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Ann Kathleen Otto


Literary Day at the Museum

I returned to the Hollywood Heritage Museum this month. My family has been to Los Angeles many times, and we always visit Hollywood. This time, we stayed in the heart of it.

Sixteen other authors and I were invited to the Fifth Annual book signing event at the Museum. Yours in a Hurry was the only historical fiction work this year, and it follows my ancestors, including Hollywood founder, Daeida Wilcox Beveridge. Many of these authors have spent much of their career researching specific topics—films, stars, studios, Hollywood stories. Here are a few. You can find their work and bios online, and I hope you'll do that. Their personal histories, like those they write about, are impressive and engrossing.

Mollie Gregory

Mollie (seated left in photo right) was my table partner. She's had an interesting life, and she met 65 other women with interesting lives when she interviewed them about their careers as stuntwomen. By sharing their own stories and stories about those who went before them, Mollie was able to document women from the beginning of film history in Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story. I just received my copy of another of her books, Women Who Run the Show: How a Brilliant and Creative New Generation of Women Stormed Hollywood, about how women in the film industry rose to leading roles from 1970 to the 2000s.


Lois Banner

Lois is an academician who writes about famous women, with more than one book about Marilyn Munroe. Her latest is Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox. She's written Women in Modern America and biographies about Margaret Mead and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Marc Wanamaker

Marc is an expert and consultant in film history who has worked in many facets of film production, exhibition, and research for several decades. Possibly the most prolific of the authors present, Marc writes about everything from the early studios to Southern California history, often through the Images of America Series. He also collaborates with others, such as Erika Thomas. They spoke about their new collaboration, Max Factor and Hollywood: A Glamorous History. Marc's company, Bison Archives holds an extensive and unique photo archive, used by film professionals, authors, and others.

Charles Epting

Charles is one of the younger generation who is passionate about the early film industry. He has written extensively, and just started the Silent Film Quarterly. His latest book is  Bebe Daniels: Hollywood's Good Little Bad Girl. I'd heard of this popular and multi-talented silent film star, but didn't know about her life after "talkies" when she went to England, married, and became a radio and TV personality with her husband.

Tim Nolan

Tim has written several books, and I had to buy his latest, Artie Shaw King of the Clarinet: His Life and Times. Watching the elderly Shaw talk about his life and describe the early 20th century music business was a highlight of Ken Burn's 2001  PBS Jazz series.

Robert Bader

My spouse is a fan of the old comedy teams, and he had to have Robert's new book Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage. Robert decided to chronicle the brothers before film stardom, when they were vaudeville sensations.

After the presentations, other authors mentioned that they liked the way the Yours in a Hurry Hollywood story connected the city's people and events to the broader culture of the 1910s. Mission accomplished!

 The Hollywood Heritage Museum and early Hollywood is the subject of an earlier post by Richard Adkins, Museum Collections Manager.  Another related post by Yvonne Montoya is about the growth of movie theaters in Hollywood.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful holiday season!

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