I am one of those baby boomers lucky enough to have been raised on movie culture. Sure, we had television, but my parents were of the generation that still went to the movies every week, and they continued this habit after I was born. I am told they took me as an infant, so I cannot even remember the very first film I ever saw. My mother's favorite star was William Holden, with Doris Day a close second. Their new films were always major events in my house. My father's favorite star was John Wayne, and his favorite genre was the Western, though he liked musicals a lot, too. There never seemed to be a time when the movies weren't important in our home, when we weren't talking about them or reading about them or going to see them. I went with my parents together, with each of them separately, with them and their adult friends, and later with my younger sister. My parents' unqualified love of the movies is, without doubt, the source of inspiration for this study.
Returning to the present, I have many people to thank for helping me. I am grateful to Constance Penley, Sharon Willis, Annette Kuhn, Andrew Ross, Patricia Mellencamp, and Susan Jeffords for their enthusiastic support of this project as it began to take shape. At professional conferences, colleagues helped to hone my ideas in subtle, probably indiscernible ways: particularly Sabrina Barton, Dennis Bingham, Henry Jenkins, Peter Lehman, Alan Nadel, and most of all, Virginia Wright Wexman, who always asked me tough questions that I needed to think about; even when we disagreed, her viewpoint has been crucial to my understanding of the fifties. I owe a debt to friends and acquaintances who spurred my thinking at points in the writing process: Gaylyn Studlar, Barbara Klinger, Laura Mulvey, Jane Hendler, Mark Jancovich, Frank Krutnik, Sari Champagne, Susan Edmunds, Bennet Schaber, Bill Readings, Diane Elam, Beatrice Skordili, Uli Knoepflmacher, Steve Melville, Gael Sweeney, Matthew Tinkcom, and Ina Ferris. Your influence can be felt in the pages of this book in ways that I cannot possibly footnote. I must also single out Adrienne McLean for sharing fan magazine articles as well as her knowledge of fifties stars, and Allen Larson for urging me to think about Montgomery Clift, for leading me to some valuable resources, and most of all, for just listening as I talked on and on. Pat Moody and Richard Fallis provided institutional assistance, and the staff of Bird Library's Interlibrary Loans was enormously helpful in finding sources of fan magazines. I am also grateful for the assistance I received while working at the Margaret Herrick Library in Los Angeles. Linda Shires read a portion of the manuscript in draft, and her