Friday, March 7, 2008

Oscar and the Movies

My Collection contains a vast amount of rare movie magazines but an acquisition made today is a quintessential example of the wonder of magazine collecting and how it advances our knowledge of all aspects of American popular culture.

The magazine seen below was published in October, 1927 by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Academy was founded only a few months earlier. The editors were filmwriter Carey Wilson (1889-1962), screenwriter Waldemar Young (1878-1938) and art director Cedric Gibbons (1893-1960).

Another of Gibbons' claims to fame was as designer of the statuette, now known as Oscar, given as the award of achievement every year by the academy. The first academy awards were in 1929 but, as can be seen on the cover of this important and rare periodical, the design was conceived somewhat earlier. While Oscar's elbows on the statuette are not flexed as on the magazine, other than the base of a can of film, the sword-holding image by Gibbons is obviously an early incarnation of the iconic image so revered by members of the entertainment industry, perhaps the first time it ever publicly appeared.

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