Saturday, February 26, 2011


I just spent a couple of productive hours going through my working bibliography for the next chapter (although maybe I should just finish the current chapter first?) and double checking on amazon. I love their used section--while shipping can be a little steep, there are often used/new items that are a steal. For example, I just got two silent film books (purely for pleasure--Baby Peggy's autobiography and a book she wrote on child stars), three books on femininity, visibility and mass culture (for said chapter on the female look at the female body) and a dvd (Girl 27--a documentary on a 1938 Hollywood cover-up/scandal that one of my students in Celebrity recommended yesterday). All are either new or in very good condition and the whole lot came to under $50.

The books I really want to read for pleasure are the reissued Michael G. Ankerich volumes, Broken Silence: Conversations with 23 Silent Film Stars and the companion book, The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities Who Bridged the Gap Between Silents and Talkies. At $35 each, I will probably have to get them one at a time. These books are part of a niche market, have small print runs, don't go on sale and their buyers don't sell them back so it's pay $35 or go without.

                                                     Olive Borden

                                                          Lucille Ricksen

                                                       Juanita Hansen

The former is more the must read--and will be a good follow up to Ankerich's excellent, Dangerous Curves above Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent Screen. I highly recommend this book--even if you've never heard of Olive Borden, Juanita Hansen or Lucille Ricksen (to name just three), their lives were fascinating, sometimes tragic and offer insight into the quick turn over that typified Hollywood in the teens and 20s. It's also a well written, intelligent, and well researched book--traits that are quite rare in this genre.

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