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HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 17th, 2017, 11:18 pm

Steve, that is such a wonderful story about the Roosevelt dime, and I hadn't realized that Eddie Cantor had been credited with the term "March of Dimes."

A composite cover would have been nice, too, because you've had so many images to choose from, but Annette lends a frolicsome kind of wholesomeness that illustrates the overarching theme of playfulness, so I can see why the publishers might have chosen that photo.

Do you have any comments about the differences between the way studios promote films now juxtaposed with previous decades?
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Stephen X. Sylvester » June 18th, 2017, 1:02 am

The promotion of movies, like everything, is constantly changing.

The enemy of the movies(TV) became the best way to promote a new release.

Movie going is now so different from the period presented in Hollywood at Play.

For decades, 60% of the US population went to the movies every week.

Now, it is less than 7%.

The audience is so fragmented.

The most effective way to promote almost anything now is through social media.

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby MaryoftheMovies » June 18th, 2017, 1:34 am

Another great question. As Steve says, time changes and people have to change with it. In classic era Hollywood, studios released anywhere from 30-50 or more movies a year, virtually a movie a week. They developed their almost assembly belt line system to roll each one out, spending extra time and money on big budget extravaganzas. From the 1920s-1940s, newspapers and magazines were the main form of advertising/publicity, since virtually everyone read a newspaper. Trailers were created as well, which slowly grew in popularity. By the 1950s, TV did indeed take over, and newspapers began their slow decline. Where they had once targeted audiences with certain ads in specific magazines, they now targeted them with TV spots during specific shows, reaching more people at one time than a newspaper could over time. Writing and photographs which had once been more laudatory and positive slowly gave way to more hype and sarcasm as the country grew darker and the studios declined. Time and attention spent on publicity photos declined as well as the focus moved to TV. When the internet and computers took off, studios began devising websites and materials strictly for online use and reducing even more coop advertising in newspapers and targeting ever more specific audiences on cable TV. Most companies/studios today focus on TV and the internet and other social media, trying to build word of mouth and publicity through shares and mentions to ever more fragmented targets. They focus even more on social media/internet as more and more people consume entertainment that way by downloading or streaming rather than going to a theatre. And of course social media is cheaper than trailers, TV spots, and advertising.

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 18th, 2017, 8:36 am

Mary and Steve, I am enjoying all your fascinating comments and insights. I am also curious about what you believe is the enduring appeal of classic film and classic film images. Why do you think this particular time of the classic film era is still so popular?
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Stephen X. Sylvester » June 18th, 2017, 11:03 am

I think that the photos and films from Classic Hollywood represent a period in our society when we aimed for the stars and not for the gutter.

The world has always been an ugly place in so many ways.

However, this period in Hollywood focused (for the most part) on the good and decent and ignored the bad.

It was an momentary escape from harsh reality.

I argue that this approach had a net positive effect for society.

These images make us smile and the films of the period delivered a happy ending.

And they still evoke a sense of "comfort" in a world that seems to be constantly spiraling out of control.

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Lzcutter » June 18th, 2017, 12:42 pm

Good morning, Mary and Steve!!

I was out running errands first thing this morning before the heat set in but would love to know when the trend away from this photography began and why?

Thanks again for being here and providing such in-depth answers!
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby MaryoftheMovies » June 18th, 2017, 1:39 pm

Lynn, thanks for the question. As the Hollywood Studio system began declining in the 1950s, so did the style and use of these photos. As the studios shrank, they laid off employees, so that meant less people could only do so much work. The rise of TV and a more cynical tone also led to the slow demise of these creative and happy photos. Photography began changing as well as photographers like Irving Penn, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and others started going for a more realistic, candid look, so the studios had to change as well. By the 1960s, the studios had tiny photograph departments compared to the heyday of the 1960s, and people really didn't seem to care any more, because TV, specialized magazines, and even trailers took care of most of the advertising/publicity by then, or stars hired their own special photographers like Grace Kelly with Howell Conant and Marilyn Monroe with Andre de Diene, Phil Stern, and the like. After the Vietnam War, things like this practically died away, and it was magazines doing their own special shoots or stars commissioning someone to shoot stills of them anyway.

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Lzcutter » June 18th, 2017, 2:50 pm

Mary,

Thanks so much!

What is your favorite decade for this type of photography?

And why do you think people today are gravitating towards your books on the subject and others like them?
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby moira finnie » June 18th, 2017, 4:33 pm

Thanks for coming back for another day, Steve & Mary.

Does it seem as though certain stars or starlets were in an impossibly large number of stills in the studio era? Sometimes I think that actress Jean Parker must have spent most of her days being photographed swimming, skiing, communing with nature, shooting or petting animals--but I suspect you guys have your own, better-informed opinions about who was "most photographed" at play. I'd love to read of your choices in this department.

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby MaryoftheMovies » June 18th, 2017, 7:03 pm

Here's a two part answer.

To Lynn, my favorite decades are the 1920s-1930s, to me they are the most glamorous and when more of the more iconic images were shot. The photographers would sometimes work for hours on art dressing and lighting in order to create the gorgeous images transporting us into the world of glamour and beauty that transformed actors into gods and goddesses. It was these images that shaped our image of an out of this world, flamboyant, beautiful Hollywood filled with mythic figures. I think people are gravitating to these type of photo books looking for a bit of glamour, exoticism, and beauty, after seeing and having to deal with all the hate, mean-spirited, and ugly things going on in the world today. These images hearken back to a time when stories seemed to work out for our heroes and heroines, evil doers were punished, and peace reigned at least for a time on screen.

Hi Moira, yes, there are certain stars that seemed to love to pose for the camera. Joan Crawford never seemed to meet a camera that she hated, posing for any type of still any time of day, making sure people knew her name and face and always being kind to her fans. When I worked at the Herrick, we came to notice that files for unknowns or basically one hit wonders were huge, because they had plenty of time to pose for stills, while those for superstars were sometimes sparse because they often hated the idea of posing in goofy attire for sometimes silly images. Many had written into their contracts after they became famous that they would not have to pose for just any type of still, just portraits and more glamorous types. Many actresses had been models before moving into movies and others loved posing for the camera, such as Marlene Dietrich, Shirley Temple, Ann Miller, and the like.

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 18th, 2017, 8:10 pm

Thank you so much, Mary and Steve, for this entertaining and informative visit about your new book, Hollywood At Play.
Please feel free to visit any time!

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Hollywood At Play can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXG3N26/re ... TF8&btkr=1
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