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Hollywood History Books

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Oscar season

Book Buzz is a blog produced in collaboration with neighborhood librarians from Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library.

Oscar. The name can invoke a designer, a Muppet, a bologna (now I will be singing that song for the rest of the evening) or the Academy Awards. The Academy Awards, a glamourous event honoring cinematic achievements, will be presented at the end of this month and causes as much excitement to cinema buffs as the Super Bowl does for football fans. Fashion, food and the unexpected in awards and speeches allows us to follow movie royalty as they celebrate that evening.

I have fond memories of summer nights with my family at the drive-in movies. Drive-in movies were a way that families could enjoy a movie economically – one charge for a car full of people. You parked next to a pole that held a speaker box that you would hang on the inside of your car’s window to hear the movie. And the best thing about drive-ins, you could comfortably fall asleep in the back seat of the car if the movie did not hold your attention.

My only contact with movie royalty was related to my work as a librarian and one I will never forget. As co-chair of the Local Arrangements Committee one year for our state library conference, I had the pleasure of meeting and having lunch with Julie Andrews, one of the speakers for the conference as well as an author. Always gracious in spite of awe-struck librarians surrounding her, she will always reign in my mind the epitome of movie royalty.

The golden age of Hollywood produced a royalty whose names are recognized long after their career came to an end. Each generation has its movie stars and I invite you to explore some of these stars and the history of Hollywood in preparation of the big night later this month.

  • MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot by Steven Bingen, Stephen X. Sylvester and Michael Troyan.
  • Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History by Manny Pacheco
  • You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again by Julia Phillips
  • My Autobiography by Charles Chaplin
  • Marlene Dietrich by Maria Riva
  • By Myself by Lauren Bacall
  • My Wicked, Wicked Ways by Errol Flynn

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