Movie Crazy by Samantha Barbas
Fans, Stars, and the Cult of Celebrity

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Cecil B. DeMille, David Selznick, Louella Parsons, Joan Crawford--these legendary men and women built an empire called Hollywood. In Movie Crazy, meet another group of powerful players who shaped the film industry--the fans. MGM, for example, struggled to find a screen name for an actress named Lucille LeSeur. A fan--one of thousands who responded to a contest sponsored by the studio--called her Joan Crawford. Using fan club journals, fan letters, and studio production records, Samantha Barbas reveals how the passion, enthusiasm, and sometimes possessive advocacy of fans transformed early cinema, the modern mass media, and American popular culture. Barbas sheds new light on the development of the cult of celebrity in America, and demonstrates that while fans were avid consumers of the film industry, they did not mindlessly accept the images presented to them by the studios. Fans reacted to movies and stars with excitement, anger, confusion, joy, or boredom. Far from a united force, fans were often complex, and never predictable.

About Samantha Barbas

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Samantha Barbas, a specialist in American cultural studies, currently teaches in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Arizona State University.
Published November 17, 2001 by Palgrave Macmillan. 224 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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