Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Larry Edmunds bookshop in Hollywood reopens

It is a sure sign that things are getting better when what might well be the best film book shop in the world reopens. I'm talking about Larry Edmunds bookshop in Hollywood. The store's owner recently wrote on his Facebook page, "It is my pleasure to announce that after 53 weeks... the Larry Edmunds Bookshop will be open to the public from 11 am to 4 pm. Rules pertaining to occupancy & masks & such will be in full effect. Call & make an appointment w/ us and we’ll make sure you get in. Thank you to all of you who have continued to support the LAST bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard! We look forward to selling you a book (or books 😊) soon! Don’t call it a comeback, been here for years..." For more information, visit the store website HERE.

In fact, Larry Edmunds bookshop has been around since 1938, that is, during the last couple years of Louise Brooks' residency in Los Angeles. So who knows, perhaps she shopped there at one time or another. As mentioned, Larry Edmunds has been in business for nearly three quarters of a century. And as such, it is one of the last surviving cinema and theatre book and memorabilia stores in North America. It features an inventory of 500,000 movie photographs, 6,000 original movie posters and 20,009 motion picture and theater books. This is the place where film buffs come to shop.

 

During my pre-pandemic trip to Los Angeles in February 2020, I had the chance to visit the store. I've visited the historic bookshop (located at 6644 Hollywood Blvd) many times in the past, but always as a customer. This time, I visited as an author, and dropped off copies of three of my books, each of which are now for sale at the famous Hollywood bookshop. The three titles now available at Larry Edmunds are Louise Brooks: the Persistent Star, Beggars of Life: a Companion to the 1928 Film, and Now We're in the Air: a Companion to the Once Lost Film. In fact, back in May of 2020, Larry Edmunds bookshop was the subject of a TV news story, and in the background, copies of my most recent book, Louise Brooks: the Persistent Star, could be seen in the background (see above). If you live in or around Los Angeles, this is the place to go to check out these Louise Brooks Society publications (and a whole lot more).

 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

A checklist of some of my writing on early film, especially the silent era, with just a few tangentially related to Louise Brooks

Most silent film enthusiasts know of me, if they know me at all, for my work on and writings about the life and career of Louise Brooks. However, I have written a good deal about other stars and films from the silent era. And, have been doing so for well more than a decade. 

On this blog in the past, I have posted a checklist of some of my Louise Brooks related articles, most written for various on-line publications and websites. What follows now is a checklist of some of my articles and essays on other stars, films, and topics related to the silent film era. I have left out my long running "best books of the year" and "best DVDs of the year" pieces.  As well, I have hyperlinked to as many pieces as possible. Unfortunately, the old examiner.com and Open/Salon pieces were scrubbed from the net when those websites were taken down. I hope a few readers, at least, will read a few of the following pieces. A few may even appeal to those interested in Brooks and her career.

Mank and Lulu, and contact tracing the origins of Rosebud. ” Louise Brooks Society blog, December 11, 2020.
— did Herman Mankiewicz learn of William Randolph Hearst’s special pet name for Marion Davies clit from Louise Brooks?

Buster Keaton’s Genius, Derailed: The Cameraman (Criterion Collection).” Film International, .
— review of a Buster Keaton DVD release

(Re) Considering Rudolph Valentino.” Film International, .
— review of three new DVD releases

Marion Davies: Gifted Actress and Impossible Boy.” Film International, .
— article on the early film actress

Mendocino Made Film to show at San Francisco Silent Film Festival.” Ukiah Daily Journal, April 30, 2019.
— article in local newspaper

The Real Stan and Ollie.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Winter, 2018.
— program essay

The Beginnings of Fritz Lang.” Louise Brooks Society blog, April 3, 2018.
— review of a DVD box set

Pola Negri: Her films were silent. She wasn’t.” Huffington Post, December 4, 2017.

Rescuing the Past: The Fall and Rise of Silent Film.” Huffington Post, November 30, 2017.

A World Turned Over: Wellman’s BEGGARS OF LIFE.” University of Wisconsin Cinematheque, November 28, 2017.

The Case for Marion Davies.” Huffington Post, November 22, 2017.

Before Hollywood, there was Fort Lee, New Jersey.” Huffington Post, September 22, 2017.

Two Film Historians and Their Lifelong Labor of Love.” Huffington Post, September 6, 2017.

Laurel & Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies.” Huffington Post, November 21, 2016.
— sometimes I have notable readers (see below)

 “New Book Surveys Jules Verne on Film.” Huffington Post, October 27, 2016.

