Showmen e-kit

Showmen, Sell It Hot!
Movies as Merchandise in Golden Era Hollywood


by John McElwee

  • Published by GoodKnight Books, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Galleys February 2013; hardcover July 1, 2013
  • 301 pages with 125 color and 244 black-and-white photos
  • ISBN: 978-0-9711685-9-6
  • WINNER of 2013 USA Book Award in the category of History: Media & Entertainment

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Showmen book cover

John McElwee photo



Hollywood historian John McElwee takes a unique and unusual look at the production and distribution of the most beloved motion pictures generated by the fabled movie factories. Pop culture influences generated the making of pictures from Frankenstein to Citizen Kane to Bonnie and Clyde and John takes a look deep inside studio walls at the forces at work to create movies that became masterpieces. Once the pictures were edited and ready for release, a network of "showmen" brought marketing campaigns to life on behalf of theatres large and small in thousands of locations around the United States. These showmen or "exhibitors" represented the unsung heroes of the motion picture industry.


Showmen, Sell It Hot! is a lavishly illustrated, 304-page hardcover that takes an intimate look at stars, filmmakers, and executives who made and merchandised the most important Hollywood pictures of all time. See the evolution of the American cinema from the free-for-all silent era to the 1930s when Hollywood flexed its muscles, the 1940s when Hollywood went to war, the 1950s when television barged into the scene and the movie stars went gray, and the 1960s when the Production Code fell by the wayside and sex and violence took over.


Learn about the sometimes crazy, spontaneous production of movies now considered "classic," and the rough-and-tumble men and women who ran theaters across America and responded to the Depression, censorship, World War II, the Cold War, television, and the counterculture movement as once or twice a week new pictures came to town and the marquee changed. With 125 full color and 244 black-and-white images, this is a volume that will leave you wanting more!



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