Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gods of Grindhouse

GODS OF GRINDHOUSE: INTERVIEWS WITH EXPLOITATION FILMMAKERS by Andrew J. Rausch has been reviewed on BookPleasures.


You can read the review here:


And you can order the book here:



We will shortly be publishing A BLIND BARGAIN by Philip J. Riley.

A BLIND BARGAIN by Philip J. Riley

"A Blind Bargain" Goldwyn, 1922 is a lost film. Its importance lies in the way Chaney's dual role - (that of a mad scientist and an ape like assistant, the failure of an earlier experiment)embodies many of the elements responsible for Chaney's latter roles.
Unless the fates are kind, it's unlikely that any of us will be offered a glimpse of "A Blind Bargain" in filmic form.

Introduction by Robert Bloch - The Master of Gothic Horror writes about the Master of Cinema Horror
Also contains a preface by Patsy Ruth Miller - Chaney's co star in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Plus "Finding a Few More Faces - by film historian and silent film musical accompanist.
The first in-depth look at Lon Chaney's make up box as it exists today the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History.
The complete shooting script
A still reconstruction of the actual film
Pressbook, behind the scenes photographs an Notes on the reconstruction of the film.

You can pre-order the book here:


We will shortly be publishing a new book entitled AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL PICTURES: THE GOLDEN YEARS by Gary A. Smith.



In the mid-Fifties, American International Pictures was the self-proclaimed "Infant of the Industry" and, as such, was not perceived as a serious threat to the major studios of the time. AIP soon proved themselves very worthy opponents as their youth-oriented double features began raking in big bucks that rivaled and sometimes surpassed the profits of their competitors.  The company's founders were James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff and during the years they worked together as a team AIP turned out their most imaginative movies, including I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Beach Party, and the Roger Corman/Vincent Price Poe films. This is the story of those years told mainly using the material gathered by AIPs New York publicist.

You can pre-order the book here:


We are pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of FROZEN IN ICE: THE STORY OF WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS, 1966-1985 by Mark Arnold.


When Walt Disney died in 1966, many predicted that it might be the end of Walt Disney Productions, but Walt had a number of ideas and concepts that lasted well into the next decade. He also left behind a well-established group of workers that hoped to continually answer the question, “What would Walt do?” with more magical creations that would dazzle and delight.

With this book, author and historian Mark Arnold explores the major accomplishments of Walt Disney Productions during the years 1966 – 1985, paying particular attention to their theatrical film output, but also discussing the various new theme park attractions and the TV shows produced during that period.

Things went well until the mid-1970s, when ideas started to run thin and repetition set in, causing shrinking box office success. By the 1980s, threats of corporate takeover were knocking at their door, at which time change had become unavoidable if Disney were to survive as an independent company.

Disney had to change their already outdated methods of making movies and running a movie studio geared solely towards family entertainment. As a result, Michael Eisner took over and retooled Disney into the mega-empire that it is today. This is the story after Walt and before Michael…

You can pre-order the book here:


We are pleased to announce the forthcoming release of REMAINS TO BE SEEN by Christopher Knopf.

REMAINS TO BE SEEN by Christopher Knopf

"David "Scott" Fitzgerald, a blue-ribbon feature writer for a major New York monthly magazine, is fired for an insidious act of literary corruption. No one will hire him. Possessions repossessed, desperate, down to his last can
of tuna, Scott finds himself approached by a multi-billionaire, Hugo Medlock, who hires Scott for his mendacity to secure the one thing in the world Medlock cannot secure for himself. Taken into a world he quickly discovers he knows nothing about, Scott finds himself encountering forces far more deadly than anything he'd imagined."

You can pre-order the book here:

Philip J Riley and Bill Kaffenberger

We are delighted that two BearManor authors will appear on the Far Out Radio show this week.


On Wednesday, Bill Kaffenberger will be talking about his book (co-authored with Gary D. Rhodes), NO TRAVELER RETURNS: THE LOST YEARS OF BELA LUGOSI.  Then on Friday, Philip J Riley will be on to talk about his many books, including POSTER ART FROM CLASSIC MONSTER FILMS.

