From Smell-O-Vision to Astrocolor, the Film Industry’s Biggest Innovation Flops

Moviegoers familiarize themselves with the joystick that will allow them to interact with the film ‘I’m Your Man’ during its premiere on Dec. 16, 1992. AP Photo/Richard Harbus        By (left-to-right) Dr. Leo Braudy, Dr. Scott Higgins, Dr. Stephen Groening, and Dr. Thomas Delapa / 02.28.2018 Braudy: Leo S. Bing chair in English and American Literature, University of[…]

The History of the Hollywood Sign: Public Nuisance to Symbol of Stardom

George Brich/AP Photo By Dr. Leo Braudy / 03.01.2018 Leo S. Bing chair in English and American Literature Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences University of Southern California Every year at the Oscars, the cameras pan to the famed Hollywood sign and its bold white letters. Ask someone today what the sign symbolizes, and the same[…]

Are Movies a Good Way to Learn History?

Daniel Day-Lewis won the 2012 Academy Award for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Is Spielberg’s historical drama a good way to learn about the 16th U.S. president? Touchstone Pictures By Dr. Scott Alan Metzger / 05.16.2017 Assistant Professor of Education Pennsylvania State University Hollywood loves history. At last year’s Academy Awards, three nominees for Best Picture (“Fences,”[…]

The Cinematic After-Life of an Unidentified Skeleton

Halloween skeleton from PublicDomanPictures.net By Dolly Stolze / 10.20.2017 I recently read an article by John Squires, published in 2014, over at Halloween Love about how Dawn of the Dead unintentionally featured a real dead person.  Some of the movie crew rented what they probably thought was a fake skeleton from a costume shop when they filmed in Pittsburgh in 1978.  But[…]

When do Moviegoers Become Pilgrims?

Pilgrims at Lourdes. Nick Thompson By Dr. S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate / 07.31.2017 Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies Hamilton College Among the millions of travelers heading out for the summer holidays, some are choosing an unlikely destination: a rusted bus on the edge of the Alaskan wilderness. Fairbanks Bus 142 (aka the “magic bus”) is where the 24-year[…]

The Story of Anna May Wong, Internationally Acclaimed Actress

Anna May Wong was the first Chinese-American movie star and the first Asian-American actress to gain international fame. She used her fame and influence to talk about and protest the racist practices in Hollywood, protesting against racist depictions of Chinese characters, and opening up more significant and starring roles for herself and many actors of[…]

The Superbowl’s Evolution from Football Game to Entertainment Extravaganza

Fireworks go off before Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. Andrew Kelly/Reuters   By Dr. Peter M. Hopsickler and Dr. Mark Dyreson / 02.02.2017 Hopsickler: Associate Professor of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University Dyreson: Professor of Kinesiology, Affiliate Professor of History, Pennsylvania State University In just 50 years, the Super Bowl[…]

How ‘Star Trek’ Almost Failed to Launch

The Starship Enterprise, the famed setting of the original ‘Star Trek’ series, was almost lost to the graveyard of failed pilots. / alanoodle.com By Dr. Stephen Benedict Tyson / 09.06.2016 Associate Professor of Political Science University of Connecticut Fifty years ago – on Sept. 8, 1966 – TV viewers were transfixed by the appearance on[…]