Dark, dangerous and transgressive, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is often read as Victorian society’s absolute Other—an outsider who troubles and distracts those around him, one who represents the fears and anxieties of the age. This book is a study of Dracula’s role of absolute Other as it appears on screen, and an investigation of popular culture’s continued fascination with vampires. Drawing on vampire films spanning from the early 20th century to 2017, the author examines how different generations construct Otherness and how this is reflected in vampire media.
Eugene O’Neill and the Reinvention of Theatre Aesthetics
The plays of Eugene O’Neill testify to his continued search for new dramatic strategies. The author explores the Nobel Prize winner’s attempts at creating a new Modern play. He shows how, moving away from melodrama or “the problem play,” O’Neill revisited the classical frames of drama and reinvented theater aesthetics by resorting to masks, the chorus, acoustics, silence or immobility for the creation of his dramatic works.
The heyday of silent film soon became quaint with the arrival of “talkies.” As early as 1929, critics and historians were writing of the period as though it were the distant past. Much of the literature on the silent era focuses on its filmic art—ambiance and psychological depth, the splendor of the sets and costumes—yet overlooks the inspiration behind these.
This book explores the Middle Ages as the prevailing influence on costume and set design in silent film and a force in fashion and architecture of the era. In the wake of World War I, designers overthrew the artifice of prewar style and manners and drew upon what seemed a nobler, purer age to create an ambiance that reflected higher ideals.
Horror Comes Home: Essays on Hauntings, Possessions and Other Domestic Terrors in Cinema
Edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper
Home, we are taught from childhood, is safe. Home is a refuge that keeps the monsters out—until it isn’t.
This collection of new essays focuses on genre horror movies in which the home is central to the narrative, whether as refuge, prison, menace or supernatural battleground. The contributors explore the shifting role of the home as both a source and a mitigator of the terrors of this world, and the next.
Well known films are covered—including Psycho, Get Out, Insidious: The Last Key and Winchester House—along with films produced outside the U.S. by directors such as Alejandro Amenábar (The Others), Hideo Nakata (Ringu) and Guillermo Del Toro (The Orphanage), and often overlooked classics like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger.
Our Fall 2019 new books catalog is now available—browse our authors’ new and forthcoming titles today!
Before radio and sound movies, early 20th century performers and lecturers traveled the nation providing entertainment and education to Americans thirsty for culture. These “chautauquas” brought politicians, activists, scholars, musical ensembles and theatrical productions to remote communities. A conduit for global perspectives and progressive ideas, these gatherings introduced issues like equal suffrage, prohibition and pure food laws to rural America.
This book explores an overlooked yet influential movement in U.S. history, capturing the vagaries of speakers’ and performers’ lives on the road and their reception by audiences. Excerpts from lectures and plays portray a vibrant circuit that in a single summer drew 20 million in more than 9,000 towns.
Quest narratives are as old as Western culture. In stories like The Odyssey, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Harry Potter, men set out on journeys, fight battles and become heroes. Women traditionally feature in such stories as damsels in need of rescue or as the prizes at the end of heroic quests. These narratives perpetuate predominant gender roles by casting men as active and women as passive. Focusing on stories in which popular teenage heroines—Buffy Summers, Katniss Everdeen and Disney’s Princess Merida—embark on daring journeys, this book explores what happens when traditional gender roles and narrative patterns are subverted. The author examines representations of these characters across various media—film, television, novels, posters, merchandise, fan fiction and fan art, and online memes—that model concepts of heroism and girlhood inspired by feminist ideas.
Discovering Musicals: A Liberal Arts Guide to Stage and Screen
Marc Raymond Strauss
One of the few studies that cover both Broadway and Hollywood musicals, this book explores a majority of the most famous musicals over the past two centuries plus a select number of overlooked gems. Doubling as an introductory college and university text for musical, dance and theater majors and a guide for both musical connoisseurs and novices, the book includes YouTube references of nearly 1000 examples of dances and songs from musicals.
The comic archetype of the Little Man—a “nobody” who stands up to unfairness—is central to the films of Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin. Portraying the alienation of life in an indifferent world with a mix of pathos, irony and slapstick, both adopted absurdist characters—Chaplin’s bumbling yet clever Tramp with his shabby clothes, and Allen’s fool with his metaphysical witticisms and proclivity to fall in love too quickly.
Both men were auteurs who managed to retain creative control of their work and achieve worldwide popularity. Both felt an attraction to young women. Drawing on psychoanalysis and gender-studies, this book explores their films as barometers of their respective cultural moments, marking the shift between modernism and postmodernism.
Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2018
Harris M. Lentz III
The entertainment world lost many notable talents in 2018, including movie icon Burt Reynolds, “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, celebrity chef and food critic Anthony Bourdain, bestselling novelist Anita Shreve and influential Chicago blues artist Otis Rush.
Obituaries of actors, filmmakers, musicians, producers, dancers, composers, writers and others associated with the performing arts who died in 2018 are included. Date, place and cause of death are provided for each, along with a career recap and a photograph. Filmographies are given for film and television performers. Books in this annual series are available dating to 1994—a subscription is available for future volumes.
In American Westerns, the main characters are most often gunfighters, lawmen, ranchers and dancehall girls. Civil professionals such as doctors, engineers and journalists have been given far less representation, appearing as background characters in most films and fiction. However, in Westerns about the 1910 Mexican Revolution, civil professionals also feature prominently in the narrative, often as members of the intelligentsia—an important force in Mexican politics. This book compares the roles of civil professionals in most American Westerns to those in work on the 1910 Mexican Revolution. Included are studies on the Santiago Toole novels by Richard Wheeler, Strange Lady in Town with Greer Garson and La sombra del Caudillo by Martín Luis Guzmán.
We’re turning 40, and we’re celebrating with a special fortieth anniversary sale! Through June 30, get a 25% discount on ALL books when you use the code ANN2019. And if you’ll be in our area (Ashe County, North Carolina, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains), we’d love to see you at our open house event on Friday, June 14. Thank you for supporting our first 40 years—we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you.
On June 14, 2019, McFarland will celebrate its fortieth anniversary with an open house party. From noon to five, our campus at 960 Hwy 88 W, Jefferson, NC will be open to the public with finger food, conversation and tours available, and many of our authors will be in attendance. To stay up-t0-date with event information, follow our event page. Below is a brief company history, with personal thoughts, by founder and editor-in-chief Robert Franklin.
McFarland Publishers Now Forty Years Old
by Robert Franklin
McFarland’s history (founder, Robbie Franklin, me): My close friends Biff and Alicia Stickel were burned out special ed teachers in Connecticut, early 70’s. What to do? Back to the land! They (and their little daughter Maranatha Shone Stickel) drove south till they loved the vibe and the scenery and wound up living on Peak Road from 1972 through part of 1978 (and birthing Micah Stickel). Alicia played piano at the local Baptist church and they were cofounders of the Creston Co-op. I visited them in ’72 (instantly fell for the land and people, the forefinger car salute, the almost drinkable river) and again every year after, and when wife Cheryl Roberts came into my life in 1975, we visited. Soon I was bragging about Ashe County to everybody – “If your car breaks down, the very next person to come along will stop and ask if you need help.” I hope a few readers can recognize the Stickels’ name (he goes by Richard now; they live in Toronto). They are the reason McFarland was begun in Ashe County. We present band of publishers, about fifty in number, owe them great honor.
I did not learn till after we moved here in 1979 that my Revolutionary War ancestor Lieutenant Robert McFarland, after whupping the king at Kings Mountain, lived up here in the 1790s. He then went overmountain to become the first ever sheriff of Greene/Washington County, Tennessee. (I was born in Memphis.)
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers is our official name. Founded in April 1979 right here. I had been the executive editor of a smallish scholarly publisher in New Jersey; my mentor/boss/friend Eric Moon (a charismatic Brit) knew before I did it was time for me to go off on “my own” (very misleading words!). The local Ashe County newspaper was failing by 1978 and at first I thought, o.k., I’m an editor type, maybe I can start up a new one. Between summer and Christmas the local fellow David Desautels decided the same thing and very successfully started The Jefferson Times. We became friends and McFarland’s earliest two or three books (including a biography of Soviet leader Brezhnev) were typeset using off-hours time on that new newspaper’s equipment. Katy Zell Taylor was our first fulltime employee (Ashe Central H.S. yearbook editor!) and did a lot of typesetting and correcting. Dental Care in Society was our first published book, in 1980 (ask me some day).