Girls Will Be Boys in San Francisco.” Huffington Post, May 25, 2016.

getTV Premieres Rare Cary Grant film.” Huffington Post, May 4, 2016.

I Like Una Merkel, Helen Twelvetrees, and Sally Phipps.” Huffington Post, March 10, 2016.

Best Films Books of 2015.” Huffington Post, November 23, 2015.
— this piece received a fair amount of attention (see below)


The Return of Baby Peggy — The Last Silent Film Star.” Huffington Post, October 21, 2015.

William Gillette and the Making of SHERLOCK HOLMES.” EatDrinkFilms, May 22, 2015.

Hobo Author Jim Tully Celebrated in New Documentary on PBS.” Huffington Post, February 11, 2015.

Disney’s Fantasia at San Francisco Symphony.” Huffington Post, May 29, 2014.
— this piece ran on Huffington Post San Francisco

Our Ramona at Our Silent Film Festival.” Huffington Post, May 27, 2014.

He Who Gets Slapped.” Ebertfest (16th Annual Roger Ebert Film Festival), April 2014.
— reprint of an earlier essay

Singin’ in the Rain at SF Symphony.” Huffington Post, December 1, 2013.
— this piece ran in Huffington Post San Francisco

Music to Murder By: San Francisco Symphony Screens Hitchcock.” Huffington Post, October 29, 2013.
— this piece ran on Huffington Post San Francisco

Lost Movie by First Film Superstar Found.” Huffington Post, October 3, 2013.

“Tears of a Clown.” Telluride Film Festival, 2013.
— essay in festival program; this piece was reprinted on August 29, 2013 in The Watch, a Telluride, Colorado alternative newspaper

Last Edition screens again at SF Silent Film Fest.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, July 19, 2013.

The Patsy.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival, 2013.
— program essay in festival booklet

Alma Rubens: A Marked Woman.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival, 2013.
— feature in festival booklet

Rare Alfred Hitchcock Films Debut in San Francisco.” Huffington Post, June 11, 2013.

Mary Pickford event at Rafael Film Center.” San Rafael Patch, January 30, 2013.

Q & A with Christel Schmidt, editor of Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, January 29, 2013.

Marguerite Clark: America’s Darling of Broadway and the Silent Screen.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, January 10, 2013.

Salomy Jane: Once Lost Silent Film Returns to Marin.” San Rafael Patch, September 25, 2012.

Once Lost Film Returns to Bay Area.” Huffington Post, September 19, 2012.
— cited in Jeremy Geltzer’s Film Censorship in America: A State-by-State History (McFarland, 2017)

Silent film star recalls 1924 Democratic Convention.” Open Salon, September 5, 2012.
— a Salon editor’s pick, and one of the most viewed pieces on Salon that day; the text of the piece has been archived here


A Hollywood Fairy Tale Gone Wrong.” Huffington Post, September 4, 2012.

Peter Pan shows in Vacaville.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, August 11, 2012.

Wings.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Summer 2012.
— program essay in festival booklet

Actor Paul McGann Talks about Silent Film.” San Francisco Chronicle, July 11, 2012.
— the eighth Doctor Who

Film historian Jeffrey Vance talks about Douglas Fairbanks.” San Francisco Chronicle, July 8, 2012.
— footnoted in a book found here, and reprinted on the website of the Douglas Fairbanks Museum

Could WINGS have been a 3-D film?” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, June 11, 2012.
— see also related posts on June 13th “Newspaper advertisements for WINGS,” June 14th “WINGS See it at popular prices“, and June 17th “WINGS with sensational sound effects

Laurel y Hardy en Español.” San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 2012.

Robert Flaherty’s Man of Aran screens in Niles.” San Francisco Chronicle, April 27, 2012.

Buster Keaton gets a beat courtesy of the tUnE-yArDs.” San Francisco Chronicle, April 22, 2012.

In cinematic form, Napoleon conquers all.” San Francisco Chronicle, March 26, 2012.

Napoleon – “greatest film ever made” screens in Oakland.” San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 2012.

Historic Bay Area Film to Screen in Niles.” Union City Patch, February 23, 2012.

Dizzy Heights: Silent Cinema and Life in the Air.” Berkeley Patch, February 20, 2012.

More than 10 reasons not to miss Napoleon.” San Francisco Chronicle, February 16, 2012.

