The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Big Blue Book of the Screen

Lon Chaney (as Quasimodo) from The Blue Book of the Screen, 1923

An incredible resource for silent film fans has surfaced, thanks to the hard work of David B. Pearson and Graceann Maciolek, reproducing the images and text from the trade publication The Blue Book of the Screen from 1923. Singular images of many top stars as well as directors, producers and writers can be found here, as well as essays like Cecil B. DeMille's thoughts about What Psychology Has Done to Pictures and Jesse Lasky's fairly banal musings on The Future of Motion Pictures.

The overall publication seems to be similar to my An Autographed Who's Who On The Screen (the source of my When Men Were Men series) but with a bit more depth and a lot more names. Check out this sultry shot of Marie Provost or the luminous Edna Purviance or an unusually "come hither" Harold Lloyd. There's also several behind-the-scenes names you probably +haven't seen pictures of, making this a most valuable guide.

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