The founders of the now world-famous Academy were a motley crew of individuals. Despite their differences, when they first converged in Hollywood, then just a small town with dirt roads, sparks flew and fueled a common dream: bring artistic validity to the new artistic medium that they so carefully shaped.
Today, movies are so ingrained in our culture it is hard to imagine a time when former cowpokes, gold prospectors, vaudevillians and even junk dealers made up the rules as they went along. Throughout Prohibition, several recessions and two world wars, the business of filmmaking was rife with murders, drug scandals, illicit affairs and struggles with censorship. Something had to be done. And so on January 11, 1927, thirty-six members of Hollywood's elite came together at the behest of MGM chief Louis B. Mayer. From flamboyant director Cecil B. DeMille and "America's Sweetheart" Mary Pickford, to Harry M. Warner, who once owned a bicycle shop, and Raoul Walsh, who claimed he had once worked as an amateur anesthesiologist-each guest was more colorful than the last. Although they didn't know it yet, these thirty-six achievers and dreamers would soon give birth to a golden child.
Who were these movers and shakers that changed movies forever? And what about Oscar, their famous son? He is fast approaching his 100th birthday, and is still the most wanted man Hollywood. Yet with such dynamic parents, what else could one expect?
Pawlak traces the lives of the 36 key figures in the cinema community who launched the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927, the same year talkies arrived with The Jazz Singer. By skillfully weaving such highlights of Hollywood history throughout this Tinseltown tapestry, Pawlak succeeds in recreating that colorful era when flickers turned into features and silents converted to sound.
Published: 15th January 2011
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Dimensions (cm): 25.0 x 15.0 x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.666