Posted by Susan Doll on September 24, 2012
Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the movie fan magazine, a milestone that came and went with little fanfare. The lack of attention is not surprising as the movie magazine really belongs to another time and another place—the Golden Age of Hollywood. Publications like Photoplay, Movieland, and Motion Picture Story existed to promote the studios’ contract stars, offering stories, photos, and gossip to support and expand the stars’ images.
Unlike the gossip rags of later years and the scandal-based websites of today, the original fan magazines sought to further the stars’ careers—not find joy in tarnishing or ending them. Gossip columnists of the past may have admonished celebrities for their indiscretions and stepped on some toes for that all-important exclusive scoop, but the articles in the magazines offered tales of hard-working folk who exhibited humility and strong moral fiber even while they were tempted by the bright lights of Hollywood and the lures of extramarital affairs. Like the studios’ publicity departments, the movie magazines propagated a positive image of stars, which elevated them in the eyes of fans and guaranteed their loyalty. Today’s combination of stalking paparazzi, star bashing, and relentless prying has tainted the reputations of capable actors and charismatic movie stars, creating generations of movie-goers who scoff at the star system, ignorant of its relationship to Hollywood movie-making.
Posted by Susan Doll on September 17, 2012
I recently rediscovered a small stash of 1940s movie magazines, which I had bought for a song at an antique store a few years ago. As I leafed through the pages, I got caught up in gazing at the candid photos and reading through the articles. I am always searching for old Hollywood, and reading Photoplay and Movieland was like stepping back in time to another era. While nothing can compare to perusing the actual magazines, I thought I would share my discovery by reporting on the era’s hottest news, gossip, and advice from the stars. This week and next, prepare to time-travel to the Golden Age when stars mingled at the Trocadero and the Mocambo, and gossip columnists worked overtime for the next big juicy scoop.
The August 1943 issue of Photoplay and the June 1944 issue of Movieland offer more than a glimpse of old Hollywood, however. They are also a window into life on the home front during WWII. The magazines whole-heartily promoted the war effort directly and indirectly, just like the stars who sold war bonds and the studios that boosted morale through their films. Glancing at the ads in Photoplay, I see that using Listerine will brighten my smile for the soldiers, while Ball Canning Jars is urging me to can my own vegetables because “home-canned foods are not rationed.” A Beech-Nut Gum ad shows a soldier passing out chewing gum to Chinese kids, while it implores readers to: “Use your free time this summer to serve your country. Volunteer on farms to save America’s crops.” An ad for Blue Jay Foot Powder did not mention the war at all, but it did reflect an aspect of the war forgotten today. It seems Blue Jay Powder was perfect for keeping feet from sticking to shoes when girls went without stockings. Nylon was in short supply during the war so nylon stockings were hard to come by.
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D Action Films Actors Actors' Endorsements Actresses animal stars Animation Anime Anthology Films Art in Movies Australian CInema Autobiography Avant-Garde Aviation Awards B-movies Beer in Film Behind the Scenes Best of the Year lists Biography Biopics Blu-Ray Books on Film Boxing films British Cinema Canadian Cinema Character Actors Chicago Film History Cinematography Classic Films College Life on Film Comedy Comic Book Movies Crime Czech Film Dance on Film Digital Cinema Directors Disaster Films Documentary Drama DVD Early Talkies Editing Educational Films European Influence on American Cinema Experimental Exploitation Fairy Tales on Film Faith or Christian-based Films Family Films Film Composers Film Criticism film festivals Film History in Florida Film Noir Film Scholars Film titles Filmmaking Techniques Films of the 1960s Films of the 1980s Food in Film Foreign Film French Film Gangster films Genre Genre spoofs HD & Blu-Ray Holiday Movies Hollywood history Hollywood lifestyles Horror Horror Movies Icons independent film Italian Film Japanese Film Korean Film Literary Adaptations Martial Arts Melodramas Method Acting Mexican Cinema Moguls Monster Movies Movie Books Movie Costumes movie flops Movie locations Movie lovers Movie Reviewers Movie settings Movie Stars Movie titles Movies about movies Music in Film Musicals Outdoor Cinema Paranoid Thrillers Parenting on film Pirate movies Polish film industry political thrillers Politics in Film Pornography Pre-Code Producers Race in American Film Remakes Revenge Road Movies Romance Romantic Comedies Satire Scandals Science Fiction Screenwriters Semi-documentaries Serials Short Films Silent Film silent films Social Problem Film Sports Sports on Film Stereotypes Straight-to-DVD Studio Politics Stunts and stuntmen Suspense thriller Swashbucklers TCM Classic Film Festival TCM Underground Television The British in Hollywood The Germans in Hollywood The Hungarians in Hollywood The Irish in Hollywood Theaters Thriller Trains in movies Underground Cinema VOD War film Westerns Women in the Film Industry Women's Weepies