You can tune into the show here:
Visit http://www.FarOutRadio.com

You can order Bill's book here:


And Phil's here:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bernard A. Drew

JINGLE OF THE SILVER SPURS: THE HOPALONG CASSIDY RADIO PROGRAM, 1950-52 by Bernard A. Drew has been reviewed on Henry's Western Round-up.

You can read the review here:  http://www.henryswesternroundup.blogspot.com/2013/10/new-ford-and-hitchcock-treasures-found.html

You can order a copy of the book here:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Charles Tranberg


Charles Tranberg, author of FREDRIC MARCH: A CONSUMMATE ACTOR, was recently interviewed for website Let’s Misbehave: A Tribute to Pre-Code Hollywood.

You can read the interview here: 

And you can order the book from our website:

Bill Kaffenberger


Bill Kaffenberger, co-author (with Gary D. Rhodes) of NO TRAVELER RETURNS: THE LOST YEARS OF BELA LUGOSI, was recently interviewed on Virginia Voice, where he spoke about his book.

You can find out more here:
And afterwards, why not head to our website to order the book for yourself?  Here is the link:


New Book - Verna Felton

We are pleased to announce the publication of VERNA FELTON by Fredrick Tucker.

VERNA FELTON by Fredrick Tucker

Today Verna Felton is most remembered for the voice characterizations she created for six Walt Disney features, but this biography reveals a varied career spanning sixty-five years.  Twice nominated for an Emmy, Verna endeared herself to TV audiences of the 1950s as Hilda Crocker on Desilu's December Bride.  Before that, she was in constant demand as a radio voice artist, supporting the likes of Jack Benny, Judy Canova, and Red Skelton.  Fredrick Tucker chronicles her rise to fame, from phenomenal child actress to her final quarter century as one of Hollywood's most beloved character actresses.  The book also features an abundance of rare photographs and several appendices, including a never-before-published episode guide for December Bride.

"How often do we pick up an item, check its sell-by date and base our purchase decision on a time stamp? Fredrick Tucker's extraordinary tribute to Verna Felton titled simply Verna Felton has no sell-by date. Sometimes we just feel the need for laughter or the simple desire to lose ourselves in a make-believe place. The author has obviously felt that urge; clearly Verna has served as Tucker's guide.

If you asked the average passerby on the street to identify the name Verna Felton, it would be a safe bet you would receive a puzzled stare and an incorrect answer. The average person on the street inhabits the here and now universe of the likes of Lady Gaga not the more nostalgic realm of Verna Felton.

Verna Felton is a substantial book in more ways than one; it runs to 760 pages. The author candidly admits in a note at the beginning that his decision to write a book on the life of Felton was constantly challenged by friends and associates. Why write an entire book on a secondary player? Why devote such time and effort chronicling the life of a second banana? And the author's response: Why not write a biography of Verna Felton? In the pages that follow, Fredrick Tucker admirably justifies that decision. Here we have a detailed account of the life and career of someone who was comfortable in the limelight but not someone who craved or hogged center stage. That is a distinction worth noting.

Clearly, the author, a history teacher by profession, set out on an extensive expedition in order to produce this volume. Verna Felton is well-packed with illustrations: publicity stills, and personal photos. The biography assumes a traditional chronological path as Verna's life and career is revealed to the reader.

