Extras of Early Hollywood

A History of the Crowd, 1913–1945

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SKU: 9780786473304 Categories: ,

About the Book

Pity the “extras.” Mostly overlooked and forgotten. Especially those in the major Hollywood films 1913 to 1945—right through the dream factory’s golden era. The struggles of extras to unionize were followed by internal struggles as the extras fought for a voice within that union. There were just too few jobs for far too many extras, some of whom were lured to Hollywood by what seemed to be rags-to-riches tales of stardom (but which were likely little more than industry publicity plants). Once lured to the film capital the reality was much different: low pay, little or no work, ripoffs from private employment agencies, and sexual harassment of the women, likely very much underreported. Some extras had special skills or language abilities, some had wardrobes replete with many period costumes.

About the Author(s)

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking, shoplifting and ticket-scalping. He lives in British Columbia.

Bibliographic Details

Kerry Segrave
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 196
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7330-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0215-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

Introduction 3

1. Conditions, Agents and Governments 5

2. Central Casting Bureau 31

3. Morals and Corruption 44

4. A Surplus of Extras 64

5. Unions 84

6. Rags to Riches 114

7. Wages and Statistics 137

8. Conclusion 149

Statistical Appendix 155

Chapter Notes 165

Bibliography 175

Index 185

Book Reviews & Awards

“an informative look…the quintessential reference of the subject”—Examiner.com.