After deciding up in New Jersey to stay with book (versus newspaper) publishing, I phoned the Jefferson Post Office in February 1979 to set up a box number mailing address – they said people had to apply in person. Whew! So I flew from Newark to Tri-Cities, Tennessee (what did I know?), rented a car, drove to Jefferson (hours!), filled out a form, got back in the car, drove back to Tri-Cities, and got back home not long before day was done.
A couple of months later, on April 1, 1979, Cheryl and I packed our former life stuff (including hundreds of books—heavy!) in a small U-Haul, attached it to our VW bug, and began to drive south, the Stickels’ Ashe County on our minds.
My ninth-grade homeroom friend (Toledo, Ohio), Mike Strand, had helped with some financial and emotional support and we stopped at his place in Maryland overnight. Armed with an Ashe return address, I had written several hundred letters (yes!) on a yellow pad on my knees in the front seat while Cheryl drove, and Mike arranged for a nearby university used-to-weird-hours thesis typist to type them all overnight; we mailed them April 2 and drove on. We were headed to my parents’ (retired librarians) house in Charlottesville, with me again writing several hundred short letters on my lap. We had arranged for a similar heroic overnight typing fest (the two days: 905 letters to all the authors I had addresses for, saying my former employer will take good care of you, they’re wonderful publishers—But if by any chance they turn you down for something, give us a shot!).
The U-Haul was too much for the Bug and our left rear wheel came OFF 20 miles north of Charlottesville—but stayed in the wheel well (having nowhere else to go), behaving violently. Definitely exciting (it was my stint at the wheel). We lost two or three days; I split logs for my parents’ fireplace.
In Ashe County finally, we scooped up some reply mail from authors. Already! And we soon secured a sweet farmhouse in Dillard Holler (landlord Jesse Dillard; Mom-figure Clyde Dillard; horse-plus-himself quarter-acre-garden plower Jones Dillard). The Dillard families taught us a great deal about what being “conservative” actually means. (One day Jesse turned up with several hundred fence rails he stored near “our” (his) house; no immediate need, but “I got ’em for 25¢ each.” They stayed stacked for years…) The birth of our sons Charles (in ’81), Nicholas (’85) and William (’89) certainly emphasized the Dillards’ lessons. (Jesse routinely tossed hay bales up into pickup trucks in his 80’s. Lemme be him!)
McFarland itself started out next to the H & R Block office, near the florist, in Jefferson, a small space but enough for our first couple of years. The Jefferson Post Office turned out, under our loyal friend Charles Caudill, to be one of our greatest early assets. He was so supportive as McF struggled through ignorance of mass mailings, foreign registered packages (we learned together!), “library rate” book mailings, etc. McFarland moved in 1981 or ’82 to the Mountain View shopping center between the towns and quickly expanded there. In 1982 we lucked out by having Rhonda Herman agree to join the tiny staff, doing all the “business” stuff while I coddled authors, edited manuscripts and coached the typesetters. High school senior Cynthia Campbell became a stalwart and sixteen year old Cherie Scott was a wow of a typesetter, along with Katy Taylor, on our new typesetting equipment. Within three years we were producing 40 or so new books a year (in 2018 the total was nearly 400).
Meanwhile, the people of Ashe County all around us showed interest, great surprise (“A Publisher in Ashe County?” read one huge Jefferson Times headline), and affection. Highly significant was Hal Colvard, repeatedly trusting us, at Northwestern bank, another wonderful early friend of McFar. We warmly greeted each other on Saturday mornings at the post office for many years after he retired.
By 1984 we’d moved to our present location, which became five buildings on both sides of the road. We’re technically inside Jefferson town limits. We took Mackey McDonald’s trim brick ranch house, whacked walls left and right, pushed out here, there… Years later we added a second floor – my joke is, the main building now has more roof lines than an Italian hill village.
We are, or were, a library-oriented scholarly and reference book publisher. (We’ve grown much more into a straight-to-people operation today but libraries are still a critical component of our efforts.) Two of our earliest works were Library Display Ideas by my sister Linda Franklin and Free Magazines for Libraries, by Adeline Mercer Smith: they were terrific sales successes. Another 1982 biggie was Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete by William M. Taylor, M.D. We hit that topic just as it exploded nationwide. One of the most memorable early works was Keep Watching the Skies! by Bill Warren (1982). This huge book expertly, humorously covers in amazing depth every American science fiction movie of the 1950s and a lot of Hollywood Big Names spoke highly of it in print. We were famous! (Well, the author was…)
McFarland was an early strong supporter of the local arts scene. (There are hundreds of paintings hanging in four of our buildings.) Cheryl Roberts and I founded the publication ARTS/DATES for the Arts Council in 1980 or 1981, and for more than a decade paid all its expenses as it grew grander and ever more useful. Loyal Jane Lonon (Arts Council head) wangled twice for us an N.C. Governor’s Business Award for the Arts and Humanities (go to Raleigh; shake hands; pose for photos; eat dinner).
I joined the strong, active Ashe County Little Theatre and played Dracula for them in 1981, sporting fangs crafted by the late Brett Summey, who became a good friend, now truly missed. Jane Lonon and I wowed the crowd in The King and I and Tom Fowler and I rolled them in the aisles in Greater Tuna. When I played Macbeth, the high school English teacher promised extra credit to student attendees.
McFarland’s output grew rapidly—by the 1990s we were producing hundreds of new titles each year and our staff had doubled, then tripled in size. Margie Turnmire had arrived in the mid–’80s, a beautiful soul and a very smart lady: director of finance and administration. In 1995 the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce honored us with a Business of the Year award (I believe we were the third such) and in 1998 The Wall Street Journal ran a feature article on us, showing that we are a bit unusual in our range of offerings. We have a commanding position in, for example, Vietnam combat memoirs, chess history, baseball (teams, eras, bios), automotive history and popular culture (film, TV, comics, literature…). We’ve done many reference books (though with Wiki-Google etc. now such works are uneconomical to produce); a Library Journal book of the year was local John Stewart’s African States and Rulers in 1989. Lots of Civil War, World War II, American/European/World history, literary criticism. Authors from all over the world. That part’s fun! As I write this we have published 7,800 titles.
We had busted out of our onsite warehouse and used the old Ashe County Jail on Buffalo Road for several years in the 80s! Ultimately we had to move our shipping operation into the building next to the Arts Council owned by Jim Reeves. On its outer wall facing the Arts Center we had Jack Young do the town’s first mural (now painted over): “Ashe County through the Ages.” Finally, Mike Herman built us an entirely new warehouse across the road from our main building in about 1990. Fourteen years later, then-vice-president Rhonda Herman (now president) moved the company onto firmer financial footing by arranging to install state-of-the-art printing equipment in that warehouse (we’d always used out-of-house printing firms).
Cheryl and I love Ashe County. We love the people. We love the trees, the river. (We came in first in the Mixed Expert class canoe race four or five years ago!) I even like the curves driving 23 miles to and fro our home to work (we live practically on the Tennessee line, up in the Flatwoods). The finger salute still works and the tire zing helps me think through business challenges. Our three boys, Charles, Nicky and William, also revere their place of birth. McFarland has about 50 employees, all of whom are exceptionally talented. When I got here to start the company, I truly had my pick of some of the best talent available anywhere, and I mean Anywhere. Our typesetters know every Hungarian or Swedish accent mark there is!
The local merchants have become business partners. Local artists have paintings hanging in our offices. The restaurants are great for business lunches. The weather—sublime (I learned to fell trees and the art of minimizing the lifting and stacking of logs our first year here); I like winter! Mike Herman built our house and the numerous renovations of our current space—impossible to imagine a better job. Stan Barker did some fabulous stone walls at our home. I feel both cozy and exhilarated just getting up in the morning! Ashe County, we’re for you!
