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Showmen, Sell It Hot!

Movies as Merchandise in the Golden Era of Hollywood


by John McElwee


ISBN: 978-0-9711685-9-6

July, 2013

hardcover with dust jacket
301 pages

125 full color and 244 B&W images



"Every chapter of this lavishly illustrated volume is packed with information that was new to me and fascinating to learn. I can't say enough about this entertaining book or the ongoing research John McElwee offers at his site."

Leonard Maltin

Author, Film Historian, and television personality


"John McElwee's Showmen, Sell It Hot! deals with the sensual business of selling a movie. It looks, feels, and smells like the lavish movie books of yore. It's elegantly designed, beautifully printed, and, as content should follow form, it's engagingly written, transporting the reader to a time when a theater manager had to be as much of a showman as the producer of the film he was exhibiting."


Mark A. Viera

Author of Harlow in HollywoodThe Blonde Bombshell

in the Glamour Capital, 1928-1937Irving Thalberg:

Boy Wonder to Producer Prince, and many other books


Buy the ebook.


Based on his multi-million-visit blog and with new content and many rare and previously unseen images, Hollywood historian John McElwee takes a first-time look at the campaigns to sell the motion pictures generated by Hollywood's fabled movie factories. A network of showmen brought these campaigns to life on behalf of theatres large and small in thousands of locations around the United States and represented the unsung heroes of the motion picture industry. This lavishly illustrated, 304-page hardcover takes a marketing approach to the making and merchandising of important Hollywood pictures. Topics include Erich von Stroheim's mutilated Foolish Wives; selling sex and salaciousness in the "pre-Code" era; the astonishing reissue success of King Kong; new sensations Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Flying Down to Rio; the Marx Brothers start over at MGM with A Night at the Opera; MGM's packaging of Saratoga following the death of Jean Harlow; the powerhouse 1938 combination of Dracula and Frankenstein; Jesse James holds up the box office for decades with strong regional selling; the making and selling of The Wizard of Oz in 1939 and its theatrical rebirth in 1948 and 1955 before television took over; the emergence of John Wayne as an 'A'-picture action star in Stagecoach; maverick filmmaker Orson Welles strikes out with his Citizen Kane launch; World War II propaganda pictures and tag lines like "Slap the Jap"; the Val Lewton Thinking-Man's Shockers; the unusual campaign for an unusual picture about Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard; making sweet box-office music with the sanitized The Glenn Miller Story; selling Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, and East of Eden after James Dean's death; a new genre, "Fashion Noir," takes off with Midnight Lace and Portrait in Black; Alfred Hitchcock's big gamble: Psycho; ghoulish, hijinx-laden campaigns for Hammer vampire pictures; selling the shocker, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?; the brilliance of the Bonnie and Clyde ad campaign; and many more.


Errol & Olivia

Ego & Obsession in Golden Era Hollywood


by Robert Matzen


ISBN: 978-0-9711685-8-9

October, 2010

hardcover with dust jacket
209 pages; 200 color and black-and-white photos


Watch the Errol & Olivia book trailer.

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Olivia de Havilland had just turned 19 when she stepped onto a soundstage for a screen test with 26-year-old Errol Flynn. The attraction was mutual and instant, and the resulting chemistry changed the course of their lives. Their eight films as a team earned Warner Bros. Studios $10 million in profits in six short years during the Great Depression.

Conflicts marked the association of Errol and Olivia, onscreen and off. He was a married playboy; she was a loner determined to build her career. Jack Warner placed them together in production after production until Olivia grew weary of typecasting and Errol grew jealous of her aspirations to be more than "Errol Flynn's girl."


In 1937 he proposed marriage; Olivia demanded that he divorce Lili Damita before any such overtures could be entertained. Errol and Olivia began production of The Adventures of Robin Hood just a few months later, and who should show up on location 350 miles from Hollywood but a suddenly dutiful Lili Damita.


But Flynn and de Havilland were more than would-be lovers; they were also friends. In 1939 he stuck by her during her demotion to a supporting role in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and Jack Warner's campaign to place her in internal exile within the walls of the studio.


In 1940 the relationship of Errol and Olivia became supercharged and the two began to quarrel on location and on the main street of Warner Bros. Studios. Each vowed never to work with the other again, only to grow closer than ever a year later.


