Michael Troyan, author of Twentieth Century Fox: A Century of Entertainment, will be giving several talks at local libraries in his native Sacramento over the next few weeks, as Debbie Arrington reports for the Sacramento Bee.
(The story mentioned in the article about Marilyn shaving an inch off the heel of her shoe to achieve her signature wiggle – as told to Troyan by photographer Lawrence Schiller – may be apocryphal, as none of her shoes sold at auction appear to have been altered. As Marilyn once said, ‘I learned to walk at six months old and haven’t had a lesson since.’)
“How Troyan managed to compile a definitive history of an ever-evolving entertainment giant is an amazing accomplishment in its own right. First, he had to talk Fox into it.
‘I started this project in 2010 – five years out (from Fox’s 100th anniversary in 2015),’ he said. ‘It took them five years to decide yes.’Then, I spent two more years actually getting it done. You can’t do a book like this without the studio’s art and photos. I needed access to their archives.’
‘Unlike Disney, Fox had never done a book about its history,’ Troyan said. ‘They did one book on costumes (Styling the Stars, co-written by Angela Cartwright), but that was it.’
Once Fox gave his project its blessing, Troyan discovered a treasure trove of forgotten photos and movie mementos, stashed away in hundreds of file boxes for decades in studio storage. Fox archivist Jeffrey Paul Thompson became a collaborator, as did filmmaker and Hollywood historian Stephen X. Sylvester.
‘I wanted to see everything and hear everything,’ Troyan said. ‘You can read all the articles and books on a subject, but it’s not until you started interviewing people did you really get it – the full picture.’
‘This is a celebration of Fox and movie making,’ he said of his book. ‘We covered the scandals and controversies – and there were plenty – but most of all, I wanted (the book) to be accurate.'”