Highlights from the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

To celebrate the publication of the Kentucky African American Encyclopediawe’ll be posting a few select entries on the people, places, movements, and events that have shaped the state’s history. Today we’re featuring Georgia Powers.

Senator Georgia Powers, who served in the Kentucky legislature for 21 years, photographed in her home in Louisville, Ky., on 3/8/01. Keyword: Georgia M. Powers and Georgia Montgomery Davis Powers. Photo by David Stephenson oe Staff

Senator Georgia Powers, who served in the Kentucky legislature for 21 years, photographed in her home in Louisville, Ky., on 3/8/01.

POWERS, GEORGIA MONTGOMERY DAVIS (b. 1923, Springfield, KY), first woman and first African American elected to the Kentucky Senate.

Born on October 29, 1923, in Springfield, KY, as Georgia Montgomery, the second of nine children and the only girl of Frances (Walker) and Ben Montgomery, Georgia was always determined to rise above the discrimination her gender and interracial heritage imposed on her. In 1925, the Montgomery family moved to Louisville, where Georgia received the majority of her education. She attended Virginia Avenue Elementary School (1929–1934), Madison Junior High School (1934–1937), Central High School (1937–1940), and Louisville Municipal College (1940–1942).

Additionally, she received certificates from the Central Business School and the United States Government IBM Supervisory School. A year after her graduation from Louisville Municipal College, she married Norman F. Davis. The couple had one son, William F. Davis. In 1968, the couple divorced, and Georgia married James F. Powers in 1973.

Powers began her political career training volunteers for Wilson Wyatt’s U.S. Senate campaign in 1962. She led campaigns for candidates for governor of Kentucky, mayor of Louisville, the U.S. House and Senate, and U.S. president within the next five years. Additionally, she participated in many civil rights activities throughout the 1960s. As one of the organizers of the Allied Organizations for Civil Rights, a group that worked toward the enactment of fair- employment and public-accommodations laws, she helped organize the 1964 March on Frankfort. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the keynote speaker. The next year, Powers helped organize the Kentucky Christian Leadership Conference and attended the historic march in Selma, Alabama, supporting the national Voting Rights Act. Among many other important civil rights activities, she marched with Dr. King in the Memphis sanitation struggle.

In 1967, Powers ran for the Kentucky State Senate with endorsements from the AFL-CIO, the Kentucky Medical Association, the Kentucky and Louisville Education Associations, and the Louisville Chamber of Commerce. She won that seat easily, and her first bill for statewide housing passed in no time. She collaborated with Representatives Mae Street Kidd and Hughes E. McGill in introducing the first open-housing law in the South, which was passed in 1968. Other legislation that she either sponsored or cosponsored included bills for low-cost housing, the Equal Rights Amendment Resolution, and a bill to omit “race” from Kentucky driver’s licenses. She was also the secretary of the Kentucky Democratic Caucus during her entire senatorial career.Kentucky African American Encyclopedia Thomas D. Clark Medallion University Press of Kentucky

While serving in the Kentucky Senate for 21 years, she chaired the Health and Welfare Committee (1970–1976) and served as a member of the Rules Committee (1976–1978) and the Labor and Industry Committee for 10 years (1978–1988). Since her retirement in 1988, Powers has received numerous accolades. In 1995, she published her memoirs, I Shared the Dream: The Pride, Passion, and Politics of the First Black Woman Senator from Kentucky. She also published The Adventures of the Book of Revelation in 1998 and Celia’s Land, a Historical Novel in 2004.

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia is available now from your favorite bookseller or www.kentuckypress.com.

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville

The editors of The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia will participate in a panel discussion this Wednesday, August 19 at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville at 6:00 pm. Sponsored by the Filson Historical Society, editors Gerald L. Smith, John Hardin, and Karen Cotton McDaniel will present individuals, events, places, organizations, movements and institutions that have shaped Kentucky’s history. Admission to the event is FREE. For more information on the event, visit FilsonHistorical.org. For more information on The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, or to purchase the book, visit KentuckyPress.com.

from WHAS 11 Great Day Live (click for video)

WHAS Mack McCormick University Press of Kentucky Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

Congratulations Writing Contest Winners

The Winners of our First Micro-Fiction Contest

First of all, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who submitted an entry to UPK’s very first, Micro-Fiction contest! We had a great time reading through the entries, and it was incredibly difficult to select the grand-prize winner and runners up. But select we did!

