In Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams, Donald Bogle tells–for the first time–the story of a place both mythic and real: Black Hollywood. Spanning sixty years, this deliciously entertaining history uncovers the audacious manner in which many blacks made a place for themselves in an industry that originally had no place for them.
Through interviews and the personal recollections of Hollywood luminaries, Bogle pieces together a remarkable history that remains largely obscure to this day. We discover that Black Hollywood was a place distinct from the studio-system-dominated Tinseltown–a world unto itself, with unique rules and social hierarchy. It had its own talent scouts and media, its own watering holes, elegant hotels, and fashionable nightspots, and of course its own glamorous and brilliant personalities.
Along with famous actors including Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Hattie McDaniel (whose home was among Hollywood’s most exquisite), and, later, the stunningly beautiful Lena Horne and the fabulously gifted Sammy Davis, Jr., we meet the likes of heartthrob James Edwards, whose promising career was derailed by whispers of an affair with Lana Turner, and the mysterious Madame Sul-Te-Wan, who shared a close lifelong friendship with pioneering director D. W. Griffith. But Bogle also looks at other members of the black community–from the white stars’ black servants, who had their own money and prestige, to gossip columnists, hairstylists, and architects–and at the world that grew up around them along Central Avenue, the Harlem of the West.
In the tradition of Hortense Powdermaker’s classic Hollywood: The Dream Factory and Neal Gabler’s An Empire of Their Own, in Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams, Donald Bogle re-creates a vanished world that left an indelible mark on Hollywood–and on all of America.
From the Hardcover edition.
For every well-known narrative of history, there are dozens of lesser known, hidden stories that have not been written down. The cultural historian Donald Bogle has devoted his career to recording one of these other histories--the little known experience of African-Americans in Hollywood. Whereas his previous books examine the images of blacks onscreen, BRIGHT BOULEVARDS, BOLD DREAMS goes behind the celluloid and explores the off-screen world of many fascinating performers. In vivid prose, the author illustrates a world that existed parallel to the glamour and glitz of the red carpet, along the curves of Los Angeles' Central Avenue. Living and partying by its own set of rules, this vibrant subculture encompassed everyone from gossip columnists to hairstylists. Spanning more than six decades, Bogle's comprehensive book also provides vivid studies of a fascinating cast of characters, including D.W. Griffith's beloved friend Madame Sul-te-Wan and the gorgeously tortured Lena Horne.
- Performing Arts, Social Science
- Ethnic Studies / African-American Studies, Film + Video / History + Criticism
- January 31, 2006
- January 31, 2006
- Donald Bogle