During Hollywood’s “classic era,” from the 1920s to 1950s, roughly twenty major fan magazines were offered each month at American newsstands and abroad. These publications famously fed fan obsessions with celebrities such as Mae West and Elvis Presley. Film studies scholars often regard these magazines with suspicion; perhaps due to their reputation for purveying scandal and gossip, their frequent mingling of gushing tone, and blatant falsehood.
Looking at these magazines with fresh regarding eyes and treating them as primary sources, the contributors of this collection provide unique insights into contemporary assumptions about the relationship between fan and star, performer and viewer. In doing so, they reveal the magazines to be a huge and largely untapped resource on a wealth of subjects, including gender roles, appearance and behavior, and national identity.
“This is a vitally important subject that connects cinema history to stardom, audience reception, and fandom studies. It makes a great teaching volume and delightful reading for a popular audience interested in star history and fan history. I heartily endorse this collection, and look forward to more!”—Kathy Fuller-Seeley, author, Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy
“In this remarkable anthology, the history and influence of fan magazines come alive, with superb essays by such luminaries as Lucy Fischer, Geneviève Sellier, Sarah Polley, and many others, offering a comprehensive and incisive overview of the ways in which these magazines drive, and often shape, public cultural discourse on an international scale. Essential reading.”—Wheeler Winston Dixon, author, A Short History of Film
"McDonald and Lanckman see the importance of the early fan magazine in connection with film studies as a major source of information, offering tremendous amounts of data, information on contemporary tastes and not to be neglected historical documents shaping popular culture. . . . Star Attractions is an intriguing addition for students and fans of early cinema, fandom culture, media statistics and social aspects of film promotions."—popcultureshelf.com
Emily Chow-Kambitsch, Alissa Clarke, Jonathan Driskell, Lucy Fischer, Ann-Marie Fleming, Oana-Maria Mazilu, Adrienne L. McLean, Sarah Polley, Geneviève Sellier, Michael Williams