Our entrants were asked to write an ekphrastic micro-fiction (300 words, or less!) piece of prose or poetry in response to one of two images:

3 Runners-Up will win 1 Kentucky fiction or poetry book of their choice published by the University Press of Kentucky, and 1 Grand Prize Winner will win a prize pack of 3 Kentucky fiction or poetry books published by the University Press of Kentucky.

View our fiction titles here. Find poetry titles here.

And now, we present to you, the

Grand Prize Winner

Congratulations Patricia Holland of Paris, Kentucky, for her prose piece: “Threads!”

And, congratulations to our three runners-up:

Liz K. (“Thread Baring”)
Sarah H. (“Sewing Not”)
& Rich G. (“And Still You Sew On”)

Threads

My great-grandmother Nanny believed she could foretell the future by studying the clipped threads and bits of fabric that caught on the hem of her skirt whenever she made a new dress.

She taught me to sew and as I pedaled away on her treadle machine, she also taught me to respect her strange, Irish superstitions. To her, those stray threads found on my clothing had landed there to help her analysis my future. Different colored threads meant different things. Black did not mean death. Blank was the color of my true love’s hair. Threads in red, yellow, green or pink were fine unless they were from my wedding dress. My Nanny sang, “Married in red, you’ll wish you were dead/ Married in yellow, you’re ashamed of your fellow/Married in green, you’ll be ashamed to be seen/Married in pink, your spirit will sink/ But when you marry in white, you’ll find the love of your life.”

For a time after she taught me how to sew, I believed that stray threads really could show me a glimpse of my future. Do I still believe that those bits of colored thread have a mystical meaning and power? No, I don’t; but I still remember and treasure Nanny’s long-ago lessons. So as I sew up my white wedding gown and think about the pattern my life will take, I’ve taken a mare’s nest of tangled threads from the bottom drawer of Nanny’s sewing machine and made a small silk drawstring bag to hold them.

I do believe in traditions so I’ll make sure that on my wedding day I’ll have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Nanny’s tangled threads are old, my dress is something new. My Irish lace veil will be borrowed and my garter will be blue.

Read the entries from our runners-up after the jump

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Writing Contest Header

Deadline EXTENDED! Enter the UPK Ekphrastic Micro-Fiction Contest

We’re extending the deadline of our Fantastic, Ekphrastic, Micro-Fiction Contest! Enter by next Wednesday, August 12 for a chance to win a Kentucky Writers Prize Pack!

Ekphrasis, if you don’t know, is writing inspired by art. The art can provide a setting for the writing, provoke a response from the writer, elicit a memory, or anything that allows the writer a chance to “converse” with the art through words. We’re hosting an Ekphrastic Micro-Fiction Contest, and picking 4 winners to share with the community.

Here’s how it all works:

We’ll give you two images to pick from for Ekphrastic inspiration. Using one of the images as your jumping off point, craft a poem or short story as your contest entry. Entries should be 300 words or less, or your piece will be disqualified. Submit your entry using the Google Form below by Wednesday, August 12 at 5 pm. We’ll announce the winners Friday, August 14.

What will you win?

1 Grand Prize Winner will win a prize pack of 3 Kentucky fiction or poetry books published by the University Press of Kentucky. View our fiction titles here. Find poetry titles here.

3 Runners-Up will win 1 Kentucky fiction or poetry book of their choice published by the University Press of Kentucky.

All the fine print: Winners will be chosen by UPK staff members. Only U.S. residents are eligible to win. Entries must be less than 300 words and use one of the two images provided as inspiration. Submit entries using the Google Form below by Wednesday, August 12 at 5 pm.

The Prompts:

Image 1

Bottling Line Split Carol Peachee The Birth of Bourbon

“Bottling Line Split” from The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries by Carol Peachee

Image 2

Sewing Table Kentucky By Design

“Mahogany Sewing Table” from Kentucky By Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture edited by Andrew Kelly

Dalton Trumbo's Fight for Hollywood

On the 69th Anniversary of the First, Unofficial Blacklist, Dalton Trumbo Steps Back into the Spotlight with a New Biography and a Biopic Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival

On July 29, 1946—sixty-nine years ago today—Billy Wilkerson, founder of The Hollywood Reporter, published an editorial naming 11 alleged Communists working in Hollywood. Among the notable figures included on this list was screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who at the time was the acclaimed writer of films like Kitty Foyle (1940) and novels such as Johnny Got His Gun (1939). In the article “A Vote for Joe Stalin,” Wilkerson claimed that those listed were a threat to the “free world” and the “millions of readers” dependent on the free trade of ideas.

