Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Thrilling Days of Yesteryear giveaways continue…

…with the latest victors in Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s “Homefront Charlie” giveaway.  They are faithful TDOY reader and supporter Mike Galbreath from the wilds of Michigan, and a man the Los Angeles Times calls “the closest equivalent of Joe Wambaugh yet”—none other than author Paul Bishop, who blogs at the eclectically entertaining Bish’s Beat.  Congrats to the pair of you, and thanks to all who entered—I got such an enthusiastic response that I only wish I was able to dole out such OTR largesse to everyone who dropped me an e-mail.

I promised yesterday that there would be more free swag to give away, and this week’s contest is going to be a bit different in that we’re going to move away from the old-time radio scene and edge closer to the world of classic movies.  (Okay, that’s not entirely accurate—the individual who’s at the center of our contest actually did quite a bit of OTR, including a series on ABC Radio in 1952 called Café Istanbul and a program the following year on CBS, Time for Love.)  You might have caught that little teaser on TCM last month that runs between movies and lets you know what’s shakin’ in the world of classic film—the selection for the channel’s Classic Book Corner was the newly published biography MARLENE: Marlene Dietrich – A Personal Biography, penned by author Charlotte Chandler.

Her name is synonymous with the glamour, sophistication, and attitude of Old Hollywood.  Her face and voice, as gorgeously unconventional as they were beloved. And her story is as enthralling as the classic motion pictures—from Morocco to Shanghai Express to Blonde Venus to Destry Rides Again—in which she enraptured audiences the world over.

No one knew Marlene Dietrich’s life better than the actress herself—and few other artists could match her candor, vigor, and sense of uncanny mirth.  So biographer Charlotte Chandler charts the wisest possible course in MARLENE: Marlene Dietrich – A Personal Biography (Simon & Schuster; March 29, 2011; $26.00), and lets the star do most of the talking.

Chandler draws on extensive personal interviews with Dietrich and numerous other luminaries of the entertainment industry to tell the fascinating story of the little girl born Maria Magdalene Dietrich in Berlin in 1901.  Far more than a mere recounting of the highlights of a remarkable life, Chandler’s book shows us how Dietrich and those around her felt about the great star’s career, and uncovers a trove of sometimes incredible anecdotes.

These stories make MARLENE a marvelous portrait of a unique woman—a star who truly deserved stardom, who was equally at home flirting with Ernest Hemingway and Joseph Kennedy, or on her knees in a hairnet, scrubbing the kitchen floor.  Billy Wilder called Charlotte Chandler’s biography of Groucho Marx “absolutely authentic, beautifully researched, a joy to read,” and this latest effort is no different from her lauded examinations of celebrities like Federico Fellini, Joan Crawford, and Ingrid Bergman.  For aficionados of the classic silver screen, fans of Hollywood history, and anyone who simply values a peek into an amazing person’s interior life, this book is a must.

Thanks to the generosity of Simon & Schuster, I have a brand spanking new copy of this amazing book to give away (a $26.00 value) – it hasn’t even come out of the package, sitting on the counter next to the voluminous shelves of DVDs known as the dusty Thrilling Days of Yesteryear archives.  All you have to do to enter is send me an e-mail with “Marlene giveaway” in the header before next Wednesday (April 27), 11:59pm EDT and say something like “I’d really like to have this volume in my hot little hands” or some clever variation of such.  The winner will be chosen (if did not exist, we’d have to go back to my mom pulling names out of a hat) and informed on Thursday morning, and the prize will be mailed forthwith (I’m actually getting better at getting this stuff mailed out in a timely fashion).  You don’t have to reveal your mailing address until you’re sure you’ve won if you so desire, and of course, I will shameless exploit your triumph for the purposes of this blog (unless you’d rather I not, which would be okay with me).

It’s a book no self-respecting classic movie fan should leave off their shelf, and once again I want to thank Simon & Schuster for giving me an opportunity to get a free copy to one lucky winner.  Don’t delay…enter today!

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