McFarland is having an open house (snacks, drinks, tours) starting at noon on Friday, June 14th. We want to show our thanks to a community that has nurtured us for 40 years. Come one, come all!
The Films of Robin Williams: Critical Essays
Edited by Johnson Cheu
From his first appearance as Mork from Ork on the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, Robin Williams was heralded as a singular talent. In the pre–cable television era, he was one of the few performers to successfully transition from TV to film. An Oscar-winning actor and preternaturally quick-witted comedian, Williams became a cultural icon, leaving behind a large and varied body of work when he unexpectedly took his own life in 2014.
This collection of new essays brings together a range of perspectives on Williams and his oeuvre, including beloved hits like Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning, Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society and Aladdin. Contributors explore his earlier work (Mork and Mindy, The World According to Garp) and his political and satirical films (Moscow on the Hudson, Toys). Williams’s darker, less well-known fare, such as Being Human, One Hour Photo, Final Cut and Boulevard, is also covered. Williams’s artistry has become woven into the fabric of our global media culture.
Charles “Jerry” Juroe, who ran publicity on 14 James Bond movies, starting with Dr. No in 1962, will be awarded France’s prestigious Legion of Honor award for excellence in military conduct on June 6th, 2019 during D-Day Celebrations in Normandy. Juroe, 96, was part of the historic invasion on June 6th, 1944. After his WWII service, Juroe had a long career in the film industry, starting out as a publicist for Paramount Pictures, then serving as the personal publicist for stars like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Marilyn Monroe when she was filming The Prince And The Showgirl in England. Jerry was based in Europe for many years, working for every major studio. He worked with The Beatles on their UA movies, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, but is best known for his association with the Bond films and his fruitful working relationship with legendary producer, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli. In 2018, he published his memoir, Bond, the Beatles and My Year with Marilyn: 50 Years as a Movie Marketing Man.
Spike Lee’s Bamboozled and Blackface in American Culture
Elizabeth L. Sanderson
Spike Lee’s challenging film Bamboozled (2000) is often read as a surface level satire of blackface minstrelsy. Careful analysis, however, gives way to a complex and nuanced study of the history of black performance. This book analyzes the work of five men, minstrel performer Bert Williams, director Oscar Micheaux, writer Ralph Ellison, painter Michael Ray Charles, and director Spike Lee, all through the lens of this misunderstood film. Equal parts biography and cultural analysis, this book examines the intersections of these five artists and Bamboozled, and investigates their shared legacy of resistance against misrepresentation.
Finding God in the Devil’s Music: Critical Essays on Rock and Religion
Edited by Alex DiBlasi and Robert McParland
From the rise of the American Evangelical movement to the introduction of Eastern philosophies in the West, the past century has seen major changes in the religious makeup of Western culture. As one result, musicians across the world have brought both “new” and old religious beliefs into their works. This book investigates Rock music as an expression of religious inquiry and religious devotion. Contributors to this essay collection use a variety of sources, including artist biographies, record and concert reviews, videos, personal experience, rock music forums and social media in order to investigate the relationship of Rock music and religion from a number of perspectives. The essays also explore public interest in religion as a platform for expression and social critique, viewing this issue through the lens of popular Rock music.
Parenting is difficult under the best of circumstances—but extremely daunting when humanity faces cataclysmic annihilation. When the dead rise, hardship, violence and the ever-present threat of flesh-eating zombies will adversely affect parents and children alike.
Depending on their age, children will have little chance of surviving a single encounter with the undead, let alone the unending peril of the Zombie Apocalypse. The key to their survival—and thus the survival of the species—will be the caregiving they receive.
Drawing on psychological theory and real-world research on developmental status, grief, trauma, mental illness, and child-rearing in stressful environments, this book critically examines factors influencing parenting, and the likely outcomes of different caregiving techniques in the hypothetical landscape of the living dead.
Folk Music and the New Left in the Sixties
Michael Scott Cain
Artists have often provided the earliest demonstrations of conscience and ethical examination in response to political events. The political shifts that took place in the 1960s were addressed by a revival of folk music as an expression of protest, hope and the courage to imagine a better world. This work explores the relationship between the cultural and political ideologies of the 1960s and the growing folk music movement, with a focus on musicians Phil Oaks; Joan Baez; Peter, Paul and Mary; Carolyn Hester and Bob Dylan.
The New York Yankees in Popular Culture: Critical Essays
Edited by David Krell
How did Reggie Jackson go from superstar to icon? Why did Joe DiMaggio’s nickname change from “Deadpan Joe” to “Joltin’ Joe”? How did Seinfeld affect public perception of George Steinbrenner?
The New York Yankees’ dominance on the baseball diamond has been lauded, analyzed and chronicled. Yet the team’s broader impact on popular culture has been largely overlooked—until now. From Ruth’s called shot to the Reggie! candy bar, this collection of new essays offers untold histories, new interpretations and fresh analyses of baseball’s most successful franchise. Contributors explore the Yankee mystique in film, television, theater, music and advertising.
Anatomy of the Slasher Film: A Theoretical Analysis
The term “slasher film” was common parlance by the mid–1980s but the horror subgenre it describes was at least a decade old by then—formerly referred to as “stalker,” “psycho” or “slice-’em-up.” Examining 74 movies—from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) to Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)—the author identifies the characteristic elements of the subgenre while tracing changes in narrative patterns over the decades.
The slasher canon is divided into three eras: the classical (1974–1993), the self-referential (1994–2000) and the neoslasher cycle (2000–2013).
Too Funny for Words: A Contrarian History of American Screen Comedy from Silent Slapstick to Screwball
“Spirited discussion… Kalat’s knowledgeable and conversational style makes the work accessible to all readers not just the cineastes among us. Film fans, students, and researchers will applaud this lively and impassioned look at a turning point in American film history.”—Booklist
Robots That Kill: Deadly Machines and Their Precursors in Myth, Folklore, Literature, Popular Culture and Reality
“With a broad range of examples, this examination of humanity’s artificial counterparts offers plenty to delve into for sf fans and everyone interested in a rich context for AI.”—Booklist
Thousands have run afoul of Britain’s Obscene Publications Act—from Victorian erotica presses to 21st-century dominatrices. At a time when the internet has made sexually explicit material ubiquitous, why are British traditional media still regulated by a vaguely worded law from 1857?
This comprehensive analysis of obscenity in British culture explores what is considered obscene, who gets to decide, and how class, race and gender inform laws regarding adult content. The author describes how obscenity laws disproportionately affect the BDSM subculture, the LGBT community and feminist porn performers.
Edwin Forrest: A Biography and Performance History
Arthur W. Bloom
Edwin Forrest was the foremost American actor of the nineteenth century. His advocacy of American, and specifically Jacksonian, themes made him popular in New York’s Bowery Theatre. His rivalry with the English tragedian William Charles Macready led to the Astor Place Riot, and his divorce from Catharine Sinclair Forrest was one of the greatest social scandals of the period. This full-length biography examines Forrest’s personal life while acknowledging the impossibility of separating it from his public image. Included is a historical chronology of every known performance the actor gave.
The Pokémon Go Phenomenon: Essays on Public Play in Contested Spaces
Edited by Jamie Henthorn, Andrew Kulak, Kristopher Purzycki and Stephanie Vie
Pokémon Go is not just play—the game has had an impact on public spaces, social circles and technology, suggesting new ways of experiencing our world. This collection of new essays explores what Pokémon Go can tell us about how and why we play.
Covering a range of topics from mobile hardware and classroom applications to social conflict and urban planning, the contributors approach Pokémon Go from both practical and theoretical angles, anticipating the impact play will have on our digitally augmented world.
Seeing the Beat Generation: Entering the Literature through Film
Beat generation writers dismantled mainstream America. They wrote under the influence of psychedelic drugs; they crossed and navigated multicultural boundaries and questioned the American dream; and they explored homosexuality, feminism and hyper-masculinity, redefining America’s marital and familial codes. Teaching such a history can be daunting, but film adaptations of Beat literature have proven to engage students. This book looks closely at the film adaptations of works by such authors as Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Carolyn Cassady, Amiri Baraka and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as they relate to American history and literary studies.