Trumbo, who was a member of the Communist Party, was soon called to testify to his political affiliation before the House Un-American Activities Committee. As a result of refusing to answer questions, he was sentenced to prison for a year, blacklisted from working in Hollywood, and, after a thirteen year struggle, fought his way back to become one of the most sought-after and respected screenwriters in the industry.

Dalton Trumbo Speaking Out University Press of KentuckyA fight was something Trumbo was not afraid of. In 1962, in a cover letter attached to an archive of his papers donated to the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, he addressed this theme that dominated his adult life:

“I’ve always thought of my life as a sequence of conflicts, each a separate battle, segregated in my mind under the heading, “My fight with these guys” or “My fight with those guys.” . . . I now realize it was all one fight . . . It just happened in my case that the original fight once undertaken, expanded marvelously into what seemed like many fights.”

Now, Trumbo’s fight is about to hit the big screen with Trumbo, a new Bryan Cranston-starring biopic set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. While the biopic, directed by Jay Roach, focuses on Trumbo’s battle against HUAC and the resulting fallout, historian Larry Ceplair and Trumbo’s late son, Christopher, have written a recently released biography that gives a full account of Trumbo’s life and impact on American culture, politics, and the film industry.

Dalton Trumbo Blacklisted Hollywood Radical University Press of KentuckyDalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical follows the beleaguered screenwriter from his youth in Grand Junction, Colorado to his film career both on and off the blacklist and his death in 1976—seventeen years before he would receive a posthumous Oscar for writing Roman Holiday (1953). A prolific letter-writer his entire life, Trumbo’s son Christopher, collected these missives of his father’s ideas and politics, his irascible personality, conversations with notable collaborators like Stanley Kubrick and Kirk Douglas, and his campaign to break the blacklist, to compile an honest portrait.

Through it all, Trumbo used his barbed tongue and slashing pen to combat his adversaries, especially Billy Wilkerson, who wielded his own pen against the perceived Red Scare in Hollywood. Trumbo’s propensity for speaking out was well known, and he and Wilkerson had been baiting each other in print for the past year—Trumbo, as editor of Screen Writer, and Wilkerson through his “Tradewinds” column in The Hollywood Reporter. Wilkerson was one of the most outspoken, vehement anti-Communists in Hollywood, and he used his platform at the magazine often to call out “Hollywood’s Red Commissars!”

To Wilkerson and his allies, the Screen Writers Guild was the main propaganda arm of the Communist Party in Hollywood, and Screen Writer—at the time, a new publication published by the guild—was widely seen in the industry as a “party line” journal. With Trumbo as editor, two other party members as managing editor and editorial secretary, and two Communists on the editorial committee, Screen Writer was an easy mark for those looking to root out “anti-American” sentiment.

When Democratic congressman John Rankin from Mississippi first called on HUAC to investigate the motion picture industry, Billy Wilkerson enthusiastically welcomed his call in The Hollywood Reporter. In response, Trumbo excoriated Wilkerson in Screen Writer for “endorsing in advance an appraisal of Hollywood by one of the most dangerous fascist-minded men in America.” Trumbo felt that Wilkerson, HUAC, and the recently formed Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals were conspiring with studio heads to vilify Communist Party members in Hollywood in exchange for advertising dollars and scoops from the inner circle. What followed was a series of hostile letters to the editor and advertisements placed by the two factions in each other’s publications. Screen Writer and The Hollywood Reporter became the ideological battleground where Hollywood waged war against itself.

Dalton Trumbo Bathtub University Press of Kentucky

Bryan Cranston will portray the blacklisted screenwriter in the Jay Roach-directed biopic ‘Trumbo,’ set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“A Vote for Joseph Stalin” was actually the first in a series of “Tradewinds” columns designed to red-bait the Screen Writers Guild. In the editorials, which came after The Hollywood Reporter’s initial list of exposed Communists, Wilkerson posed a series of questions to Trumbo: “Are you a Communist? Are you a member of the Communist Party?” Additionally, he published as evidence, a few of Trumbo’s “Communistic” activities, including his novel The Remarkable Andrew; his membership in the American Peace Mobilization, the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties, and American Youth for Democracy; and his support for LaRue McCormick’s campaign for the US Senate.

Trumbo, who by that time been hamstrung by Screen Writer’s new editorial board and could not publish a response, drafted a letter to Wilkerson which he never sent. In it, he charged Wilkerson with failing to prove the existence of Communist propaganda in any of Trumbo’s films and criticized his censure of the Screen Writers Guild. Trumbo ended his diatribe with a note on freedom of speech:

“We live in a country founded upon the principle that a man’s race, his religion and his politics are his private concern, protected as such by law. Any answer to your “questions,” either positive or negative, would constitute an admission on my part of your right to assume the function of industry inquisitor. I deny that right, and have no intention of collaborating with you to establish it.”

For all of his attempts to stave off the personal, professional, and philosophical attacks from Wilkerson and his fellow anti-Communists, Trumbo’s name, seven additional names from Wilkerson’s informal list, and two others were officially Blacklisted on November 25, 1946 by the studio chiefs and the Motion Picture Association of America in the infamous Waldorf Statement. Among those who assembled at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel and drafted the statement against the so-called “Hollywood Ten” were names like Louis B. Mayer, Henry Cohn, Samuel Goldwyn, and Albert Warner.

Their decree terminated current or future employment and called on the guilds to “eliminate any subversives.” The guilds ultimately capitulated to the Waldorf Statement, casting out their besieged members. In addition, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences passed a bylaw that prohibited Oscar nominations for anyone who invoked their Fifth Amendment rights in their testimony before HUAC.

Dalton Trumbo Mugshot University Press of KentuckyRefusing to answer questions about his involvement with the Communist Party, Trumbo sacrificed a successful career in Hollywood to stand up for his rights and defend political freedom. He was found guilty of Contempt of Congress, and as a result of the deepening Red Scare, was sent to the Federal Corrections Facility in Ashland, Kentucky, where he spent ten months writing letters for his fellow inmates and attempting to continue to write novels and screenplays when he could.

Though barred from being employed by the studios, after his release, Trumbo continued to write and assist with scripts, primarily under the pseudonym “Robert Rich,” or using other screenwriter’s names as a front. Roman Holiday, for example, had been completed by Trumbo prior to his conviction and incarceration, but was released in 1953 with Ian McLellan Hunter credited as the screenwriter. The film went on to be nominated for, and win, multiple awards, including an Academy Award for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story.

Roman Holiday was the first Academy Award Trumbo could not accept. Later, when Robert Rich won the Oscar for best motion picture story for The Brave One at the 1957 Oscars, a mere month after the AMPAS bylaw was enacted, Jessie Laskey Jr., vice president of the Screen Writers branch of the Writers Guild accepted the award. “On behalf of Robert Rich and his beautiful story,” Lasky said, “thank you very much.”

The blacklist finally ended for Trumbo in 1960, when he received screen credits for Exodus (1960) and Spartacus (1960). When Otto Preminger was asked why he had hired Trumbo to write Exodus, Preminger stated that “It is absolutely un-American. . . to ask people what political beliefs they have,” adding that in giving Trumbo screen credit, he was acting much more honestly than other producers who had employed blacklisted writers and did not give them credit.

Just before his death, Trumbo’s name was amended to the credits for The Brave One, and he received his long-awaited Academy Award. His wife, Cleo, received the Oscar for Roman Holiday at a special ceremony in 1993 with Trumbo’s name added to the award plaque. Though the names “Robert Rich” and “Ian McLellan Hunter” were called as Academy Award winners during his time, with Trumbo making its early award season bid in Toronto, perhaps Jay Roach and Bryan Cranston will finally bring Dalton Trumbo to the Oscar’s stage where he belongs.

C-SPAN’s Cities Tour Visits Lexington and “Reads” a Few Great UPK Books

On a mission to feature the history and literature of cities across the U.S., C-SPAN’s Cities Tour rolled into Lexington this weekend to explore all things Bourbon, Bluegrass, and Book-related! The Cities Tour team sat down with Mayor Jim Gray, UPK authors Maryjean Wall, Karl Raitz, Paul Holbrook, and Tracy Campbell, and toured unique Lexington landmarks like Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, Keeneland, and the Mary Todd Lincoln House. We’re sharing a few of the videos here, but hop over to the Cities Tour website to watch all of the videos.

Books by featured UPK authors:

Videos:

Videos are not embedded. You will be re-directed to the C-SPAN site.

Maryjean_Wall_CSPAN_video Paul_Holbrook_CSPAN_Video Karl_Raitz_CSPAN_Video Tracey_Campbell_CSPAN_Video

University Press of Kentucky Books Broadway

Reading Down Broadway: Books from the Great White Way

The lights of Broadway have long allured performers and audiences to the streets of New York. Modern films, dance, and today’s theatre continue to draw inspiration from the illustrious names who first brought music and choreography to the stage. Some names have endured, and others have been overshadowed or lost in history. But recently published biographies of legends like Florenz Ziegfeld, Busby Berkeley, and Charles Walters bring the magical musicals of the past into the present.

Ziegfeld and His Follies Book University Press of KentuckyZiegfeld and His Follies
A Biography of Broadway’s Greatest Producer

Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson
$40.00 hardcover

The name Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. (1867–1932) is synonymous with the decadent revues that the legendary impresario produced at the turn of the twentieth century. These extravagant performances were filled with catchy tunes, high-kicking chorus girls, striking costumes, and talented stars such as Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Marilyn Miller, W. C. Fields, and Will Rogers. After the success of his Follies, Ziegfeld revolutionized theater performance with the musical Show Boat (1927) and continued making Broadway hits—including Sally (1920), Rio Rita (1927), and The Three Musketeers (1928)—several of which were adapted for the silver screen.

Louise Brooks Ziegfeld and His Follies University Press of Kentucky

Louise Brooks during the time she worked as a Ziegfeld Girl, circa 1925. Though she appeared in only two of his shows, Ziegfeld had a portrait of her hung in his office. Courtesy of Jerry Murbach.

In this definitive biography, authors Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson offer a comprehensive look at both the life and legacy of the famous producer. Drawing on a wide range of sources—including Ziegfield’s previously unpublished letters to his second wife, Billie Burke (who later played Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz), and to his daughter Patricia—the Bridesons shed new light on this enigmatic man. They provide a lively and well-rounded account of Ziegfeld as a father, a husband, a son, a friend, a lover, and an alternately ruthless and benevolent employer. Lavishly illustrated with over seventy-five images, this meticulously researched book presents an intimate and in-depth portrait of a figure who profoundly changed American entertainment.

Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld’s Broadway

Eve Golden
$40.00 hardcover

Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway Eve Golden University Press of Kentucky

Ziegfeld’s first wife, Anna Held in a photo by W.M. Morrison, 1897. Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Miscellaneous Items in High Demand Collection, LC-USZ62-54859.

Anna Held (1870-1918), a petite woman with an hourglass figure, was America’s most popular musical comedy star during the two decades preceding World War I. In the colorful world of New York theater during La Belle Époque, she epitomized everything that was glamorous, sophisticated, and suggestive about turn-of-the-century Broadway.

Overcoming an impoverished life as an orphan to become a music-hall star in Paris, Held rocketed to fame in America. From 1896 to 1910, she starred in hit after hit and quickly replaced Lillian Russell as the darling of the theatrical world. The first wife of legendary producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Held was the brains and inspiration behind his Follies and shared his knack for publicity. Together, they brought the Paris scene to New York, complete with lavish costumes and sets and a chorus of stunningly beautiful women, dubbed “The Anna Held Girls.”

While Held was known for a champagne giggle as well as for her million-dollar bank account, there was a darker side to her life. She concealed her Jewish background and her daughter from a previous marriage. She suffered through her two husbands’ gambling problems and Ziegfeld’s blatant affairs with showgirls. With the outbreak of fighting in Europe, Held returned to France to support the war effort. She entertained troops and delivered medical supplies, and she was once briefly captured by the German army. With access to previously unseen family records and photographs, Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld’s Broadway reveals one of the most remarkable women in the history of theatrical entertainment and the vibrant world of 1900s New York.

Mae Murray
The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips

Michael G. Ankerich foreword by Kevin Brownlow
$40.00 hardcover

9780813136905Mae Murray (1885–1965), popularly known as “the girl with the bee-stung lips,” was a fiery presence in silent-era Hollywood. Renowned for her classic beauty and charismatic presence, she rocketed to stardom as a dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies, moving across the country to star in her first film, To Have and to Hold, in 1916. An instant hit with audiences, Murray soon became one of the most famous names in Tinseltown.

However, Murray’s moment in the spotlight was fleeting. The introduction of talkies, a string of failed marriages, a serious career blunder, and a number of bitter legal battles left the former star in a state of poverty and mental instability that she would never overcome.

