Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine

On June 23, 1933, Variety reported on a disturbing new trend. Photographs of Claudette Colbert and Fredric March taken illicitly on the Paramount backlot had found their way onto the pages of a fan magazine. “With small candid cameras it is possible to grab pictures without the subjects or bystanders wise to the proximity of a photog[rapher],” the paper noted. Unofficial cameras were promptly banned from studio lots – they still are – but the dynamic was set. If fans want to see stars on screen, they also want to see them off duty. Those Paramount snaps differ from pictures of Gossip Girl actors dining in Greenwich Village, taken on camera phones and posted on Gawker, only in the speed of publication.

As Anthony Slide’s new study Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers shows, these publications didn’t just cater to a celebrity economy but helped create it. &ldq...

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