If you've been wondering how the Academy Awards came to be known more popularly as "Oscar" and you think that the answer simply has to be bathed in an endless amount of "Hollywood Glamour", involving a boat-load beautifully tailored, charming and overly talented matinee idols, you'd better hit the 'ol back browser button now.
With the unemployment level at an all-time high, many Americans heard that there were jobs to be had in Hollywood as movie extras; jobs that require one to simply walk back and forth, pantomime at a dinner table and wear nice costumes. With few other options available to them, thousands of people headed West only to find that there was very little work, sub-standard housing and too many sharks wishing to take advantage of them. This article tells their story and explains how FDR's National Recovery Administration took it upon themselves to decide who could pursue this work and who could not.
A tongue-in-cheek magazine article from 1938 about The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and their annual gala devoted to over-confidence, The Oscars. Written eleven years after the very first Academy Award ceremony, and published in a magazine that catered to New York theater lovers, the article was penned by an unidentified correspondent who was not very impressed by the whole affair but managed to present a thorough history of the award nonetheless.
Director Frank Capra was awarded his third trophy at the 1938 Oscars...
The editors of STAGE MAGAZINE were dumbfounded when they considered that just ten years after audiences got an earful from the first sound movies, the most consistent characteristic to have been maintained throughout that decade was the box-office dominance of American movie stars, directors and writers. After naming the most prominent of 1930s U.S. movie stars the author declares with certainty that this could not have been an accident.
Child movie star Shirley Temple (1928 - 2014) was by no means at her box-office peak when this article was penned (her most popular period would span the years 1936 through 1938), but the institution that she had become by 1935 had already built many second homes and an assorted number of mansions for more than a few well-placed studio executives and mogul types. When the news hit the palmy, sun-soaked boulevards of Hollywood that she had lost her first baby tooth, there was panic!
"That the end now shows unmistakable signs of beginning. That first baby tooth fell to the studio floor with a crash heard 'round the world....Yet, even as as the nabobs of Fox stood about applauding and cooing, the cold hand of fear must have gripped their kindly hearts."
Click here to read a 1939 profile of Shirley Temple.
Hired to write dialogue for the king makers at Twentieth Century Fox, cartoonist Rube Goldberg (1890 - 1970) jotted down his impressions of 1930s Hollywood.
"The chief mogul did all the ordering and I must say that he knew food. The lavish way in which he ordered bore out some of the glittering tales I had read about the grandeur of the movies. I think I ate six helpings of caviar and four tenderloin steaks. I wanted to make them believe I was no slouch myself."
If you would like to read a Rube Goldberg interview from 1914, click here.