Helen Keller—Movie Star

Most Americans are unaware of the surprising bypaths and intense digressions in the life of Helen Keller. We feel we know her story—the desperate and finally triumphant little girl of The Miracle Worker , the gracious, handsome public figure she became. But in Joseph P. Lash’s new biography, Helen and Teacher , she is revealed as both more various and more fascinating than we knew. The following excerpt tells the story of one of Helens most unlikely ventures.Read more »

Hollywood Cleans Up Its Act

The curious career of the Hays Office

The comparisons were inevitable. Just a year earlier, in 1921, organized baseball had tried to counter the effects of the Black Sox scandal by appointing the august Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to the newly created position of commissioner.Read more »

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GOOD READING

The Shattered Silents: How the Talkies Came to Stay

by Alexander Walker William Morrow and Co., Inc. 65 photographs, 218 pages, $10.95 Read more »

High Eagle The Many Lives Of Colonel Tim Mccoy

Who is Colonel Tim McCoy? He is the last surviving cowboy hero of the silent screen. His contemporaries—Tom Mix. Hoot Gibson, Buck Jones, Ken Maynard, Fred Thompson, Harry Carey, and lesser lights—are all gone, some of them for many years. Only McCoy remains, now as then solidly sure of the choices in life and decisively intolerant of injustice. Read more »

Say Who’s That Tall, Homely Feller In The Stovepipe Hat?

Why, that’s George Billings.

George Billings? Certainly, in Al and Ray Rockett’s long-forgotten silent epic Abraham Lincoln in 1924. The gaunt, familiar form of Lincoln has been a stock dramatic figure ever since May of 1861, when a political potboiler called Abe’s Saturday; or Washington Sixty Days Hence opened at Boston’s Mobile Theater. Read more »

Aunt Julia’s Movie Code

Back in the twenties, before, chances are, Jack Valenti and Linda Lovelace were even born, my Aunt Julia developed her own movie-rating system. This was based not on the movies themselves but on the stars who appeared in them. No G’S or R’S or X’S for Aunt Julia.Read more »

The Late Late Silents

The last of the major silent films, made shortly before sound engulfed the movie industry in 1928, may not have been golden, but they glittered brightly. Some sixty million Americans were going to the movies more or less regularly, and production budgets were soaring to dizzy heights. Competition among the big film corporations— Paramount, Loew’s, Fox, Universal—was savage. In 1924 Loew’s had merged to become the formidable Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.Read more »

A Twenties Constellation

Stars of the era still glow brightly in portraits by photographer James Abbe

The personage at left is neither Cossack nor commissar, but an American photographer who pursued—and overtook—an extraordinarily lively career in photojournalism and who today, at eighty-nine, lives in San Francisco. Although James Abbe’s photographic adventures unfolded in many exotic places, including Russia, some of his most successful pictures were of American stage and film performers, and especially of those glamorous figures of the 1920’s who became the first truly world-famous stars.Read more »

Doug Fairbanks

Superstar of the Silents

In early Hollywood there lived a King. He was married to a Queen. Her name was Mary, and she was a Golden Girl. He was dashing and marvellously graceful and young—above all young. Youth was very American, and besides, it was essential to the King

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