Sunday, July 15, 2012

Author Steve Bingen at the Silver Screen Oasis in July

The Silver Screen Oasis is pleased to announce that Steve Bingen, co-author of the popular MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot and Warner Bros.: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of will be the July Guest Star visiting the site and answering your questions for the weekend of July 20th-July 22nd. The thread devoted to the Q & A with Mr. Bingen can be seen at the thread posted below.If you would like, you are welcome to register and post your own question there or just enjoy reading the exchanges with Mr. Bingen, beginning tomorrow, Friday, July 20th.

M-G-M: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot is the illustrated history of the soundstages and outdoor sets where Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the premier Hollywood dream factory, produced many of the world’s most famous films. During its Golden Age, the studio employed the likes of Greta Garbo, Fred Astaire, and Clark Gable, and produced innumerable iconic pieces of cinema such as The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain, and Ben-Hur.

The sprawling studio is located not in Hollywood but the bustling suburb of Culver City. Of all the dream factories, MGM had one of the most prolific and largest backlots.  It was home to Tarzan’s Africa, Andy Hardy’s neighborhood, the turn of the century town of Meet Me in St. Louis, the Cotton Blossom of Showboat drifted down the backlot’s river and the Paris of American in Paris, along with countless other films that are considered classic films.

It is estimated that a fifth of all films made in the United States prior to the 1970s were shot at MGM studios, meaning that the gigantic property was responsible for hundreds of iconic sets and stages, often utilizing and transforming minimal spaces and previously used props, to create some of the most recognizable and identifiable landscapes of modern movie culture.

All of this happened behind closed doors, the backlot shut off from the public in a veil of secrecy and movie magic. M-G-M: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot highlights this fascinating film treasure by recounting the history, popularity, and success of the MGM company through a tour of its physical property. The book is filled with never before seen images of the studio and the backlot.

Our guest, Steven Bingen has also written Warner Bros.: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of and has contributed to numerous books, documentaries, and magazines. He holds a staff position at Warner Bros. Corporate Archive, aiding in the preservation and management of the studio’s legend and legacy. With Steven Sylvester, who explored the backlot back in the 1968 and 1975 before it was developed into housing tracts, and Michael Troyan, the author of A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Films of Greer Garson, they worked together to produce this book which takes its readers behind that veil of secrecy and explores the history of one of the most beloved studios in the history of Hollywood.

We hope you are as excited about his upcoming visit as we are!  So, start thinking of the questions you want answered about that most fabled of dream factories and join us beginning Friday, July 20th for a weekend of studio and film archival history.

Above: Another of archivist Steve Bingen's books.

“The first ten films I made for MGM changed my life. Now you can go back in time—as I have—in the pages of this remarkable book, learning how and where the ‘Land of Make Believe’ became real. Once you take the journey, you, too, will be transported.”
Angela Lansbury

“For anyone who has ever dreamed what it was like to live in the Golden Age of Hollywood, this visit to my grandfather’s studio will vividly re-create the experience. From hometown USA to eighteenth century France to medieval England to a village in China, the memories of all the great films that were made there will spring back to life.” —Daniel Mayer Selznick

You may enjoy the website at the link below that was set up by the authors for this book: 


VP81955 said...

Just gave this a plug at "Carole & Co.":

Moira Finnie said...

Thanks very much! I hope you'll have a chance to stop by the SSO and ask a question too. You will be very welcome.

Btw, I love the image you posted of Carole and Chester Morris in the delightful MGM movie, The Gay Bride (1934).


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