Cincinnati: Zebra Picture Books. Good+. (c.1950). First Edition. Softcover. [edgeworn, moderate external soiling, short diagonal creasing at bottom right corner of front cover]. (B&W photographs) Kind of a proto-"Hollywood Babylon" survey, largely photographic, of "the personal dramas of the fabulous figures behind the Hollywood legend." Although its cover blurb declares it a "sensational picture document of Hollywood's most turbulent years," unlike the Anger book, which came along fifteen years later, it stays on the polite side of good taste while still going over some of the same unsavory ground, e.g. the chapter entitled "The Dark Years," which covers the well-known Tinseltown scandals of the early 1920s (the Roscoe Arbuckle case, the William Desmond Taylor murder, the drug-related deaths of several stars, etc.). There are individual chapters devoted to D.W. Griffith, Mack Sennett, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin (the longest section, with somewhat disproportionate attention given to his marital and legal difficulties), Rudolph Valentino, Greta Garbo, and "The It Girls" (Clara Bow, Jean Harlow, and Rita Hayworth). It's a little shaky on the history -- they even get Griffith's death date wrong, only two years after it happened! -- but it's a passable summary of how certain Hollywood legends had already begun to tarnish, even during the so-called Golden Age. . (Inventory #: 23371)
Unusual, Uncommon and Obscure Books in many (but not all) fields, with particular interest in American Culture (Popular and Unpopular), Art, Literature, Life and People from the 1920s through the 1960s.
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