09 August 2005

thx again Mr. Blum

when I was 15 I wrote to Daniel Blum thanking him for his books. I'd discoverd them at Elyria Public Library & they opend up the histories of theater & film for me.

today Blum's books get short shrift from academics because they were heavier on illustration than text. but that's probably why so many fans of stage & screen found them irresistible.

& to my generation of gay men his books had a special significance. Blum had an eye for hot men. the less the costume the better the chances for an actor to be featurd in his pages. in A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen we're treatd to Doug Fairbanks' bare butt   Valentino's bulge   George O'Brien's chest. that book was pubishd when I was 10. 5 years later came A Pictorial History of the Talkies with its famous photos of John Payne in boxing trunks & Aldo Ray in a bathing suit.

lest one think Blum satisfies only my prurience allow me to note that his annuals -- Theater World & Screen World -- continue to be among my most-consultd reference works.

Blum has been dead for 42 years. I hope he got many letters like the one I wrote.

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