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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

At The Printers --- Showmen, Sell It Hot!

Greenbriar has a book coming out, and soon, called Showmen, Sell It Hot! (the exclamation point goes with the title, not the fact that it's about to be published). I hadn't said anything during progress for fear I might chicken out and not actually deliver. Now the train's left the platform and Showmen will arrive no matter trepidations I have over a first-ever berth between two covers. There have been Greenbriar articles published before, most recently in Monsters From The Vault about selling Bride Of Frankenstein in 1935, but Showmen, Sell It Hot! is 304 pages with my name emblazoned thereon, and that's scarier than Brides, Sons, and Ghosts put together. A book, I've learned, is that thing where if you write something stupid, you're hung with it for all time. With Greenbriar at least, I can make quick edits to clean up a mess. Not so with the printed page. A rest of my life would have been spent proofing had publishers not wrested the final manuscript away.

First copies will arrive to Cinevent in Columbus over Memorial Day weekend (May 24-27) and we'll have them at our customary dealer's table. After that, Showmen, Sell It Hot! will be available from GoodKnight Publishing at a discount before going Amazon route later this summer. Say what you might about the author's prose, and while I'm reticent to toot my own horn, there's no hesitation at singing praise for design and layout performed by GoodKnight's artist crew, their outcome a visual stunner with all-color pages and image reproduction second to few (their previous achievements were Errol Flynn Slept Here and Errol and Olivia, both knockouts). I don't know beans about publishing, and made but few specific requests, one being to generate a book that would lay flat whatever page you're on --- nothing aggravates me more than holding recalcitrant binding down with one hand whilst trying to eat with another --- that's how pimento cheese and oatmeal made inroads into my own library. We didn't want the book to be too big or heavy either, so avoided being literary Von Stroheims by hopefully judicious editing. The end result is intended to be not unlike walks through entrance of a vintage theatre to see pics discussed within, stills, ads, and ephemera to light the way.

Chapters are for the most part adapted from articles that have appeared at Greenbriar since 2005, all embellished by clean-up and addition of info dug up since initial airing. You could say that Showmen, Sell It Hot! is a motion picture (in this case, book) adapted from the TV series (webpage) that is Greenbriar Picture Shows, but this is not altogether a  Man From U.N.C.L.E paste-up. A lot of content is fresh, and certainly a visual upgrade beside results to be had online. Goodnight's page for Showmen, Sell It Hot!, with more info about the book, is here. As I said, there will be copies at Cinevent. It'll be for others to determine if the thing is any good. I did the best I could with it, as has been the case here at Greenbriar over a last (going on) eight years. If GPS has suited you, then you'll probably enjoy Showmen, Sell It Hot! and hopefully spread the word. So many books come out nowadays as to get lost in a shuffle, so Greenbriar will update now and then to keep up awareness of Showmen, Sell It Hot! When GoodKnight has it ready to ship, I'll mention that, as well as specific date when Amazon gets theirs in stock.


Blogger iarla said...

That's great news. Looking forward to reading your book. Best wishes on this adventure and thanks for al the pleasure youve given us since '05.

7:24 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Good Luck with the book. It looks great.

Will definitely go on my Amazon "wish list" for future purchase.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

Excellent news! That "Errol Flynn Slept Here" book has a beautiful layout, so I can expect only the same from yours. And thank you for the "flat book" style, too!

9:24 AM  
Blogger Michael J. Hayde said...

Awesome news, John! Congratulations and best wishes for a huge success! I hope everyone who visits this site will pick up a copy - it's definitely on MY "must have" list. I can't make Cinevent this year (which saddens me; it would've been my 10th), but I'll be at Slapsticon, so PLEASE pack an extra copy for me!

10:07 AM  
Blogger Classic Maiden said...

Exciting news, and a huge congrats!

Will definitely be reading it when it comes out in June :-)

It has also been added to GoodReads, so people can find it there as well.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

Congratulations, John, and I hope you DO sell it hot! I'll be somewhere near the front of the line.

1:52 PM  
Blogger williampl7 said...


2:03 PM  
Blogger JavaBeanRush said...


I completely understand being spoiled by the quick editing capabilities of a blog.

