Entertainment History

Julian Eltinge, Greatest of All Impersonators of Women

Eltinge was one of the highest-paid and most famous actors of the early 20th century, and acted alongside Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino. What made him famous was his skill at female impersonation.

The Colorful Life of Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda is one of those historical figures who remains hugely iconic – we STILL see her image, or some derivative of it, on a regular basis. She was luminous on camera and an excellent singer, with a personality much larger than her small stature.

Winsor McCay, Part 2

Even as his career in comics was at its zenith, Winsor McCay continued to explore other business ventures for his art. He added vaudeville performances to his busy schedule, and then became an animation pioneer. 

Winsor McCay, Part 1

McCay is credited as a pioneer in early animation. But before he made drawings come to life, he worked as a billboard artist, an artist-journalist, and then a comics creator for newspapers. 

James Whale

James Whale created iconic films in the early half of the 20th century. He's one of the main reasons that Universal Pictures became synonymous with the horror genre. But his interests as a creator were far wider than creating gothic spook stories.

Frank Lenz, the Cyclist Who Vanished

In the 1890s, Frank Lenz started a bicycle tour around the world. He never finished, and his ultimate fate remains uncertain, though there are pretty solid clues indicating how he met his end. 

Lotte Reiniger's Shadow Animation

Lotte was interested in silhouettes and paper cutting from the time she was a child. And she developed that interest into animation, and created the first feature-length animated film in the 1920s.

Wendell Scott: Black NASCAR Driver in the Jim Crow Era, Pt. 2

Scott eventually managed to break into NASCAR racing, becoming the first black driver to do so. His career was a constant struggle, as he paid his own way and often had to be his own pit crew while competing against sponsored drivers. 

Wendell Scott: Black NASCAR Driver in the Jim Crow Era, Pt. 1


Wendell Scott was a black driver from the early days of NASCAR. After driving a taxi, working as a mechanic, and hauling moonshine, he started racing in the Dixie Circuit and other non-NASCAR races in Virginia.







The Lumière Brothers, Part 2

Despite the huge impact the Lumières made with their multi-function motion picture camera, they didn't stay in the movie business. Louis went back to photography, and Auguste took a very different path.