Meticulously researched by bestselling author Robert Matzen, Errol & Olivia tells the story of the love team's eight films together and their tumultuous relationship off-screen, including a heartbreaking last meeting in Hollywood in 1957.

Errol Flynn Slept Here

The Flynns, the Hamblens, Rick Nelson & the

Most Notorious House in Hollywood


by Robert Matzen and Michael Mazzone


ISBN: 978-0-9711685-7-2 

February, 2009

hardcover with dust jacket
184 pages; 200 color and black-and-white photos


"Just when you think every bit of Hollywood history and lore has been explored, along comes a book that's inventive, surprising and impossible to put down..."
Leonard Maltin, Author and Film Historian



Turner Classic Movies UK


Watch the Errol Flynn Slept Here book trailer.

Buy the ebook.


Acclaimed by Hollywood scholars and reviewers of popular culture, the best-selling, full-color hardcover Errol Flynn Slept Here tells the story of Mulholland Farm, Errol Flynn's mountaintop home built in 1941 and Flynn's base of operations for 11 years. This volume represents the only coffee-table hardcover about a Hollywood house and takes us within the walls, and within the mind, of its designer and chief occupant, Errol Flynn, at a time when he reigned as the top adventure-film star in Hollywood. From its elegant design to unexpected secret passageways to two-way mirrors and listening devices, the home of Errol Flynn has to be seen to be believed.


Mulholland Farm was next owned by radio star and songwriter Stuart Hamblin, and finally by television and rock 'n' roll music legend Rick Nelson and his children, Tracy, Matthew, and Gunnar. Rick, a lifelong fan of Errol Flynn, died tragically in a plane crash while still in ownership of Mulholland Farm. Another aspect of the house: Members of the Hamblen and Nelson families claim it was haunted, beginning the night that Errol Flynn died. The strange story within a story unfolded as the authors conducted interviews with three generations of occupants of Mulholland Farm. Because of our coverage of the haunting in Errol Flynn Slept Here, the Arts & Entertainment Network asked GoodKnight Books to consult on the development of its Tracy Nelson/Mulholland Farm segment of Celebrity Ghost Stories. GoodKnight provided information and still photographs for this segment.


Errol Flynn Slept Here includes nearly 200 photos, most of them previously unpublished. 

Travels with My Father

Life, Death & a Psychic Detective


by Nancy Myer


ISBN: 978-0-9885025-0-5

October, 2013

hardcover with dust jacket
227 pages


Buy the ebook.


Have you ever wondered...

  • What's it like to be psychic?
  • How can psychic abilities be developed?
  • What happens to the soul after death?
  • Are ghosts real?

Psychic Nancy Myer (formerly Nancy Czetli) knows the answers to these questions. Nancy is the author of the 1993 hardcover, Silent Witness: The Story of a Psychic Detective (New York: Birch Lane Press), and knew from an early age that she was different from other people. She could feel things that others couldn't; she could connect with nature and with those who had died. She could see the past—and the future, and was labeled a “star child.” Her father possessed some of these intuitive abilities as well, and it was his passing and return visits from “the other side of life” that unlocked the true nature and extraordinary gifts of one of America's most important psychic investigators.

Travels with My Father traces Nancy Myer’s evolution as a person with psychic abilities, her struggle to accept the intuitive gifts she was given, and her desire to lead a “normal” life raising three energetic children. When the highest-ranking official in the Delaware State Police asks her to use those psychic gifts to help solve murder cases, Nancy’s normal life turns upside down, and she begins an unorthodox career that forces her to deal with what she calls “the worst of humanity.” Her intuitive gifts have stunned even the most skeptical law enforcement officials and to date, she has consulted on about 800 missing-person and murder cases, often receiving guidance and support from the ghost of her father in the form of whispers in the ear or in-person visits.

Part love story and part mystery, with vivid descriptions of some of her toughest criminal cases, Travels with My Father explores the most profound questions of the universe: What is our purpose here on earth? What happens at the end of a lifetime? Where does the soul go?

As Nancy reveals in the remarkable story of her relationship with her father, before his death and after, the end isn’t really an end at all, but merely a transition to new worlds. And as she details in recounting many travels with her father, and his return to both Nancy and her mother, "Death can't stop love."

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