I'm still screwing my courage to the sticking place to finish my little book.

Every time I think of that finished product out there on people's shelves, far away from my delete button, I shudder.

I will buy a copy of yours. You always have a unique and interesting perspective on old movies.

- Java

3:09 PM  
Blogger reprobates said...

Having been priviledged to see an early proof of John's book, I can happily attest that it's a humdinger, and everyone should go out and buy it. It truly is more than a collection of some of the best from Greenbriar, it weaves a interesting tale from the Exhibitors point of view covering the important decades of the Movie Business. Fabulous Photos, an entertaining read, and a terrific education. All of your bookshelves require it.


9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, John! This is wonderful news. Much success...if this book is anywhere near as good as the blog, we're all in for a great ride!

9:39 PM  
Blogger Tom Ruegger said...

I will buy it and distribute it to friedns and family. Like having your blog in a book! Perfect!

3:35 AM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Best wishes with the book.

Yesterday I ordered VAULT OF HORROR for THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN feature not knowing you wrote it.

8:07 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Dan Mercer conveys some kind words re yesterday's book announcement:

Congratulations on the announcement of your book. I'm quite happy for you.

You've tilled the soil and tended to the crops. Their roots reach deeply into the soil of your memories. The fruit is of a special quality.

May this be the first of your harvests.


8:52 AM  
Blogger Paul Castiglia said...

Congratulations, John - this is most welcome news! I will certainly be picking up a copy!

On an unrelated note, not long ago I recommended to you a late Harry Langdon musical comedy from Monogram called "Hot Rythm" which also served up the comedy team of Tim and Irene (Ryan). It had been streaming on Netflix. Well, I'd also like to recommend two other Tim and Irene musical comedy specialties - "Sarong Girl" pairs them with Mantan Moreland while "Melody Parade" brings Mantan back and adds Eddie Quillan to the mix. All three films can be found streaming on both Netflix and Amazon Prime and I have to say that these are (in my opinion) hidden gems waiting to be rediscovered. Very entertaining, with Tim Ryan not only in front of the camera but having a hand in each script as well (come to think of it, Tim Ryan himself is a hidden gem waiting to be rediscovered - this was a talented guy that only die-hard buffs seem to remember).

In any event, conrats again on the book - I'll happily promote it over at my "Scared Silly" blog, too!

6:31 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

An e-mailed comment from Roger Peters, who has already ordered his copy of "Showmen, Sell It Hot!" from GoodKnight's website:

Checking your site is part of my day. Thank you for continuing with a very entertaining venue.

And congratulations on your book which I just ordered from the
publisher. Since they are selling signed copies I figure you will be
very busy.


Roger Peters

7:31 AM  
Blogger Paul Castiglia said... a follow-up to my note above, I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention the formidible talents of Irene Ryan in the aforementioned films - her persona and performances will be a revelation to those who only know her as "Granny" from The Beverly Hillbillies.

Congrats again on your book, John - for my money, your work fills a void once soley relegated to scarce back issues of movie trades. Maybe today's Hollywood movers and shakers would do well to pick themselves up a copy. Oh, wait - that won't happen unless THEY think of it THEMSELVES!...

But seriously, I think whole college courses, museum exhibits and PBS Specials can be built around the findings of your research. It's THAT good!

7:35 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

I really appreciate your nice comments, Paul. Hopefully, the book will sell, though I realize there are a LOT of film books in the marketplace nowadays, so it's difficult for any one to be noticed. It will be for good folks like you and others who have commented to spread the word. As far as I know, the printing process goes smoothly, and we'll have the first copies at Columbus and be able to fill orders right after Cinevent. I'll do another post on "Showmen" as soon as all of that is confirmed.

I'm going to check out those musical/comedies you mentioned with Tim and Irene Ryan. The ones I have seen are really excellent, and it's great having them available on Netflix.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Kevin Deany said...

It's the pre-order of pre-orders. A total no-brainer. I'm heading over to the site now to place my order.

Two of my favorite film books of all time are the Errol Flynn books from GoodKnight, which I learned about from your site. I know the quality will be great.

Best of luck with the book, John.

11:51 AM  

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