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Going Movie Crazy Again

Leonard Maltin By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin October 1, 2012 at 1:00AM

A decade ago I launched a newsletter for old-movie buffs. I’ve had a ball doing it, but I haven’t been able to maintain a regular publishing schedule. Last month I vowed to catch up a bit, so now there are two new issues hot off the press, #29 and #30. My leading story is a two-part exploration of how the 1941 Warner Bros. movie 'Blues in the Night' came about.
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Leonard Maltin Movie Crazy Newsletter

A decade ago I launched a newsletter for old-movie buffs. I’ve had a ball doing it, but I haven’t been able to maintain a regular publishing schedule. Last month I vowed to catch up a bit, so now there aretwo new issues hot off the press, #29 and #30. My leading story is a two-part exploration of how the 1941 Warner Bros. movie Blues in the Night came about. I wondered if it was screenwriter Robert Rossen’s attempt to tell the story of jazz, or if the great Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer song of the same name inspired it. I learned the answers to those and many other (unasked) questions as I pored over the Warners production files held at the USC Doheny Library Special Collections. The saga takes many interesting turns, and involves personages as diverse as Elia Kazan, Ginger Rogers, and Rudyard Kipling!

Issue 29 also features the conclusion of my long-ago interview with director George Sidney, who discusses everything from working with the Our Gang kids to rigging a camera to film underwater with Esther Williams. Among the visual odds and ends you’ll find some rare behind-the-scenes photos and an array of vintage movie collectibles. (Do you think Jimmy Cagney and Yvonne DeCarlo knew how to thread a 16mm projector? Wait and see.)

Issue 30 wraps up the story of Birth of the Blues and presents part one of a lengthy conversation with veteran actress Peggy Webber, a radio stalwart in her teens who worked with the likes of Basil Rathbone and Herbert Marshall and became a favorite of directors ranging from Orson Welles to Jack Webb. There are anecdotes I reckon you haven’t read before. And again I’ve fleshed out our pages with collectibles from the silent era onward, including promotional blotters and a Charlie Chaplin puzzler.

Because of the erratic nature of our publishing schedule, I feel it’s wrong to accept subscription money anymore, so we’re going to sell each issue individually. You can get all the relevant information HERE, as well as a rundown of our back issues. PayPal is available, but we also take old-fashioned checks by mail.

People inevitably ask me why I continue to work on a printed publication when I have a website already. Call me old fashioned (go ahead!) but I still like the feel of a magazine in my hands, and the ability to pick it up and put it down at will. If you agree, I hope you’ll give Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy a try.

This article is related to: Journal, Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy, Warner Bros. , Peggy Webber, George Sidney, Robert Rossen, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen