I suppose my involvement with this book would never have happened had it not been for the program directors of my local television stations in Charleston, West Virginia, in the 1950s who filled up their afternoons and weekends with movie packages consisting mostly of films from the 1930s. My earliest impressions of what real movies looked like started then, so I give a nod of appreciation to WCHS and WSAZ.
The volume itself would not have been possible without the hard work and gifted insights of its contributors: Aaron, Cynthia, Marty, Charlene, Susan, Allen, Sam, and Chuck. I thank you for your cooperation, professionalism, and good humor during all the stages of writing and revision. To the editors for this series, the terrific trio of Murray, Les, and RUP's Leslie Mitchner, thanks for always being engaged, responsive, and supportive from the moment you asked me to edit the volume until its final stages of production. The book would not look as handsome or as professional as it does without the great work of copyeditor Eric Schramm and all the vendors from whom the other authors and I obtained photos. Special thanks to Ron Mandelbaum, Victor Burgos, Cory Plowman, and Doug McKeown at Photofest. Invaluable assistance at the proofreading and indexing phases came from the English Department at the University of South Carolina and graduate student Andy Smith.
As with nearly every scholarly project I have undertaken since graduate school, this book has benefited immensely from the encyclopedic memory, analytical intelligence, and listening ear of Steven Cohan. He has been especially helpful during my work on American Cinema of the 1930s, from brainstorming about possible contributors to reading the first draft of my own chapter to lending me a great Astaire-Rogers photo. Most of all, whenever I would get tunnel vision and turn the decade into one endless parade of Warner Bros.' gangsters and swashbucklers, he would always remind me of the centrality of MGM, melodrama, and musicals.
Ina Rae Hark
15 September 2006