, Brett Abrams has provided all film historians with a brand new take on Hollywood. This social study should be must reading for all scholars. Rather than simplistic assertions, Abrams offers documents that will be new to all.” — Douglas Gomery, Professor of Journalism and Film Studies Emeritus, University of Maryland and author of Shared Pleases: A History of Movie Presentation In the United States and the Hollywood Studio System: A History.


Brett L. Abrams is an archivist with the National Archives and Records Administration.


Click here to purchase Hollywood Bohemians



Karl Dane Biography

Monday, September 28th, 2009


Karl Dane

A Biography and Filmography


Karl Dane cover


Karl Dane’s life was a Cinderella story gone horribly wrong. The immigrant from Copenhagen was rapidly transformed from a machinist to a Hollywood star after his turn as the tobacco-chewing Slim in The Big Parade in 1925. After that, Dane appeared in more than 40 films with such luminaries as Lillian Gish, John Gilbert and William Haines until development of talkies virtually ruined his career. The most famous casualty of the transition from silent to sound film, Dane reportedly lost his career because of his accent. He was broke and alone at the height of the Depression and committed suicide in 1934. 


To order from please click here.





Sunday, October 18, 2009:

Laura will be in Hollywood at Grauman’s Egyptian Theater doing a book signing and giving a talk about Karl’s life and career. A screening of The Big Parade will follow with Robert Israel on the organ.


Click here for complete information.


Laura Petersen Balogh is a teacher and writer in Madison, New Jersey. Her research on Karl Dane has been published in various magazines across the United States and Denmark.



New Biography on Joyce Compton

Monday, August 3rd, 2009


The Real Joyce Compton:

Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image


Joyce Compton bookcover


“People who like films and stars of that era, from the 1920s on through the 1950s, I think, would like to have such a personally-written account of some of the highlights of an actress’s life.  Most picture us all as rich and famous and never hear of another side.  I’ve even thought of the title: The Real Joyce Compton: Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image.  Sound good?  It’s a thought.”


–Excerpt of a letter from Joyce Compton to

Michael G. Ankerich, 27 January 1988


The Real Joyce Compton: Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image is the story that Joyce Compton, one of the screen’s finest comediennes and most versatile actresses, wanted told.


Her career, which consisted of an estimated 200 films, stretched from 1925 to 1957.  Breaking into films during the silent era, she appeared in a string of ingénue roles, imagining herself as a new Mae Murray, but it was after the beginning of sound that Compton found her niche in comedy.


In her own words, she recounts her frustrations over studio politics and shares her experiences of working and socializing with such screen favorites as Clara Bow, Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich, Joel McCrea, George O’Brien, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Johnny Mack Brown, Janet Gaynor, and George Raft.


Compton opens up about her often overly protective parents, her off-screen romances, her one heartbreaking attempt at marriage, her deep religious faith, and her struggle to support her family after her film career ended.


With candor and insight that only someone who was there can share, Compton discusses the transition from silents to talkies; working with incompetent directors in those early sound movies; living on locations; the competition she experienced with the “star” actresses of the studio; freelancing versus working under a studio contact; and the day-to-day life of an actress working in early Hollywood.


The Real Joyce Compton begins with a biography of the actress, written by co-author Michael G. Ankerich, based on formal interviews, conversations, and correspondence over their 10-year friendship. The book also contains a detailed filmography of Compton’s film appearances and is lavishly illustrated with over 80 photographs, many of which are from Compton’s own personal collection.


Ankerich is the author of Broken Silence: Conversations With 23 Silent Film Stars and The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 23 Stage and Screen Personalities Who Made the Transition from Silents to Talkies.


He is currently working on Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 22 Hard Luck Girls of the Silent Screen. Dangerous Curves, based partly on interviews with family, friends, and relatives, will feature such actresses as Agnes Ayres, Belle Bennett, Olive Borden, Gladys Brockwell, Grace Darmond, Marguerite de la Motte, Elinor Fair, Margaret Gibson, Juanita Hansen, Wanda Hawley, Natalie Joyce, Kathleen Key, Barbara La Marr, Martha Mansfield, Mae Murray, Mary Nolan, Marie Prevost, Lucille Ricksen, Dorothy Sebastian, Eve Southern,  Alberta Vaughn, and Clara Kimball Young.


Click here to purchase The Real Joyce Compton: Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image at Amazon


Or from the publisher, BearManor Media