READING RESPONSE for 10/3/2010

Fuller – Chapters 7 and 8

Movie fan magazines started off without a very clear intended audience or a very broad range of content. They were comprised solely of fictional movie plots transcribed into prose, and were aimed toward both men and women of all ages. They started to make changes quite quickly, and within a decade were aimed toward a very specific sub-group of American culture: women. The magazines went from including the technological medium of filmmaking as an art, to focusing almost solely on the spectacle of the star and drama that was contained within the movies. “This redefinition … accommodated women and girls more easily than men.” (p. 144)

Something I found particularly interesting in these two chapters of Fuller’s book was the depth in which she described The Answer Man in 1910’s Motion Picture Story Magazine. To me, the most intriguing piece of information Fuller provided was that this man “declined to answer some of his readers’ most prying questions about players’ marital status and personal habits, which the MPSM staff judged to be too invasive of players’ privacy.” (p. 141) Most of the Hollywood news that we hear today is about celebrity gossip of this nature, so this show just how much these columns have changed. These magazines weren’t the fan magazines we think of today, like People and The National Enquierer. They aimed toward a more sophisticated palate and were not as interested in the “juicy gossip.” Only in September of 1915, according to Fuller, did Motion Picture Classic begin writing about “film actors’ private lives.”