As a long-time fan and former reader of fan magazines, I was very excited to see this book by Anthony Slide. I previously enjoyed his book "Nitrate Won't Wait," about film preservation. Somehow this latest volume missed the mark for me. The main problem seemed to be a lack of organization. At times the story of the fan magazine was presented chronologically, at other times thematically. But it seemed to jump around a great deal from subject to subject, from magazine to magazine, from year to year. At times there seemed to be an over-emphasis on trivia concerning certain writers and long-forgotten titles, many of which were short-lived and somewhat beside the point.
The leading fan magazines for many years were Photoplay, Modern Screen, Motion Picture, and a few others, such as Silver Screen, Screenland, etc. The magazines began in the silent days, reaching a peak of beauty in the 1920s and 1930s, and continuing to thrive into the 1940s and 1950s. By the 1960s, however, the form was on a downhill run, with the decline of the studio system, the rise of television, and a move towards titillating headlines and an obsession with Jackie Onassis. By the end of the 1970s the major titles were out of business and the fan magazine field pretty much over, although celebrity journalism has certainly thrived in other formats since then.
Interviews with Rona Barrett and David Ragan were interesting and welcome, but only told part of the story.
Movie magazines were great fun to read and look at, and additional photographs of movie magazine covers through the years would have been a welcome addition.
The rise, golden years, and fall of the fan magazines is a fascinating story, but too much of that fascination is left out of this book. I enjoyed it, but wanted more.