Entertainment History

Charles Addams, Part 1

Charles Addams was a compelling figure. He visited cemeteries for fun, he raced cars, he collected crossbows. But Addams surprised a lot of people in not being a an elusive proto-goth. He was a dapper, sociable, irreverent delight.

Peg Entwistle, Ghost of Hollywood

Her story is often told in a sort of sloppy shorthand: She went to Los Angeles to become an actress, failed, and then became desperate. But that isn’t a really accurate picture of Peg Entwistle at all. 





Interview: Mindy Johnson and the Women of Disney, Pt. 2

In part two of this interview, Mindy busts some myths about women and their work in the Walt Disney Studio, and shares some stories of how new techniques were developed by color animators. The topic also turns to the  1941 labor strike at the Walt Disney Studios that forever changed the company. 

Interview: Mindy Johnson and the Women of Disney, Pt. 1

Mindy Johnson has spent years tracking down the stories of the women who shaped Walt Disney's life, and the success of the Walt Disney Studios. She contextualizes the lives and contributions of these women in the larger historical picture. 




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.