Friday, June 23, 2017

Brooklyn Dodgers and the Fox Film Corporation

Two new books crossed my desk in the past two weeks, delivered by the friendly neighborhood postman and the authors of these magnificent tomes. Merrill T. McCord, the former editor of the Journal of Medical Education and author of numerous academic books, frequents the good old days of Hollywood movie making with articles that have appeared in Films of the Golden Age and Classic Images. His recent book, a massive hard cover totaling more than 670 pages, documents the history of the Fox Film Corporation during the silent movie-making era. William Fox and the Fox Film Corporation: A Biography and a Chronicle stands alone as the only book you will ever want to have regarding the silent era of the Fox Film Corporation. A pleasant read, indeed. 

To accomplish this task, along with documenting the first 378 films produced at Fox from 1914 to 1925, Merrill visited every film archive across the country to screen the silent classics, take notes and make sure the cast and production crew were documented extensively -- and accurately. Since only about 30 percent of silent features and presumably similar proportions of silent shorts, serials and newsreels have survived in some form, researchers studying the era of silent films and the people involved in making them have to rely substantially on information in film trade publications of that period and in whatever old studio documents that can be accessed. Merrill had to decipher the difference between studio publicity hype and the real deal.

There is a fantastic 220 page history of the Fox Film Corporation, the actors under contract, the budgets, props, staged Movietones, John Ford and many other aspects that branded the studio from the competition. Series features, movie theaters, schemes and confrontations... it is all here. I could go on for numerous pages about how fantastic this book is but I will save you the trouble and just say that every movie buff should have a copy of this book.

William Fox and the Fox Film Corporation (2016) by Merrill T. McCord was published by Alhambra Publishers, 10208 Fleming Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. Drop them a line and inquire about purchasing a copy today.

David Krell, a freelance journalist, author and attorney, a member of SABRA and the bar in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, has established a reputation for his book about America's favorite pastime. Our Bums: The Brooklyn Dodgers in History, Memory and Popular Culture (2015), was published through McFarland Publishing. The story of the Brooklyn Dodgers includes personal stories from fans who embraced Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Carl Erskine, Roy Campanella and other icons of Ebbets Field. Drawing on archival documents, contemporary press accounts and fan interviews, David chronicled the glory and demise of the team that changed baseball and America. The historical retrospective is broken down in nine chapters, referred to as innings, with statistics, comparison of the real life playbook to Hollywood movies, radio and television broadcasts, and much more.

The bibliography is a wealth of information for any fan of baseball history -- books and references that I myself have never heard of. "To be a Brooklyn Dodgers fan in the 1950s was to experience magic," David remarked in chapter one. He demonstrates this with more than 200 pages of fantastic prose. If you love the history of baseball, you will enjoy reading this book.


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Both Merrill and David will be guest speakers at this year's Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, September 14 to 16, 2017. For more information visit: www.MidAtlanticNostalgiaConvention.com

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