THE ENTERTAINER: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot Due in Paperback This November
THE ENTERTAINER: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot, is available in paperback from Riverhead this November.
This captivating and impeccably researched first book from veteran New Yorker staff writer Talbot reveals the sweeping history of American entertainment through a transfixing personal lens.
Margaret's own father Lyle left his Midwestern home in 1918 to join a traveling carnival, and went on to have a career that spanned the entire trajectory of the entertainment industry. After touring with carnivals, he became a magician's assistant, an actor in a traveling theater troupe, a romantic lead in early talkies, a star of major Warner Brothers pictures with the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Carole Lombard, an actor in cult B movies, and finally part of the advent of television, with regular roles on Ozzie and Harriet and Leave it to Beaver. From '10s and '20s small-town America to early Hollywood, Lyle's own life was entwined with a radically changing America.
Masterfully combining social history, old Hollywood stories, and family memoir, Talbot uses her father's experiences as a touchstone to dig deeply into the massive changes in American entertainment from traveling amusements that would stop in a town for a week at most, to the talkies that played in a one theater cinema, to the ubiquity of the household television. Talbot paints a vivid picture of a changing world with a deep warmth and nostalgia.
Margaret Talbot has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 2003. Previously, she was a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and, from 1995 to 1999, an editor at The New Republic. She lives in Washington, DC.