Tuesday, June 28, 2011

All Movie Guide (now, apparently, Rovi!?)

I was an associate editor with the former All Movie Guide 1998-2003, a salaried position that in the end end resulted in more than 3000 essays on everything classic and not so "classic" movie lore. A lot of silent screen stuff and plenty of B-Westerns. Between Hal Erickson and myself, we pretty much covered the whole range in those heady years at AMG. Although I'm thoroughly retired I still receive hundreds of e-mails regarding many of the personalities I covered. I don't know how to put this delicately, but I am not keeping anything from you. In other words, please don't waste your time enquiring abut your mother's great uncle Jeb, who appeared in a Jack Hoxie movie back in 1923. Whatever I wrote about Uncle Jeb, that was it. That was what I had been able to unearth. Granted, I didn't go to the end of the world uncovering this material, i.e. did on site research at the Margaret Herrick Library, UCLA or Lincoln Center. What we editors were asked to do was to write brief articles, encyclopedic-style, of literally thousands of performers and behind the scenes talent. Often, I don't even recognize the name of the person some relative is searching for; after all, I wrote at a furious pace. And I really didn't keep any notes. I sold my stuff to AMG and that, as they say, was that. As I stated before, I'm now very much retired. To a thatched roof cottage on the edge of the marshland in Southern Jylland, Denmark. 5km, in fact, from the German border. I have a minor heart problem, which sometimes makes concentration a bit of a chore (the medicine, will do that to you) but, who cares? I have all the time in the world. So I thought I would get back into the swing of things, so to speak, at my own, leisurely pace. I don't plan to publish any more books. Don't have the patience and they really aren't worth the trouble, economically. Recently, I came across a wonderful (and highly recommended) blog about bit players and movie extras,
This blog is so well written -- in fact, much better writing here than you come across even from major publishers -- that it gave me the idea for this one. So blame the guy behind "Unsung Joe" for "suggesting" this blog!

1 comment:

  1. Your blog on William Fairbanks. He did not steel Douglas Fairbanks' name. This was not his idea. And Douglas' last name is spelled Ullman NOT Ulman. And my review of materials says Douglas' career ended at the same time. Guess they both had a problem with speech, accents or whatever. Douglas was lucky he was born into money. And he took his stepbrother's last name who I read was in the movies as well -- before Douglas -- so why is it okay for him and not someone who may also be related. Fairbanks wasn't his birthname either. And when Douglas said he didn't remember him, he was just lieing just like he did in his memoirs by chaning the spelling from Ullman to Ulman. It was NOT "close enough" to Ullman as you say, it was exactly the same. Douglas lied in spelling it as Ulman. But guess it's okay for him to lie since he came from money.