By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin December 3, 2009 at 1:19AM
An Illustrated History and Catalog of Songs Inspired by the Movies and Stars,
with List of Recordings by Ken Wlaschin
This book is right up my alley: I love silent movies, I collect sheet music related to films, and I’m fascinated with the way Tin Pan Alley songwriters chronicled the birth and growth of movies as part of our culture.Ken Wlaschin has captured all of that and more in this loving, well-informed, profusely illustrated volume.
If you don’t already know “Take Your Girlie to the Movies” or “Since Sarah Saw Theda Bara,” this historical odyssey will open your eyes—and ears—to a wonderful world of clever lyrics, social trends, and savvy commercial exploitation. The book opens with a year-by-year chronology of the silent-film era, followed by an annotated listing of movie stars (and occasional filmmakers) citing the songs associated with them during their heyday. Did you know there was a song inspired by Thomas A. Ince’s epic Civilization? (I didn’t, either.) A survey of recordings and a bibliography round out this valuable book, which I’m sure I will consult for many years to come...but unlike some reference guides it’s also great fun to browse.(McFarland & Co.)