The Ages of The Flash: Essays on the Fastest Man Alive
Edited by Joseph J. Darowski
While many American superheroes have multiple powers and complex gadgets, the Flash is simply fast. This simplicity makes his character easily comprehendible for all audiences, whether they are avid comic fans or newcomers to the genre, and in turn he has become one of the most iconic figures in the comic-book industry. This collection of new essays serves as a stepping-stone to an even greater understanding of the Flash, examining various iterations of his character—including those of Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen—and what they reveal about the era in which they were written.
From the 1950s through the 1970s, disaster movies were a wildly popular genre. Audiences thrilled at the spectacle of these films, many of which were considered glamorous for their time. Derided by critics, they became box office hits and cult classics, inspiring filmmakers around the globe. Some of them launched the careers of producers, directors and actors who would go on to create some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.
With more than 40 interviews with actors, actresses, producers, stuntmen, special effects artists and others, this book covers the Golden Age of sinking ships, burning buildings, massive earthquakes, viral pandemics and outbreaks of animal madness.
Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz insisted good ol’ Charlie Brown and his friends were neither “great art” nor “significant.” Yet Schulz’s acclaimed daily comic strip—syndicated in thousands of newspapers over five decades—brilliantly mirrored tensions in American society during the second half of the 20th century.
Focusing on the strip’s Cold War roots, this collection of new essays explores existentialism, the reshaping of the nuclear family, the Civil Rights Movement, 1960s counterculture, feminism, psychiatry and fear of the bomb. Chapters focus on the development of Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Franklin, Shermy, Snoopy and the other characters that became American icons.
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, with their distinct vocal harmonies, blending of rock, jazz, folk, and blues, and political and social activism, have remained one of the most enduring musical acts of the 1960s. This book examines their songs and themes, which continue to resonate with contemporary listeners, and argues that Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young reflect part of the broader story of American culture. This appreciative volume contextualizes their work within the political climate of the late 1960s, and makes the case that the values and concerns expressed in their music thread through the American experience today.
Jessica Jones, Scarred Superhero: Essays on Gender, Trauma and Addiction in the Netflix Series received the 2018 Susan Koppelman Award, the Popular Culture Association announced. Presented annually, the Koppelman Award honors the best anthology, multi-authored, or edited book in feminist studies in popular and American culture. Congratulations to editors Tim Rayborn and Abigail Keyes, and to all contributors!
Two other McFarland books were also honored at the annual meeting of the Popular Culture Association. Craig Martin Gibbs’ Field Recordings of Black Singers and Musicians: An Annotated Discography of Artists from West Africa, the Caribbean and the Eastern and Southern United States, 1901-1943 was selected as the second runner-up for the Ray and Pat Browne Award for the best reference/primary source work in popular and American culture. When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry, edited by Roseanne Welch, was selected as the runner-up for the Susan Koppelman Award.
Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery has been described as “a kind of Rear Window for retirees.” As this quote suggests, an analysis of Alfred Hitchcock’s methodical use of comedy in his films is past due.
One of Turner Classic Movies’ on-screen scholars for their summer 2017 online Hitchcock class, the author grew tired of misleading throwaway references to the director’s “comic relief.” This book examines what should be obvious: Hitchcock systematically incorporated assorted types of comedy—black humor, parody, farce/screwball comedy and romantic comedy—in his films to entertain his audience with “comic” thrillers.
Tom Petty: Essays on the Life and Work
Edited by Crystal D. Sands
Rock and Roll hall-of-famer Tom Petty had a musical career that spanned four decades with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and also notably included the co-founding of supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. As a songwriter and rock star, Petty was among the most successful of his time.
His work appealed across socioeconomic boundaries to a diverse group of fans, and this collection of new essays explores this phenomenon. Other topics include Petty’s writing process, his political stances and the psychology behind his music.
Founded by Robert M. Savini in 1933, Astor Pictures Corporation distributed hundreds of films in its 32 years of operation. The company distributed over 150 first run features in addition to the numerous re-releases for which it became famous. Astor had great success in the fields of horror and western movies and was a pioneer in African-American film productions. While under Savini’s management, Astor and its subsidiaries were highly successful, but after his death in 1956 the company was sold, leading to eventual bankruptcy and closure. This volume provides the first in-depth look at Astor Pictures Corporation with thorough coverage of its releases, including diverse titles like La Dolce Vitaand Frankenstein’s Daughter.
George Stevens: The Films of a Hollywood Giant
“George Stevens could do anything,” said veteran Hollywood producer Pandro S. Berman, “break your heart or make you laugh.”
Winner of two Best Director Oscars—for A Place in the Sun (1951) and Giant (1956)—Stevens excelled in a range of genres, gave luster to some of Hollywood’s brightest stars and was revered by his peers. Yet his work has been largely neglected by critics and scholars.
This career retrospective highlights Stevens’ achievements, particularly in his sweeping “American Dream” trilogy (A Place in the Sun, Shane (1953) and Giant). His recurrent themes and characteristic style reveal a progressive attitude towards women’s experiences and highlight the continued relevance of his films today.
The Sacred in Fantastic Fandom: Essays on the Intersection of Religion and Pop Culture
Edited by Carole M. Cusack, John W. Morehead and Venetia Laura Delano Robertson
To the casual observer, similarities between fan communities and religious believers are difficult to find. Religion is traditional, institutional, and serious; whereas fandom is contemporary, individualistic, and fun. Can the robes of nuns and priests be compared to cosplay outfits of Jedi Knights and anime characters? Can travelling to fan conventions be understood as pilgrimages to the shrines of saints?
These new essays investigate fan activities connected to books, film, and online games, such as Harry Potter-themed weddings, using The Hobbit as a sacred text, and taking on heroic roles in World of Warcraft. Young Muslim women cosplayers are brought into conversation with Chaos magicians who use pop culture tropes and characters. A range of canonical texts, such as Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sherlock—are examined in terms of the pleasure and enchantment of repeated viewing. Popular culture is revealed to be a fertile source of religious and spiritual creativity in the contemporary world.
This book describes real-world killer robots using a blend of perspectives. Overviews of technologies, such as autonomy and artificial intelligence, demonstrate how science enables these robots to be effective killers. Incisive analyses of social controversies swirling around the design and use of killer robots reveal that science, alone, will not govern their future. Among those disputes is whether fully-autonomous, robotic weapons should be banned. Examinations of killers from the golem to Frankenstein’s monster reveal that artificially-created beings like them are precursors of real 21st century killer robots. This book laces the death and destruction caused by all these killers with science and humor. The seamless combination of these elements produces a deeper and richer understanding of the robots around us.
American silent film comedies were dominated by sight gags, stunts and comic violence. With the advent of sound, comedies in the 1930s were a riot of runaway heiresses and fast-talking screwballs. It was more than a technological pivot—the first feature-length sound film, The Jazz Singer (1927), changed Hollywood.
Lost in the discussion of that transition is the overlap between the two genres. Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd kept slapstick alive well into the sound era. Screwball directors like Leo McCarey, Frank Capra and Ernst Lubitsch got their starts in silent comedy.
From Chaplin’s tramp to the witty repartee of His Girl Friday (1940), this book chronicles the rise of silent comedy and its evolution into screwball—two flavors of the same genre—through the works of Mack Sennett, Roscoe Arbuckle, Harry Langdon and others.
Taking readers behind Bob Dylan’s familiar image as the enigmatic rebel of the 1960s, this book reveals a different view—that of a careful craftsman and student of the art of songwriting. Drawing on revelations from Dylan’s memoir Chronicles and a variety of other sources, the author arrives at a radically new interpretation of his body of work, which revolutionized American music and won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. Dylan’s songs are viewed as collages, ingeniously combining themes and images from American popular culture and European high culture.
Horror Films of the 1990s
John Kenneth Muir
This filmography covers more than 300 horror films released from 1990 through 1999. The horror genre’s trends and clichés are connected to social and cultural phenomena, such as Y2K fears and the Los Angeles riots. Popular films were about serial killers, aliens, conspiracies, and sinister “interlopers,” new monsters who shambled their way into havoc.
Each of the films is discussed at length with detailed credits and critical commentary. There are six appendices: 1990s clichés and conventions, 1990s hall of fame, memorable ad lines, movie references in Scream, 1990s horrors vs. The X-Files, and the decade’s ten best. Fully indexed, 224 photographs.
The Great Monster Magazines: A Critical Study of the Black and White Publications of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s
Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter
This is a critical overview of monster magazines from the 1950s through the 1970s. “Monster magazine” is a blanket term to describe both magazines that focus primarily on popular horror movies and magazines that contain stories featuring monsters, both of which are illustrated in comic book style and printed in black and white.
The book describes the rise and fall of these magazines, examining the contributions of Marvel Comics and several other well-known companies, as well as evaluating the effect of the Comics Code Authority on both present and future efforts in the field. It identifies several sub-genres, including monster movies, zombies, vampires, sword-and-sorcery, and pulp-style fiction. The work includes several indexes and technical credits.
Why is horror in film and literature so popular? Why do viewers and readers enjoy feeling fearful? Experts in the fields of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology posit that behaviors from our ancestors that favored survival and adaptation still influence our actions, decisions and thoughts today.
The author, with input from a new generation of Darwinists, explores six primal narratives that recur in the horror genre. They are territoriality, tribalism, fear of genetic assimilation, mating rituals, fear of the predator, and distrust or fear of the Other.
Alert America!: The Atomic Bomb and “The Show That May Save Your Life”
To address the threat of an atomic-armed Soviet Union during the early days of the Cold War, President Harry Truman approved the Alert America exhibit as the most effective way to convey the destructive power of the atomic bomb and to encourage participation in civil defense. Following its debut in the nation’s capital in January 1952, Alert America, promoted as “The Show That May Save Your Life,” traveled in three separate convoys to more than eighty cities considered most likely to be bombed, and garnered unprecedented support from elected and civic officials, the media, the military, private industry, and myriad organizations. This is the first book to examine the scope and impact of Alert America, which has been largely overlooked by historians. Also included are resource materials providing insights into the government’s overriding objective of preparing men, women and children to survive an atomic war.
The Psychology of Moviegoing: Choosing, Viewing and Being Influenced by Films
Ashton D. Trice and Hunter W. Greer
How do we choose what movies to go see? How do we process the sounds and images of those films? How do they influence our behaviors, attitudes and beliefs after we leave the theater? Using psychology theory, this book answers these questions while considering the effects of relatively permanent personality variables, our changeable moods and the people we are with in such scenarios. It also points out areas of the study in which further work is necessary and where new concepts, such as awe and aesthetic pleasure, may further understanding.
The Jean Harlow Films
James L. Neibaur
One of the powerful icons of 1930s Hollywood film, Jean Harlow died a tragically early death in 1937 at age 26. During her brief career, she delivered memorable performances in such MGM classics as Red Dust (1932), Bombshell (1933), Dinner at Eight (1933) and Libeled Lady (1936), among others.
Taking a film-by-film look at Harlow’s work and her own impressions of her costars and directors, this retrospective traces her growth as an actress—from tentative supporting player to top star at a prestigious studio—and how her often tumultuous life informed her performances.
The Harry Potter Generation: Essays on Growing Up with the Series
Emily Lauer and Balaka Basu
The generation of readers most heavily impacted by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series—those who grew up alongside “the boy who lived”—have come of age. They are poised to become teachers, parents, critics and writers, and many of their views and choices will be influenced by the literary revolution in which they were immersed. This collection of new essays explores the many different ways in which Harry Potter has shaped this generation’s views on everything from politics to identity to pedagogical spaces online. It seeks to determine how the books have affected fans’ understanding of their place in the world and their capacity to create it anew.
Tommy Thompson: New-Timey String Band Musician
Lewis M. Stern
Tommy Thompson arrived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1963, smitten by folk and traditional Appalachian music. In 1972, he teamed with Bill Hicks and Jim Watson to form the nontraditional string band the Red Clay Ramblers. Mike Craver joined in 1973, and Jack Herrick in 1976. Over time, musicians including Clay Buckner, Bland Simpson and Chris Frank joined Tommy, who played with the band until 1994.
Drawing on interviews and correspondence, and the personal papers of Thompson, the author depicts a life that revolved around music and creativity. Appendices cover Thompson’s banjos, his discography and notes on his collaborative lyric writing.
Text & Presentation, 2018
Edited by Jay Malarcher
The 15th in a series drawn from scholarship presented at the annual Comparative Drama Conference at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, this collection provides insights into texts and practices currently at the forefront of theatrical discussion. The volume includes various essays on the intersections of script and performance, and features an exclusive interview with keynote speaker, playwright Simon Stephens.
Cowboy Courage: Westerns and the Portrayal of Bravery
Film and television Westerns are most often associated with physical bravery. However, many—especially those produced during the “Golden Age” of Westerns from the late 1940s through the early 1960s—also demonstrate moral bravery (the willingness to do the right thing even when met with others’ disapproval) and psychological bravery (the ability to overcome one’s fear and inner conflict to bring out the best in oneself and others).
Through a close examination of Westerns displaying all three types of bravery, the author shows us how courage can lead to, and even enrich, other virtues like redemption, authenticity, love, friendship, allegiance to one’s community, justice, temperance, and growing up and growing old successfully.
Takashi Shimura: Chameleon of Japanese Cinema
Scott Allen Nollen
Considered one of the finest performers in world cinema, Japanese actor Takashi Shimura (1905–1982) appeared in more than 300 stage, film and television roles during his five-decade career. He is best known for his frequent collaborations with Akira Kurosawa, including major roles in the landmark classics Rashômon (1950), Ikiru (1952) and Seven Samurai (1954), and for his memorable characterizations in Ishirô Honda’s Godzilla (1954) and several Kaijû sequels. This is the first complete English-language account of Shimura’s work. In addition to historical and critical coverage of Shimura’s life and career, it includes an extensive filmography.
Roy Rogers’ golden palomino, Trigger, was the perhaps the most famous horse in film—more popular than the man himself among certain fans. In its expanded second edition, this detailed look at the animals and men who created the legend of “the smartest horse in the movies” examines the life story of the original Trigger—and his doubles, particularly Little Trigger, the extraordinary trick horse.
Movies in which Trigger appeared without Rogers are discussed. More than 200 photographs (90 new to this edition) and 30,000 words of additional material are included, covering unresolved aspects of Trigger’s story, controversies surrounding the sale of the Roy Roger’s Museum collection and the fate of his legacy.
The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, 2017–2018
Edited by William M. Simons
Widely acknowledged as the preeminent gathering of baseball scholars, the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture has made significant contributions to baseball research. This collection of 15 new essays selected from the 2017 and the 2018 symposia examines topics whose importance extend beyond the ballpark. Presented in six parts, the essays explore baseball’s cultural and social history and analyze the tools that encourage a more sophisticated understanding of baseball as a game and enterprise.
The Many Lives of The Evil Dead: Essays on the Cult Film Franchise
Edited by Ron Riekki and Jeffrey A. Sartain
One of the top-grossing independent films of all time, The Evil Dead (1981) sparked a worldwide cult following, resulting in sequels, remakes, musicals, comic books, conventions, video games and a television series.
Examining the legacy of one of the all-time great horror films, this collection of new essays covers the franchise from a range of perspectives. Topics include The Evil Dead as punk rock cinema, the Deadites’ (demon-possessed undead) place in the American zombie tradition, the powers and limitations of Deadites, evil as affect, and the films’ satire of neoliberal individualism.
In the mid-1950s, to combat declining theater attendance, film distributors began releasing pre-packaged genre double-bills—including many horror and science fiction double features. Though many of these films were low-budget and low-end, others, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Horror of Dracula and The Fly, became bona fide classics. Beginning with Universal-International’s 1955 pairing of Revenge of the Creature and Cult of the Cobra, 147 officially sanctioned horror and sci-fi double-bills were released over a 20-year period. This book presents these double features year-by-year, and includes production details, historical notes, and critical commentary for each film.
Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company
“This superb encyclopedia is likely the definitive work on Britain’s most celebrated genre-film producer…skilfully compact prose shares space with tons of illustrations, including rare foreign-market posters…a voluminous index ensures that you won’t get lost navigating this giant tome…this is such an appealing book that it’s practically guaranteed to find its way into readers’ hands. A major achievement that can only strengthen its subject’s reputation.”—Booklist (starred review)
Director F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, made in 1921, right after the devastating Spanish Flu pandemic, has become the ultimate cult classic among horror film buffs around the world. For years there was much speculation about the production background, the filmmakers, and their star, the German actor Max Schreck. This book tells the complete story drawing on rare sources. This book tells the complete story, drawing on rare sources. The trail leads to a group of occultists with a plan to establish a leading film company that would produce a momentous series of horror movies. Along the way, the author touches upon other classic German fantasy silents, such as The Golem, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis.
Nuts About Squirrels: The Rodents That Conquered Popular Culture
Don H. Corrigan
Squirrels have made numerous appearances in mass media over the years, from Beatrix Potter’s Nutkin and Timmy Tiptoes, to Rocky the flying squirrel of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and to Conker and Squirrel Girl of video game fame. This book examines how squirrel legends from centuries ago have found new life through contemporary popular culture, with a focus on the various portrayals of these wily creatures in books, newspapers, television, movies, public relations, advertising and video games.
The Kelvin Timeline of Star Trek: Essays on J.J. Abrams’ Final Frontier
Edited by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell and Ace G. Pilkington
In an era of reboots, restarts and retreads, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek trilogy—featuring new, prequel adventures of Kirk, Spock and the rest of the original series characters, aboard the USS Enterprise—has brought the franchise to a new generation and perfected a process that is increasingly central to entertainment media: reinvigorating the beloved classic.
This collection of new essays offers the first in-depth analysis of the new trilogy and the vision of the next generation of Star Trek film-makers. Issues of gender, race, politics, economics, technology and morality—always key themes of the franchise—are explored in the 21st century context of “The Kelvin Timeline.”
In 2002, the Cedarville School Board in Crawford County, Arkansas, ordered the removal of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books from library shelves, holding that “witchcraft or sorcery [should not] be available for study.” The Board picked some formidable adversaries. School librarian Estella Roberts, standing on policy, had the books reviewed—and unanimously approved—by a committee of teachers and administrators that included a child and a parent. Not satisfied with the Board’s half-measure permitting access to the books with parental approval, 4th-grader Dakota Counts and her father Bill Counts sued the school district in Federal court, drawing on the precedent Pico v. Island Trees to reaffirm that Constitutional rights apply to school libraries. Written by the lawyer who prosecuted the case, this book details the origins of the book ban and the civil procedures and legal arguments that restored the First Amendment in Cedarville.
Cantor William Sharlin: Musical Revolutionary of Reform Judaism
Jonathan L. Friedmann
William Sharlin (1920–2012) was a cantor, synagogue composer, teacher and musicologist. Raised in an Orthodox household, he turned toward Universalism and the liberal Reform movement. A member of the first graduating class of the first cantorial school in America, he was a founding member of the American Conference of Cantors and is recognized as the first to play a guitar in the synagogue. Sharlin developed the Department of Sacred Music at HUC in Los Angeles, where he taught for 40 years, trained women to be cantors before they were allowed in the seminary, and spent nearly four decades at Leo Baeck Temple.
Drawing on interviews conducted with Sharlin late in life, the author chronicles the career of one of the most inventive and creative figures in the history of the cantorate.
The Culture and Art of Death in 19th Century America
D. Tulla Lightfoot
Nineteenth-century Victorian-era mourning rituals—long and elaborate public funerals, the wearing of lavishly somber mourning clothes, and families posing for portraits with deceased loved ones—are often depicted as bizarre or scary. But behind many such customs were rational or spiritual meanings.
This book offers an in-depth explanation at how death affected American society and the creative ways in which people responded to it. The author discusses such topics as mediums as performance artists and postmortem painters and photographers, and draws a connection between death and the emergence of three-dimensional media.
Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980–1989
The Italian Gothic horror genre underwent many changes in the 1980s, with masters such as Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda dying or retiring and young filmmakers such as Lamberto Bava (Macabro, Demons) and Michele Soavi (The Church) surfacing.
Horror films proved commercially successful in the first half of the decade thanks to Dario Argento (both as director and producer) and Lucio Fulci, but the rise of made-for-TV products has resulted in the gradual disappearance of genre products from the big screen.
This book examines all the Italian Gothic films of the 1980s. It includes previously unpublished trivia and production data taken from official archive papers, original scripts and interviews with filmmakers, actors and scriptwriters. The entries include a complete cast and crew list, plot summary, production history and analysis. Two appendices list direct-to-video releases and made-for-TV films.
Perspectives on Digital Comics: Theoretical, Critical and Pedagogical Essays
Edited by Jeffrey SJ Kirchoff and Mike P. Cook
This collection of new essays explores various ways of reading, interpreting and using digital comics. Contributors discuss comics made specifically for web consumption, and also digital reproductions of print-comics. Written for those who may not be familiar with digital comics or digital comic scholarship, the essays cover perspectives on reading, criticism and analysis of specific titles, the global reach of digital comics, and how they can be used in educational settings.
Electric Airplanes and Drones: A History
“Certainly one of the most comprehensive histories of electric aviation and drones to date…engaging…extensive…thorough…a highly readable scholarly history relevant to aviation enthusiasts, students, or researchers…highly recommended.”
Field Recordings of Black Singers and Musicians: An Annotated Discography of Artists from West Africa, the Caribbean and the Eastern and Southern United States, 1901–1943
“This is an important reference source…highly recommended.”
“I’m Just a Comic Book Boy”: Essays on the Intersection of Comics and Punk
Edited by Christopher B. Field, Keegan Lannon, Michael David MacBride and Christopher C. Douglas
Comics and the punk movement are inextricably linked—each has a foundational do-it-yourself ethos and a nonconformist spirit defiant of authority. This collection of new essays provides for the first time a thorough analysis of the intersections between comics and punk. The contributors expand the discussion beyond the familiar U.S. and UK scenes to include the influence punk has had on comics produced in other countries, such as Spain and Turkey.
In this jam-packed jamboree of conversations, more than 60 movie veterans describe their experiences on the sets of some of the world’s most beloved sci-fi and horror movies and television series. Including groundbreaking oldies (Flash Gordon, One Million B.C.); 1950s and 1960s milestones (The War of the Worlds, Psycho, House of Usher); classic schlock (Queen of Outer Space, Attack of the Crab Monsters); and cult TV favorites (Lost in Space, Land of the Giants), the discussions offer a frank and fascinating behind-the-scenes look.
Among the interviewees: Roger Corman, Pamela Duncan, Richard and Alex Gordon, Tony “Dr. Lao” Randall, Troy Donahue, Sid Melton, Fess Parker, Nan Peterson, Alan Young, John “Bud” Cardos, and dozens more.
American International Pictures was in many ways the “missing link” between big-budget Hollywood studios, “poverty-row” B-movie factories and low-rent exploitation movie distributors. AIP first targeted teen audiences with science fiction, horror and fantasy, but soon grew to encompass many genres and demographics—at times, it was indistinguishable from many of the “major” studios.
From Abby to Zontar, this filmography lists more than 800 feature films, television series and TV specials by AIP and its partners and subsidiaries. Special attention is given to American International Television (the TV arm of AIP) and an appendix lists the complete AITV catalog. The author also discusses films produced by founders James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff after they left the company.
Show Business Homicides: An Encyclopedia, 1908–2009
David K. Frasier
A companion volume to the author’s Suicide in the Entertainment Industry: An Encyclopedia of 840 Twentieth Century Cases (2002), this reference work chronicles 298 cases of what can be broadly defined as “celebrity” homicides from the early twentieth century onward. Cases are drawn from the realms of film, theatre, music, dance and other entertainment fields. In each instance, the person was either the actual or suspected perpetrator or the victim of a murder.
Included are entries on such well-known personalities as film comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, actress Sharon Tate, music producer Phil Spector, rap artist Notorious B.I.G., and superstar Michael Jackson. Each entry covers the crime, its legal disposition, and the subject’s personal and professional background, comprehensively documented with notes and a separate bibliography.
Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy
Gregory William Mank
In 1944, Laird Cregar played Jack the Ripper in The Lodger, giving one of the most haunting performances in Hollywood history. It was the climax of a strange celebrity that saw the young American actor—who stood 6’ 3” and weighed more than 300 pounds—earn distinction as a portrayer of psychopaths and villains. Determined to break free of this typecasting, he desperately desired to become “a beautiful man,” embarking on an extreme diet that killed him at 31. This first biography of Cregar tells the heartbreaking story of the brilliant but doomed actor. Appendices cover his film, theatre, and radio work. Many never before published photographs are included. The limited hardcover edition is available here.
Country Boy: A Biography of Albert Lee
Best known for his unique musical style and blindingly fast hybrid picking technique, English guitarist Albert Lee is often referred to within the music industry as the “guitar player’s guitar player,” renowned for his work across several genres of music and for the respect that he has garnered from other industry giants.
This comprehensive biography tells the entire story of Lee’s long career and personal experiences, beginning with his upbringing in south London and his early experimentations with skiffle music (the British equivalent of American rockabilly). It covers Lee’s career in Chris Farlowe’s Thunderbirds and the British rock and country group Heads, Hands, and Feet, his move to the United States in the 1970s and his subsequent work with Eric Clapton, the Crickets, Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band, the Everly Brothers, and, more recently, with Bill Wyman and with Hogan’s Heroes. Lee’s career is set against the background of changes in popular music and shows how he, as a British artist with nomadic Romany roots, has influenced traditionally “American” musical genres. The work includes 66 photographs, many from Lee’s personal collection, two appendices, and an extensive bibliography.
In 1938, Superman debuted, jumping off the pages of Action Comics #1. In the cultural context of the Great Depression and World War II, the U.S. would see the rise of the superhero not only in comic books but in radio programs, animated cartoons and television shows. Superman forever changed one’s concept of the hero and became permanently engrained in both American and worldwide culture.
This study explores the Man of Steel’s narrative as a fresh perspective on readings of the Bible—his character is reflected in such figures as Moses, Samson and Jesus. The author argues that if we read the Bible it can be said we are reading about Superman.
Abbott and Costello on the Home Front: A Critical Study of the Wartime Films
Scott Allen Nollen
As two of the most popular entertainers of the mid-century film industry, comic greats Bud Abbott and Lou Costello offered an essential balm to the American public following the sorrows of the Great Depression and during the trauma of World War II. This is the first book to focus in detail on the immensely popular wartime films of Abbott and Costello, discussing the production, content, and reception of 18 films within the context of wartime events on the home front and abroad. The films covered include the service comedies Buck Privates, In the Navy, and Keep ’Em Flying; more mainstream comic relief films such as Pardon My Sarong and Who Done It?; and post-war experiments such as Little Giant and The Time of Their Lives. More than 120 stills and lobby cards from the author’s personal collection illustrate the text, including many showing outtakes or deleted scenes.
The Horror Comic Never Dies: A Grisly History
Horror comics were among the first comic books published—ghastly tales that soon developed an avid young readership, along with a bad reputation. Parent groups, psychologists, even the United States government joined in a crusade to wipe out the horror comics industry—and they almost succeeded. Yet the genre survived and flourished, from the 1950s to today.
This history covers the tribulations endured by horror comics creators and the broader impact on the comics industry. The genre’s ultimate success helped launch the careers of many of the biggest names in comics. Their stories and the stories of other key players are included, along with a few surprises.
The Art of American Screen Acting, 1960 to Today
Modern screen acting in English is dominated by two key figures: Method acting guru Lee Strasberg—who taught the “the art of experiencing” over “the art of representing”—and English theater titan Laurence Olivier, who once said of the Method’s immersive approach, “try acting, it’s so much easier.”
This book explores in detail the work of such method actors as Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn, Jack Nicholson and Jane Fonda, and charts the shift away from the more internally focused Strasberg-based acting of the 1970s, and towards the more “external” way of working, exemplified by the career of Meryl Streep in the 1980s.
Snakes in American Culture: A Hisstory
Jesse C. Donahue and Conor Shaw-Draves
The literature on snakes is manifold but overwhelmingly centered on the natural sciences. Little has been published about them in the fields of popular culture or the history of medicine.
Focusing primarily on American culture and history from the 1800s, this study draws on a wide range of sources—including newspaper archives, medical journals, and archives from the Smithsonian Institute—to examine the complex relationship between snakes and humans.
Elder Horror: Essays on Film’s Frightening Images of Aging
Edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper
As baby boomers gray, cinematic depictions of aging and the aged are on the rise. In the horror genre, fears of growing old take on fantastic proportions. Elderly characters are portrayed as either eccentric harbingers of doom—the crone who stops at nothing to restore her youth, the ancient ancestor who haunts the living—or as frail victims.
This collection of new essays explores how various filmic portrayals of aging, as an inescapable horror destined to overtake us all, reflect our complex attitudes toward growing old, along with its social, psychological and economic consequences.
The Body, the Dance and the Text: Essays on Performance and the Margins of History
Edited by Brynn Wein Shiovitz
This collection of new essays explores the many ways in which writing relates to corporeality and how the two work together to create, resist or mark the body of the “Other.” Contributors draw on varied backgrounds to examine different movement practices. They focus on movement as a meaning-making process, including the choreographic act of writing. The challenges faced by marginalized bodies are discussed, along with the ability of a body to question, contest and re-write historical narratives.
Neil “Soapy” Castles: Memoir of a Life in NASCAR and the Movies
Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles with Perry Allen Wood
Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and became involved in its pioneering auto racing scene at an early age. Graduating from soapbox derby cars to midgets and sprints and finally to stock cars, he sometimes crashed, sometimes won, saw friends die horribly, and became a champion.
Eventually he left the racetrack for Hollywood where he became a stuntman working alongside such stars as Rory Calhoun, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, Richard Pryor and Andy Griffith. In the 1990s, groundwater contamination at Castle’s truck repair business from an Exxon oil storage facility cost him an eye and most of his lungs. His decade-long class action lawsuit won him millions in compensation. Now in his mid-eighties, Castles is still going strong, procuring vehicles for movie and television projects.
McFarland’s biographies and memoirs cover the fascinating life stories of both iconic personalities and quiet heroes. On sale now, browse hundreds of titles from history, sports, movies, music, science & technology, literature, military history, transportation and more. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code BIOGRAPHY, print editions of all biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are 20% off now through February 15.
Film Appreciation through Genres
Michael Patrick Gillespie
Our love of films often leads us to discuss them in enthusiastic, if not necessarily sophisticated, conversations. Many moviegoers want a better understanding so that they might better articulate their experiences. This midpoint between theorizing and plot summary is not difficult to achieve.
Since their introduction just before the turn of the 20th century, the vast majority of narrative films have followed the same structure—now known as Classic Hollywood Cinema. This book examines what “classic” means, particularly in Westerns, gangster films, film noir, horror, science fiction, slapstick comedy and screwball comedy/romance. The reader is introduced to concepts of film theory, which leads to a better and deeper appreciation of the movies. A 20-page comprehensive industry glossary of film terms is included for easy reference.
Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Joyce, E.M. Forster and Ingmar Bergman all made the paranormal essential to their depiction of humanity. Freud recognized telepathy as an everyday phenomenon. Observations on parapsychological aspects of psychoanalysis also include the findings of the Mesmerists, Jung, Ferenczi and Eisenbud.
Many academicians attribute such psychic discoveries to “poetic license” rather than to accurate understanding of our parapsychological capacities. The author—a practicing psychoanalyst and parapsychologist, and a lawyer familiar with Navajo culture—argues for a fresh appraisal of psi phenomena and their integration into psychoanalytic theory and clinical work, literary studies and anthropology.
Tony Scott: A Filmmaker on Fire
Tony Scott got his start as a film director when he joined his brother at the lucrative commercial directing company Ridley Scott Associates. After directing Top Gun—his second film, which changed not only the trajectory of his own life but of the entire action-movie industry—Scott’s career would be a roller coaster of blockbuster hits, personal films and confounding failures.
With extensive research and original interviews with actors, cinematographers and writers, this book documents Tony Scott’s larger-than-life persona from his early days to his untimely death, which left a hole in genre filmmaking yet to be filled.
How did Hawaiian and Polynesian culture come to dramatically alter American music, fashion and decor, as well as ideas about race, in less than a century? It began with mainland hula and musical performances in the late 19th century, rose dramatically as millions shipped to Hawaii during the Pacific War, then made big leap with the advent of low-cost air travel.
By the end of the 1950s, mainlanders were hosting tiki parties, listening to exotic music, lazing on rattan furniture in Hawaiian shirts and, of course, surfing. The author describes how this cultural conquest came about and the people and events that led to it.
Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend
Gene Kiniski (1928–2010) was internationally known to a generation of wrestling fans and to Canadians everywhere as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete.” Older fans and wrestling historians remember him best for his accomplishments in the ring, his run-’em-over approach to the game, his growly demeanor, and his razor wit he could unleash at will. Drawing on recollections from fellow wrestlers, promoters, and friends, this first biography of Kiniski gives a full account of the life of a champion pro wrestler who won over fans throughout the U.S., Canada, and Japan in a career spanning more than three decades.
Giving deserved attention to nearly 150 neglected films, this book covers early sound era features, serials and documentaries with genre elements of horror, science fiction and fantasy, from major and minor studios and independents.
Full credits, synopses, critical analyses and contemporary reviews are provided for The Blue Light, The Cat Creeps, College Scandal, Cosmic Voyage, The Dragon Murder Case, The Haunted Barn, Lost Gods, Murder in the Red Barn, The New Gulliver, Return of the Terror, Seven Footprints to Satan, S.O.S. Iceberg, While the Patient Slept, The White Hell of Pitz Palu and many others.
Conflicts among Hollywood studios and exhibitors have been going on for years. At their heart are questions about how films should be released—where, when and at what speed. Both sides of this disagreement are losers, with exhibitors using the law via various Consent Decrees and studios retaliating by tightly controlling output.
In the Silent Era, movies were not released nearly as widely as they are now. This book tells the story of how the few became the many. It explores the contraction of the release cycle, the maximization of the marketing dollar, and the democratization of consumer access. It also offers a comprehensive list of wide releases and rebuts much of what previous scholars have found.
Our spring 2019 new books catalog is now available—click here to browse our forthcoming titles!
Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company
Think you know everything there is to know about Hammer Films, the fabled “Studio that Dripped Blood?” The lowdown on all the imperishable classics of horror, like The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula and The Devil Rides Out? What about the company’s less blood-curdling back catalog? What about the musicals, comedies and travelogues, the fantasies and historical epics—not to mention the pirate adventures? This lavishly illustrated encyclopedia covers every Hammer film and television production in thorough detail, including budgets, shooting schedules, publicity and more, along with all the actors, supporting players, writers, directors, producers, composers and technicians. Packed with quotes, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, credit lists and production specifics, this all-inclusive reference work is the last word on this cherished cinematic institution.
Hoping to follow his Laurel and Hardy success with a female comedy team, producer Hal Roach paired Thelma Todd with ZaSu Pitts in a 1931 series of two-reel shorts. Pitts left the studio for other pursuits, was replaced by Patsy Kelly and the series continued to be successful. Todd died under mysterious circumstances in 1935 and Kelly tried to carry on, first with Pert Kelton, then with Lyda Roberti. When Roberti died in 1938, the series ended.
This book takes the first film-by-film look at each of the comedies these women made, how they responded to different directors and how production adapted to changes along the way. Credits, production information, period reviews, and critical assessments are included.
Holy Horror: The Bible and Fear in Movies
Steve A. Wiggins
What, exactly, makes us afraid? Is it monsters, gore, the unknown? Perhaps it’s a biblical sense of malice, lurking unnoticed in the corners of horror films. Holy Writ attempts to ward off aliens, ghosts, witches, psychopaths and demons, yet it often becomes a source of evil itself.
Looking first at Psycho (1960) and continuing through 2010, this book analyzes the starring and supporting roles of the Good Book in horror films, monster movies and thrillers to discover why it incites such fear. In a culture with high biblical awareness and low biblical literacy, horrific portrayals can greatly influence an audience’s canonical beliefs.
What makes a successful comics creator? How can storytelling stay exciting and innovative? How can genres be kept vital?
Writers and artists in the highly competitive U.S. comics mainstream have always had to explore these questions but they were especially pressing in the 1980s. As comics readers grew older they started calling for more sophisticated stories. They were also no longer just following the adventures of popular characters—writers and artists with distinctive styles were in demand. DC Comics and Marvel went looking for such mavericks and found them in the United Kingdom. Creators like Alan Moore (Watchmen, Saga of the Swamp Thing), Grant Morrison (The Invisibles, Flex Mentallo) and Garth Ennis (Preacher) migrated from the anarchical British comics industry to the U.S. mainstream and shook up the status quo yet came to rely on the genius of the American system.
Gene Hackman: The Life and Work
Gene Hackman (b. 1930) has been described as the best actor of his generation. During almost half a century as an American film, television and stage actor, film producer and author, he was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning the Best Actor for The French Connection (1971) and the Best Supporting Actor for Unforgiven (1992), as well as three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs. This study examines his film work in detail, with a filmography/videography included.
Immersive theater calls upon audience members to become participants, actors and “others.” It traditionally offers binary roles—that of oppressor or that of victim—and thereby stands the risk of simplifying complex social situations.
Challenging such binaries, this book articulates theatrical “grey zones” when addressing juvenile detention, wartime interventions and immigration processes. It presents scripts and strategies for directors and playwrights who want to create theatrical environments that are immersive and pedagogical; aesthetically evocative and politically provocative; simple and complex.
The day-by-day inside story of the making of Tombstone (1993) as told to the author by those who were there—actors, extras, crew members, Buckaroos, historians and everyone in between. Historical context that inspired Kevin Jarre’s screenplay is included. Production designers, cameramen, costume designers, composers, illustrators, screenwriter, journalists, set dressers, prop masters, medics, stuntmen and many others share their recollections—many never-before-told—of filming this epic Western.
The holidays are a special time at McFarland—in addition to publishing scholarship, many of us also participate in the tree harvest, as Ashe County produces more Christmas trees than any other county in the United States. If you live in the Southeast, you may have a little bit of McFarland in your living room right now! This season, please consider putting some McFarland under the tree for the readers in your life. To make your holiday shopping easier, we’re offering 25% off of ALL books through the end of the year! On our website, use coupon code HOLIDAY18, or call us at 800-253-2187. For inspiration, browse our new catalog of of gift ideas for readers. Happy holidays from your friends at McFarland!
A Wanderer by Trade: Gender in the Songs of Bob Dylan
Many of Bob Dylan’s most well-known works date from the 1960s, and can be seen as critical indicators of the changes in American society then and since. This book explores the unthreading of ideas about masculinity, femininity, sexuality, and identity through the lens of some of Dylan’s most popular love songs. The author revealingly employs specific aspects of cultural theory to explore the appeal of Bob Dylan’s music both now and during the time it was written.
“Wizard rock”—music based on the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling—is an idiosyncratic subgenre, with band names like Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys and The Whomping Willows. Drawing on input from insiders and fans, and interviews with more than a dozen wizard rockers, this book explores the history and aesthetics of the movement. An appendix lists dozens of popular bands, members and discographies: a must-have for fandom scholars and wizard rock devotees alike.
Part memoir, part dance history and ethnography, this critical study explores ballet’s power to inspire and to embody ideas about politics, race, women’s agency, and spiritual experience.
The author knows that dance relates to life in powerful individual and communal ways, reflecting culture and embodying new ideas. Although ballet can appear (and sometimes is) elite and exclusionary, it also has revolutionary potential.