Verna Felton left us forty-four years ago. When she departed, she took several memorable characters with her. Characters who entertained audiences and made them laugh during some particularly unfunny and stressful moments in our country's past. They are all chronicled in these pages, the characters into which Verna breathed life and spirit and her personal sense of identity. Verna Felton offers readers a chance to reacquaint themselves with some of her stellar inventions or, in many cases, meet these notables for the first time. Verna and her many incarnations parade unceasingly through the pages of Tucker's homage. We meet the formidable Mrs. Day, Jack Benny's nemesis and Dennis Day's on-air mother. Once again the Mean Widdle Kid's Na-maw takes a bow. The feisty Hilda Crocker takes one more curtain call. The Queen of Hearts, Mrs. Potts, Pearl Slaphoople, Blossom Blimp and a legion of Verna's alter egos from stage, screen, radio and television are documented between the covers. As a special bonus, the reader is treated to a richly annotated guide to the December Bride television series in which Verna Felton's inestimable Hilda Crocker convulsed an entire generation of television viewers.

Filled with a wealth of detail and a sense of respect and admiration, Verna Felton defines not only a remarkable character actress but also showcases the industry of which she was a part during its days of splendor.

A successful biography offers the reader an intimate glimpse of the author's obsession. This volume clearly accomplishes that goal. We meet 'Little Verna Felton,' age ten, making her debut on the stage of Fischer's Concert House, San Francisco in 1900. The reader figuratively stands in the wings observing the vast body of Verna's radio work, the reason for Radio Life presenting Verna with its Distinguished Achievement Award as the 'outstanding feminine supporting player' during 1945-1946. And the reader comes to understand why Verna was selected honorary Mayor of North Hollywood for six terms.

Verna Felton the biography is fully as robust, as entertaining and as multi-layered as Verna Felton the actress. The doubters who questioned the wisdom of an entire volume devoted to Felton were wrong. In an era where audiences applaud the likes of Lady Gaga there are still some of us who would rather warm up the Philco and sit back and laugh as Mrs. Day assails Jack Benny, one more time, for only paying Dennis a miserly $35 a week."

- SPERDVAC's Radiogram

You can order the book here:

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Book - To Laughter With Questions

We are pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of TO LAUGHTER WITH QUESTIONS: POETRY by Shelley Berman.


What is a comedian doing writing poetry? I often ask myself the same question. I suppose it’s just something I can’t help doing. In fact, I have always written. As a kid growing up in Chicago, I wrote stories for my own amusement. Later, when work as an actor was scarce, I wrote for Steve Allen. Along the way, I read and appreciated poetry, but never really tried my hand at writing it until late in my “other” career, teaching writing in USC’s Master of Professional Writing program. From there, I continued to write on any subject that caught my fancy. At last, I had enough poems to put together to create this collection. In it you will find poems of all sorts, serious, not-so-serious, poems to teach and poems to amuse. Most of my poetry is free verse, although you will also find a few rhyming poems, one trying to teach iambic pentameter, and a few limericks. All of it, however, comes from my own experience. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it."

- Shelley Berman

SHELLEY BERMAN is a Grammy® Award and three-time gold record award-winning comedian, and an Emmy® Award-nominated actor with hundreds of stage, film and television appearances to his credit. He has authored three books, two plays, several TV pilot scripts, and numerous poems, many of which are being presented for the first time in this collection. For over twenty years, Shelley taught humor writing in the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California, where he is now a Lecturer Emeritus. He lives in Bell Canyon, California with his wife, Sarah.

You can order the book from our website:


You can order the audio copy here:

Todd Tarbox


We recently caught up with BearManor author Todd Tarbox, who shared with us that Classicmoviechat.com have given ORSON WELLES AND ROGER HILL: A FRIENDSHIP IN THREE ACTS a mention on their blog.

You can see the article here:

Todd has also told us that Sight and Sound will be reviewing the book in their November 2013 issue.

You can order a copy of the book here:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Joel Blumberg and Sandra Grabman

LLOYD NOLAN: AN ACTOR'S LIFE WITH MEANING by Joel Blumberg and Sandra Grabman has been released as an audio book.


This audio book is a downloadable 440 MB file (compressed) in MP3 format. After you check out, we'll provide instructions on how to download this product.

Lloyd Nolan could play any character in any genre and was believable to every role. He was not acting; he was just real. He was Inspector Briggs in The House on 92nd Street and The Street With No Name. He was Dr. Swain in Peyton Place and, even as a bad guy, he was Lt. De Garmot in Lady in the Lake.

Nolan's off-screen life was just as remarkable. He was devoted to his autistic son Jay and, when young Jay died in an accident 2500 miles away, Lloyd channelled his grief into action. For the rest of his life, he did everything he could to better the lives of disabled people and their families, and such people are still benefitting from the resulting legislation today.

This is the story of the two lives of Lloyd Nolan--his prolific on-screen life that is so familiar to moviegoers and television fans alike, and his off-screen life that has positively affected many throughout the country. His was a true Hollywood success story of a role model extraordinaire!

You can order the audio here:

And you can order the paperback here:

William R Chemerka

GENERAL JOSEPH WARREN REVERE: THE GOTHIC SAGA OF PAUL REVERE'S GRANDSON by WIlliam R. Chemerka has been reviewed in the October issue of the Civil War News.


You can read the review here:
And you can order a copy of the book here:

Author of the Week - Antoinette Girgenti Lane

We are thrilled that Antoinette Girgenti Lane, author of GUY WILLIAMS: THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK, has very kindly agreed to be our Author of the Week.

1)  What is your background and why did you decide to become a writer?
Having grown up in a very small town in Louisiana, I had a limited knowledge of the world until I began reading.”There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away,” (Emily Dickinson). When I was a teenager my love affair with words began with Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights), Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre), Anya Seton (Katherine), Annemarie Selinko (Désirée). Later it was Tennessee Williams who gave me a love and appreciation for the rhythms and beats created by certain words and phrases.

I wrote poems for my parents when I was a child, and I have kept a diary since I was 13.  I wrote the school news for the local paper in my Junior and Senior years of High School and when I moved to California I spent a lot of time writing letters to people back home. When a special lady, to whom I dedicated my book, told me how much she enjoyed my letters and told me she thought I was a very good writer, I was a bit surprised but took it to heart. Although my major was Fine Arts,  I began to realize that I had more of a drive and needed to write.  By the time I was inspired to take on the task of writing Guy Williams’ biography, I had written a few articles and knew I loved to write.
2)  What books have you written for BearManor, and what are they about?

Guy Williams: The Man Behind the Mask is the first and only book I have written and had published. It is the first complete biography of this important actor of television and movies who arrived in Hollywood just before the end of the contract player system.
3)  Why did you choose this particular subject?

While watching reruns of Zorro in the late 1980s, I became infatuated with Guy Williams and curious about what happened to him; where he was; how he got into acting etc.  My husband is an actor, which is what brought us from New Orleans to Los Angeles, so this fueled my curiosity. Then when I learned Guy Williams was Italian like myself and his real last name, Catalano, was a variation of my Grandmother’s last name, Catalanotto, I knew why I had a strong feeling of affinity to him. I tried to find information about him, but my searches led to nothing but fluff from some Disney publications and I wanted to know the man. One day I happened to meet a devoted Guy Williams fan who had a treasure trove of a collection on him, which she was willing to share with me. I knew then that I had to take on the task of writing his biography myself if I wanted it to ever be done.
When Guy Williams died suddenly in 1989 before I had a chance to meet him, I felt honored that my letter of grief to the Los Angeles Times regarding his obituary, was the only one that was printed. I wanted my book to serve as a tribute to him.


4)  How long did it take you to write it, and did you find it an easy task?
It is difficult to say how long it took, but easy for me to say I did not find it an easy task. When I began, the Internet was not available. Lots of letter writing, phone calls, library time reading biographies and how-to books, perusing newspapers on microfilm and so forth was very time consuming, and went on for years.  I had a family, a husband and four children, that took a lot of my time while this “project” was ongoing, but it was a diversion that I enjoyed doing. I had never done this before and was learning by doing.