Napoleon: A Lost Masterpiece Returns.” Huffington Post, February 13, 2012.

Dashiell Hammett at Film Noir Festival.” Huffington Post, January 25, 2012.
— this piece got a shout-out on author Don Herron’s website 

Historic San Francisco film emerges after 95 years.” San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2012.

Howard Hawks Retrospective in Berkeley.” Huffington Post, January 11, 2012.

Georges Méliès, Inspiration for Scorcese’s Hugo, At Niles.” San Leandro Patch, January 7, 2012.

Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush is cinematic masterpiece.” San Francisco Chronicle, December 23, 2011.

Oscar-Winner Kevin Brownlow Continues His Labour on Behalf of Cinema.” Huffington Post, December 2, 2011.

Theaters of the San Francisco Peninsula.” San Francisco Chronicle, November 17, 2011.

Spencer Tracy biographer talks about his new book.” San Francisco Chronicle, November 14, 2011.

Susan Orlean talks Rin Tin Tin.” San Francisco Chronicle, October 26, 2011.

“Theda Bara – the first movie vamp.” examiner.com, October 19, 2011.

Director John Huston – the story of a story-teller revealed in new book.” San Francisco Chronicle, September 28, 2011.

“Once banned film resurfaces 90 years after scandal.” Open Salon, August 25, 2011.
— a Salon editor’s pick

John Bengtson, archeologist of early cinema.” San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 2011.

Walt Disney’s silent inspirations.” San Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 2011.

“The return of Baby Peggy, the last silent film star.” Open Salon, August 4, 2011.

He Who Gets Slapped.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Summer 2011.
— program essay in festival booklet

He Who Gets Slapped.” San Francisco Chronicle, July 4, 2011.

Reading the stars: books from old Hollywood.” San Francisco Chronicle, June 27, 2011.

“Marc Ribot accompanies Chaplin’s The Kid.” examiner.com, March 14, 2011. 

“Sherlock Holmes vs Herlock Sholmes” examiner.com, December 24, 2010.

Italian Straw Hat to screen in Sacramento with Orchestra.” examiner.com, December 13, 2010.

Two New Releases Show Genius of Charlie Chaplin.” Huffington Post, November 24, 2010.

“Vernon Dent shines with new book, screenings in Niles in November.” examiner.com, November 4, 2010.

Valley of the Giants.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, October 26, 2010.

“Early Warner Bros. Studios.” examiner.com, October 12, 2010.
— book review

“Kevin Brownlow talks about archives and Louise Brooks.” examiner.com, September 29, 2010.

The Remarkable Life of Valeska Gert.”Huffington Post, September 24, 2010.

Six questions with novelist Glen David Gold.” San Francisco Silewnt Film Festival blog, September 15, 2010.

“An encounter with a curious character.” Open Salon, September 14, 2010.
— about F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre; a Salon editor’s pick

Rare Oscar to a Film Historian… and the Award Goes to Kevin Brownlow.” Huffington Post, August 31, 2010.

The Secret Historian and the Silent Film Star: One Was Gay.”Huffington Post, August 31, 2010.
— commented on by New York Times critic Dave Kehr;  referenced on the Smithsonian magazine blog; and footnoted in Joseph A. Boone’s The Homoerotics of Orientalism (Columbia University Press, 2014); this article led the publisher, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux to revise later editions of the book

“First Ever Oscar to a Film Historian Goes to Kevin Brownlow.” examiner.com, August 27, 2010.
— this piece was archived on nitrateville.com

New Chaplin book by Kevin Brownlow.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, August 15, 2010.

G.W. Pabst: A Film Director for All Seasons.”Huffington Post, July 13, 2010.

“George O’Brien – a man’s man in Hollywood.” examiner.com, July 10, 2010.  

“Daisy D’Ora, one-time German actress, dies at age 97.” examiner.com, June 27, 2010.

Remembering H.A.V. Bulleid, Author and Pioneering Film Historian.” Huffington Post, June 14, 2010.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea resurfaces in San Francisco.” examiner.com, May 3, 2010.

“Georges Méliès – Cinemagician of early movies.” examiner.com, April 23, 2010.
 — this DVD review was also archived on nitrateville.com

Starstruck : Vintage Movie Posters from Classic Hollywood.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, April 20, 2010.
— book review

“Exploring the avant-garde, or Weldon Kees where are you?” examiner.com, April 7, 2010.
— DVD reviews

A Century of Cinema (in Sacramento).” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, March 31, 2010.