In this intriguing biography, Michael G. Ankerich traces Murray’s career from the footlights of Broadway to the klieg lights of Hollywood, recounting her impressive body of work on the stage and screen and charting her rapid ascent to fame and decline into obscurity. Featuring exclusive interviews with Murray’s only son, Daniel, and with actor George Hamilton, whom the actress closely befriended at the end of her life, Ankerich restores this important figure in early film to the limelight.

Buzz
The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley

Busby Berkeley Buzz University Press of Kentucky

The finest of all water ballets, “By a Waterfall” from “Footlight Parade.”

Buzz Busby Berkeley University Press of KentuckyJeffrey Spivak
$39.95 hardcover

Characterized by grandiose song-and-dance numbers featuring ornate geometric patterns and mimicked in many modern films, Busby Berkeley’s unique artistry is as recognizable and striking as ever. From his years on Broadway to the director’s chair, Berkeley is notorious for his inventiveness and signature style. Through sensational films like 42nd Street (1933), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Footlight Parade (1933),and Dames (1934), Berkeley sought to distract audiences from the troubles of the Great Depression. Although his bold technique is familiar to millions of moviegoers, Berkeley’s life remains a mystery.

Buzz is a telling portrait of the filmmaker who revolutionized the musical and changed the world of choreography. Berkeley pioneered many conventions still in use today, including the famous “parade of faces” technique, which lends an identity to each anonymous performer in a close-up. Carefully arranging dancers in complex and beautiful formations, Berkeley captured perspectives never seen before.

Employing personal letters, interviews, studio memoranda, and Berkeley’s private memoirs, Jeffrey Spivak unveils the colorful life of one of cinema’s greatest artists.

Charles Walters
The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance

Brent Phillips
$40.00 hardcover

Charles Walters and Velma Ebsen University Press of Kentucky

Charles Walters and Velma Ebsen on-stage, Between the Devil (1937). Photograph in author’s collection.

From the trolley scene in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’s last dance on the silver screen (The Barkleys of Broadway, 1949) to Judy Garland’s timeless, tuxedo-clad performance of “Get Happy” (Summer Stock, 1950), Charles Walters staged the iconic musical sequences of Hollywood’s golden age. During his career, this Academy Award–nominated director and choreographer showcased the talents of stars such as Gene Kelly, Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds, and Frank Sinatra. However, despite his many critical and commercial triumphs, Walters’s name often goes unrecognized today.

In the first full-length biography of Walters, Brent Phillips chronicles the artist’s career, from his days as a featured Broadway performer and protégé of theater legend Robert Alton to his successes at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He takes readers behind the scenes of many of the studio’s most beloved musicals, including Easter Parade (1948), Lili (1953), High Society (1956), and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). In addition, Phillips recounts Walters’s associations with Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, and Gloria Swanson, examines the director’s uncredited work on several films, including the blockbuster Gigi (1958), and discusses his contributions to musical theater and American popular culture.

Mamoulian
Life on Stage and Screen

David Luhrssen
$40.00 hardcover

Rouben Mamoulian University Press of Kentucky

From Rouben Mamoulian’s “Applause.”

In Mamoulian: Life on Stage and Screen, David Luhrssen explores the life and works of Rouben Mamoulian, as well as innovations in film and on stage from the 1920s to 1950s. Though he only produced and directed sixteen films during his career, he was one of the first great directors to bridge the gap between the silent and sound and black and white and color eras, but he remains largely ignored by both film and theater historians. An Armenian immigrant from Russia, Mamoulian was influential in defining American theater and cinema. Luhrssen reveals how this fascinating and mysterious figure, working in the heart of American culture and entertainment, left a lasting impact on both Broadway and Hollywood.

Throughout his career, Mamoulian interacted with many great names in the arts. He collaborated with dancers such as Martha Graham and Fred Astaire and choreographer Hermes Pan. On stage he oversaw such future Hollywood stars as Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Claude Rains, and Sydney Greenstreet. He also directed an impressive list of actors on screen, including Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Henry Fonda, and Tyrone Power. Despite being one of the highest paid and talked about directors of his time, Mamoulian was not attracted to the culture of celebrity. Except for a reported affair with Garbo and occasional sightings in the company of starlets, he was seldom the subject of gossip columnists or show business writers. His public life was defined by his role as a director, where he was remembered for his exuberance and intelligence, as well as his habit of smoking cigars.