Finally, when I had access to the Almighty Internet in 1995, things began happening at a faster pace, making it easier to collect important information and make contacts for interviews.  It was a daunting task to cold call celebrities and interview those who costarred with Guy Williams, but a relief to find them warm and cooperative.
It was when I met Guy’s family in 1995 that things really got rolling.  Nine years and two months after that meeting my book was published; finding its way to the desk of Ben Ohmart at BearManor. And, yes, before that there were many rejection letters in my file.

When you really want to do something, you overcome “not easy”.
5)   What can we expect to find in your book?

My book reveals interesting facts about the Hollywood system from the late 1940s through the 1950s. The reader follows the actor’s journey from boyhood in a humble New York apartment with Italian immigrant parents, to stardom in Hollywood.  Readers will see the complex and fascinating personality of Guy Williams; contrast and compare his real life to his on-screen persona as a hero (Zorro) and father figure (Lost in Space).  Readers will find out how his career had a rebirth after he was seemingly forgotten, and will find answers to many commonly asked questions about his untimely death in Argentina - often referred to as “mysterious”.
6) What would you say is the most interesting thing about being a writer?

People! I find their lives, and their journeys extremely interesting.  I have a shameless curiosity about people I meet; asking questions at the risk of being rude.
7) Do you have a website, blog etc, where readers can find you?

Yes,  two:

Here is Antoinette at the Palos Verdes Library in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, during their 2nd Annual Book Fair featuring local authors, which took place on September 29, 2013

8) Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Fulfillment. While working on the book, the Internet proved to me that there was a big fan base all over the world for Guy Williams, longing to know all they could about him. My objective was to write the most comprehensive and complete biography of a man, so that the reader would feel they have met him and know him.  So, when persons who knew Guy tell me they can’t believe I never met him because I was spot on, or fans tell me how grateful they are to me for satisfying their questions and curiosity, I know I have fulfilled my goal.  This is extremely gratifying.

Just before publication of my book, these devoted fans helped make it possible for Guy Williams to receive one of the few posthumously given Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2001) and in 2011 he finally officially became a Disney Legend; all well-deserved, and long overdue honors. I wish he could have lived to see them.
What amazed me the most during the process of writing this book was experiencing the fact that when you focus deeply on a goal, the things you need and want for your project come to you like fibers to a magnet. It is somewhat magical.  

Thank you so much for inviting me to be Author of the Week. It is a privilege and honor.
It was an honor for us too Antoinette!!! Thank you!
You can order a copy of Antoinette's book, here:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Author of the Week - Jason Hill

We would like to thank Jason Hill for agreeing to be our Author of the Week.
1)      What is your background?
I must say that my background is very complicated so I’ll just give you the short version.  I was born in what was soon to become war-torn Germany.  In 1944 my family and I came to America because my father was wanted to work on the Manhattan Project.  How that was accomplished is a long story. 
After completing my formal education at an aviation school I returned to Europe where I was employed by KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) as a co-pilot and flight engineer.  Three years later I returned to the USA where I worked as a pilot and mechanic for an additional 16 years.  Part of what I did during that time was to perform as a movie double in several films that required a pilot.

From there I drifted into recording and not too long after that into radio as an audio engineer and a broadcaster.  I created a show called Life in the Past Lane which I was able to syndicate in several mid-western outlets.  Since that time I have been semi-retired, but I still write constantly. 
Why did I become a writer?  I guess, to some extent I always have been.  It is just over the past few years that I decided to test the market with some of my scribbling.  My greatest incentive to do this was the constant urging I received from my good friend Norman Corwin over the past 25 years until he left us with aching hearts and a ton of memories a couple of years ago. 
2)      What books have you written for BearManor Media and what they are about?
The book, or I should say three books, are based on my old radio show and the knowledge I gained as a media historian.  By doing in-depth interviews with over 80 people deeply involved in the media in one way or another I learned that all of them, without exception, were very generous with their time and quite easy to converse with.  I never ran into any ego problems.

3)      Why did you pick this subject matter?

That is an easy question to answer.  It was because I could.  I have written other books based loosely on my flying days that are still searching for the right publisher, but Bear Manor Media was a natural choice for these three.  There is a strong possibility of a fourth book for them about some specifics of the Blacklisting era. 

