Book Review: Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays: 1920-1970 by Karie Bible & Mary Mallory

It's a wonderful celebration of a bygone era.
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Joseph Campbell is quoted telling others to follow their bliss and fans of Classic Hollywood should be glad co-authors Karie Bible and Mary Mallory have heeded that advice as their own love for the era and its stars have led to them sharing photographs from their collections, which they found by “scouring eBay, searching vintage paper shows, and visiting movie collectible stores,” as revealed in the book’s Introduction.  The objects of their shared desire compromise the majority of the images in Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays 1920-1970 from Schiffer Publishing.

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The book is a treasure trove of 221 fantastic photos, with the subjects predominantly actresses and the film predominantly in black and white.  Starting with Myrna Loy posing asleep with an unidentified Baby New Year 1927, the chapters move through the year with “Valentine’s Day” and “St. Patrick’s Day,” but before the anticipated “Easter,” there’s the brief catch-all chapter, “Miscellaneous Holidays,” that groups together a few images, such as Gloria De Haven for Memorial Day, Bebe Daniels for George Washington’s Birthday, and Judith Barrett leaping in conjunction with the non-holiday Leap Year. 

The detour continues with the patriotic “Hollywood Goes to War” where actresses showed their support for the troops during World War II and some famous faces from “Television” are gathered for their own abbreviated run through the year, from The Tonight Show gang, including original musical director Skitch Henderson through to Christmas with The Munsters. 

The chapter headings return to the holiday theme with “Easter,” presenting actresses with bunnies, lilies, and a few photos acknowledging the religious holiday.  After the “Fourth of July,” the book jumps ahead to close out with the calendar’s three biggest remaining holidays: “Halloween,” “Thanksgiving,” and “Christmas,” with the latter chapter being the book's largest and Annette Funicello getting the honor of closing things out.

It’s a lot of fun flipping through the pages and finding familiar faces, and even those not familiar depending on one’s knowledge of Hollywood trivia, in unusual settings staged for the photo shoots.  Regardless of a reader’s aforementioned familiarity, the authors identify all the participants with brief biographical blurbs and where applicable, the versos (text on the back side of the photos) are shared as well.

Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays 1920-1970 is a wonderful celebration of a bygone era.  Fans of that time will find it a joyful addition to their library and might even be spurred to become fellow photograph collectors alongside the authors.

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