Anna May Wong.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, March 22, 2010.

“Edison’s Frankenstein – It’s Alive.” examiner.com, March 18, 2010.
— book review

Miss Mend is masterful melodramatic mash-up.” examiner.com, March 16, 2010.
— DVD review

“Silent-era actress Dorothy Janis dies at age 100.” examiner.com, March 12, 2010.

“Mack Sennett’s fun factory.” examiner.com, March 9, 2010.
— book review

The personal touch, with smallpox.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, March 2, 2010.

“Robert Birchard’s universal history.” examiner.com, February 23, 2010.
— profile / book review

“Silent Film Festival to screen restored Metropolis this summer.” examiner.com, February 17, 2010.

“Silent film star Karl Dane revealed in new book.” examiner.com, February 15, 2010.

Kevin Brownlow’s Photoplay Productions now online.” examiner.com, February 10, 2010.
— Six months after I wrote “Someday, Brownlow should be given an honorary Oscar for all that he has done,” he became the first film historian given an Academy Award.

Image magazine, and the GEH.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, February 9, 2010.

“Early Westerns featured in new book.” examiner.com, January 21, 2010.
— review of Western Film Series of the Sound Era by Michael R. Pitts

“Early Frank Capra films featured in Berkeley.” examiner.com, January 14, 2010.

“New book on Edison’s Frankenstein.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, January 11, 2010.

“Screen hero Richard Dix celebrated in Niles.” examiner.com, January 8, 2010.

J’Accuse – masterpiece not to be missed.” examiner.com, December 10, 2009.

Considering Abel Gance.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, December 9, 2009.

When Chang came to town.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, December 3, 2009.
— see also “When Chang came to town, part two

“Stuart Oderman: talking to the piano player.” examiner.com, November 22, 2009.

“Francis X. Bushman – King of the Movies revealed in new book.” examiner.com, November 6, 2009.
— review of King of the Movies: Francis X. Bushman by Lon and Debra Davis

“Celebrating Carla Laemmle and early Universal.” examiner.com, October 28, 2009.

“Sad tale of Oakland comedian told in new book.” examiner.com, October 8, 2009.
— my review of this biography of Lloyd Hamilton was archived on nitrateville.com

“Anna May Wong documentary at film festival.” examiner.com, September 16, 2009.
— this piece, like others, were syndicated aggregated hijacked by World News network

“Six silent film stars in need of a biography.” examiner.com, September 6, 2009.
— this piece was archived on nitrateville.com

“Silent films show in Berkeley.” examiner.com, August 15, 2009.
— about The Salvation Hunters (1925)

Bardeleys the Magnificent is that.” examiner.com, August 11, 2009.

Black Pirate screens in San Jose with Dennis James on organ.” examiner.com, August 6, 2009.

“From silents to sound – book details tipping point in Hollywood history.” examiner.com, June 16, 2009.
— review of Silents to Sound: A Biographical Encyclopedia of Performers Who Made the Transition to Talking Pictures, by Roy Liebman

“Reviving the art of silent film, one note at a time.” examiner.com, May 25, 2009.
— interview with musician Dennis James

“The Silent Cinema in Song.” examiner.com, May 19, 2009.
— book review of The Silent Cinema in Song, 1896 – 1929, by Ken Wlaschin

“Chaplin biographer to speak in San Francisco.” examiner.com, May 8, 2009.

“Emil Petaja.” Classic Images, October 2000.
— obituary of the noted writer & film collector

 “A Window into Old Hollywood: Three Biographies.” Booksense.com, August, 2000.
book reviews

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Prix de beauté (1930) Louise Brooks pays the price of beauty

Be sure and check out Pamela Hutchinson's outstanding new piece on the Silent London blog, "Prix de beauté (1930): Louise Brooks pays the price of beauty". It is an insightful look at a too little regarded film, a minor masterpiece if ever there was one and a historically important film deserving greater recognition. And if ever the silent and sound versions of Prix de beauté are released on a DVD in the English speaking world, these could be the linear notes. (Hint hint Kino Lorber, Criterion, Milestone, Masterpieces of Cinema, Flicker Alley, etc...)

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Louise Brooks Society

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Louise Brooks Society. The actress wasn't Irish, but her films certainly showed in Ireland. To mark the day, here are a few vintage bits and pieces from my forthcoming two volume work, Around the World with Louise Brooks. To start, here is an early magazine portrait.

Brooks' first film, The Street of Forgotten Men, was one of her biggest successes in Ireland. The film's director, Herbert Brenon, was Irish-born, and the film was well received in his country of birth. In fact, it was given the honor of being shown in Dublin’s La Scala theatre (later renamed the Capitol), the largest cinema house in the country. Here is the newspaper listing from the time.

Another popular success in Ireland was Beggars of Life. It showed in Dublin at the Capitol, as part of a double bill with a Pola Negri film, The Woman from Moscow. Both were Paramount films, and both were released as silent films with a musical score and sound effects. (Incidentally, the film showing at the Grand Central starred the English-born actor Percy Marmont, who was the star of The Street of Forgotten Men.)


Adding to the attraction of Beggars of Life was the fact that the author of the book on which it was based, Jim Tully, was Irish-American. Tully was well known not only in the United States, but also in Europe, with the press noting his comings and goings, as shown in the 1928 Irish newspaper clipping depicted below. Memorably, Tully even also crossed paths with two of the great Irish writers of his time, George Bernard Shaw and James Joyce.

And not only did the reputation of Jim Tully attract Irish movie goers to Beggars of Life, so did, perhaps, the films memorable theme song, which was available in Irish shops on a 78 rpm recording. Here is a newspaper advertisement listing the recording by The Troubadours, who helped make the song a hit in the United States.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Louise Brooks depicted in a 1930 Japanese magazine

I wonder if anyone can tell me something more about this four page article. It appeared in a Japanese magazine devoted to proletariat issues in 1930. Is it about Louise Brooks, who is pictured, or is it, more likely, about left-leaning director G. W. Pabst? Is the piece complete? I think so, but am not sure. Any and all help would be appreciated. Double-click on a page to make it bigger.

 
Lately, I have been working on a chapter in my forthcoming book, Around the World with Louise Brooks, which is titled "Louise Brooks as modan gāru." Brooks was popular in Japan in the late 1920s. In fact, as I reveal in the book, Japan was the only country outside of Europe were Brooks three European films were shown around the time of their release!

Friday, March 5, 2021

#WorldBookDay2021 the Louise Brooks biography by Barry Paris

Today is World Book Day. #WorldBookDay2021 And so, I thought I would post something about my favorite book, which it turns out, is the reason why I started this blog ever so long ago. But first a short something about books in my early life....

When I was a teenager, I had a couple of jobs. I went to a private high school, and payed my own tuition. I also saved up for college. With my extra spending money I bought books, usually one a week, at the local B. Dalton, which was located in a nearby shopping mall named Eastland. I grew-up in Harper Woods, an uneventful suburb of Detroit, and besides the local public library -- which I rode my bicycle to on a regular basis -- the local B. Dalton comprised my entry into the world of books. I liked to read books, and I liked to browse books. I was a nerdy kid. Books, and the worlds they represented, were what I had going on.

Three of the books which had the biggest impact on my life I came across as a teenager. They are Walden, by Henry David Thoreau; the Collected Stories of Franz Kafka; and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I can't remember exactly how I came across the first two. Like most teens, I was idealistic, and that's what likely led me to Thoreau and his literary philosophy. I also used to tune into radio documentaries broadcast on the CBC out of Canada, which was just across the Detroit river. That's likely how I first heard about Kafka, a strange and awkward fellow who no doubt appealed to the awkwardness I felt as a young person. I also recall, quite vividly, having seen Truffaut's terrific film of Fahrenheit 451 broadcast on Canadian television, channel 9 out of Windsor. It made a big impression, and that's what led me to read Bradbury's great novel. I still have those same books I bought ever so long ago. They remain favorites.

My interest in Thoreau led me to another book which I still own and which also made a big impact on my life. That book was a biography, The Days of Henry David Thoreau, by Walter Harding. I recall reading it and when I came to the end of the book and the end of Thoreau's life, I cried. Perhaps I shouldn't admit it, as it may make me look foolish -- a teenage boy crying in his basement at the death of someone from long ago. Of course, intellectually, I knew Thoreau was dead. He died in 1862, more than 100 years before I was born. But emotionally, while reading Harding's beautifully told story of one man's life, I became so involved in Thoreau that I thought it was unfair that he was taken from the world.

Walter Harding was a great Thoreau scholar, and the author or editor of a shelf-full of books on the solitary transcendentalist. Not only did his The Days of Henry David Thoreau have a big impact on me, it also got me hooked on biographies. Some people enjoy reading fiction, or poetry, or true crime books, or history or sci-fi. As a genre, I really like biographies. A great biography -- an empathetic biography well told, can put you into the shoes of another and in some small way let you experience another time and place. Harding's book did that for me as a teen, and it lead to a longstanding interest in 19th century New England and the writers of the American Renaissance. One of the highlights of my life was a trip to Concord, Massachusetts where I visited Walden Pond, the Alcott House, Emerson's house, Hawthorne's house, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, etc.... 

There have been other biographies which I have greatly enjoyed, like Neil Baldwin's Man Ray: American Artist and Mark Polizzotti's Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton. Each tie-into my love of surrealism. But none after the Harding biography of Thoreau have had as large an impact on  my life as has Barry Paris' biography of Louise Brooks. I first read Paris' book in the early 1990s, a few years after it was published and not long after I had first watched a rented VHS of Pandora's Box. I had to find out more about more about the actress who played Lulu! Paris' book was not so much the answer to my many questions, but the perfect book at just the right time in my life. It started me on a quest to explore all I can about Brooks and her life and times, which of course has led me toward even more areas of interests -- from silent film and the Jazz Age to Denishawn and the culture of Weimar Germany. 

I have written and blogged about the Barry Paris biography in the past. And as I have said in the past, the Barry Paris biography of Louise Brooks is the best biography I have ever read and the best biography I will ever read. The San Francisco Chronicle used to run a small feature called "What's Your Most Treasured?" They recruited local personalities (like Isabel Allende, the celebrated novelist, or Craig Newmark, the founder of Craig's list, or Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the late poet) to pen a few words about books that mattered to the contributor. In 2011, they asked me to contribute a piece. I wrote about the Barry Paris biography, a book I had first read nearly twenty years earlier.


I am not the only one who appreciates this book. It was widely and well reviewed when it was first published in 1989. And not just in film journals, but also in the mainstream press like the New York Times. And not just by film critics, but also by literary writers like the novelist Angela Carter and the sci-fi writer Fritz Leiber Jr. The Paris book enjoyed good sales, and went into paperback and sold steadily for a few years until it eventually went out of print in the late 1990s.

I launched the Louise Brooks Society and its website in 1995, and would occasionally hear from fans wanting to know were they could purchase the biography of Brooks. More than once, but trying not to be a nuisance, I wrote to Random House and Barry Paris' editor urging them to bring the book back into print, but to no avail. I believed in this book, but I was just one voice. It was early on in the development of the internet, and petition drives were the thing. I figured I would try my hand at a bit of cultural activism, and launched an online petition drive through the Louise Brooks Society to bring the Barry Paris biography back into print. And it worked!


Sometime in 1999 or 2000, the rights to both the Barry Paris biography and Brooks' own Lulu in Hollywood (which had also fallen out of print) were sold to the University of Minnesota Press and their burgeoning series of books on the movies. And both were brought back into print in shiny new editions! And what's more, I and the Louise Brooks Society were acknowledged in each of the new editions. I was proud. I was pleased for Brooks' many fans and many new fans. And I felt I had done some good about something I cared about.

At the time, I was working in a San Francisco bookshop where I arranged and hosted the store's many author events. As a thank you and an acknowledgement for my efforts, the University of Minnesota Press agreed to send Barry Paris from his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to San Francisco for a special author event. This was very unusual, as his book was an older title and from a relatively small university press. Such expense, and what profit could there be? But I made it work. The store drew a good size crowd (I recall a couple came all the way from Los Angeles) and we sold lots of books, at least 100 signed copies went out the door or were mailed off to fans around the country. Incidentally, I had been in touch with the press since then, and was told in the years following their re-release of the books that each of these two titles was among the press' best backlist selling books. And they are still in print today.

I had met Barry Paris once before, in 1998. It was a thrill and a pleasure and an honor. He is a good guy, and I was pleased to meet one of my heroes. Then, he signed a copy of my hardback first edition of his biography, inscribing it to me and my wife as the "Tsar and Tsarina of the Louise Brooks Society." However, it was at that later event in 2000 that he so graciously signed my original softcover reading copy of his book - the biography that has and still does mean so much to me that I have spent 25 years learning all that I can about my favorite silent film star. In my book Barry wrote "For Thomas - who resurrected me & LB the way Tynan did in the New Yorker." I almost cried.


I love books. All kinds of books. They have had a big influence on my life, and in fact, it was the Barry Paris biography that brought my wife and I together. But then, that is a story for another day. . . .

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