4)      How long did it take, and how easy was it to write the book?

The actual putting together of the first drafts was a bit tedious, but relatively easy.  In spite of the fact that the interviews all took place in the late 80s I have the good fortune to still have air-checks (On air recordings) of most of them.  I was able to simply transcribe them and then write around them.  They are the main thrust of my three volume series. 

5)      What can we expect to find in your book?
You will find a great deal of information of a bygone era.  I not only spoke with actors and performers.  I also included writers, producers, directors and musicians, including one agent and personal manager.  Without them the actors would have been silent.  I tried to cover a wide spectrum of show business activity from theatre, music and movies to radio and television.  The greatest emphasis is on radio, but the others are in there as well.

6)      What is the most interesting thing about being a writer?

I think the best thing about it is that, if you are going to be successful, your mind never shuts down.  I am always thinking about new ideas and approaches to the ever present myriad of subject matter.  Even when I go to sleep at night I am still contemplating the next project or working out details for the current one.  I keep a note pad by my bed in order to write down some of the ideas that come to me in my dreams while they are still fresh in my mind.  Probably the most important facet of any writing is to do the necessary research involved in any storyline.  There will always be someone who will catch even the smallest error. 
7)      Do you have anything you would like to add?

Yes there is.  One of the side benefits of doing all of the interviews is that I developed some long term friendships from them.  One of them that I mentioned was Norman Corwin.  When I wanted to talk with him I was a little afraid because he had long been one of my idols.  As it turned out, we were communicating by letter, phone and email for 25 years.  My last conversation with him took place just two days before he passed away at the age of 101.  I also have a steady friend in Janet Waldo who is still keeping very busy doing cartoon voices as well as many other things. 

Most of the people I spoke with have since left our world, but some of them stayed in touch.  One of those was Evelyn Keyes who I found by accident when she answered Artie Shaw’s phone.  I never got a chance to talk with Artie, but Evelyn became a good friend.  There were many others. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Richard Yokley

We are happy to report that BearManor author Richard Yokley will be appearing at 'A Celebration of Firefighting and EMS in Books & Films' on 20th October.  He will be signing copies of his book, 'The First Responders of Television.'

Here's all you need to know:

If you are unable to attend the event, copies of the book are available from our website:

Joe Martelle

RADIO PRO: RADIO PROS & LEGENDS SHARE THEIR SECRETS TO SUCCESS by Joe Martelle has been featured on the Jockline website recently.  Here is what the article had to say:


Longtime Host Silenced By Voice Loss, Speaks Up In 739 Page Advice Book
THE MOUTH, OCTOBER 4TH, 2013 –– As Jockline Daily first mentioned last December, after an on-air career of 41 years, silenced in 2004 by his voice loss, legendary Radio Pro, Joe Martelle spent 7 years writing the definitive book on How to be a real radio personality. Now, following a soft launch, 'Radio Pro- How to be a Real Air Personality' is available for purchase. Joe's own successful 41 year on-air career which began in Augusta, Maine and transcended to some of America's top radio markets, like, Boston, Cincinnati, Houston and South Florida paints a vivid picture and compelling story of his love for radio, but he doesn't hesitate to describe the many pitfalls and disappointments one faces in the exciting, but often stressful life and times of a radio personality! It's all here in Radio Pro, 739 pages and 21 chapters detailing the sweet highs and bitter lows. Including Joe's never say die attitude and his numerous comebacks after being side-lined by serious illnesses. Radio Pro shares many life-lessons particularly the importance of never giving up and to always follow your dreams no matter how many obstacles may be placed in your way! Minneapolis Moring radio pro, Dave Ryan adds, "When I opened to a random page, I was glued! Joe's book will be read by generations of Radio Pros to come." Radio Pro is available from the publisher, www.bearmanormedia.com or at a 20% discount directly from Joe at www.joemartelle@aol.com
You can order a copy of the book here: