INSIDE PICTURE-PLAY MAGAZINE
Alan Mattay - November 23, 2016
During the 1920s, fan magazines like Picture-Play offered readers a glimpse behind the scenes of the glamorous film industry. Established in from 1915 by New York publishers Street & Smith, Picture-Play offered readers reviews, interviews, fan-written submissions, and gossip about the personal lives of Hollywood actors.
Magazines like Picture-Play benefited from the growing consumer economy of the 1920s. More advertisements allowed publishers to lower newsstand sales and attract more readers. Picture-Play also profited from the development of modern market research which allowed the magazine to target ads to its largely female audience. The magazine’s circulation grew from 127,721 in 1918 to more than 341,000 by 1933.
The August 1925 issue above features an interview with actress Leatrice Joy on page 16, a photo spread of actors’ homes on page 20, an illustrated feature on vacation clothes on page 62, an article about diving ponies on page 64, and a photo spread of new “baby animal stars” on page 84. As you flip through the magazine, take note of the advertisements for cosmetics, hair care products, and other merchandise promising to improve readers’ appearance.
Picture-Play ceased publishing in 1941 when it was merged into Charm magazine. Charmitself was later folded into Glamour magazine in 1959.
Advertisers’ Directory of Leading Publications. 1920. Buffalo.
Nelson Chesman & Company. 1920. Advertiser’s Rate Book: Including a Catalog of Newspapers, Magazines and Periodicals Which Have a Circulation of 5,000 and Over.Chicago.
Richard Koszarski. 1994. An Evening’s Entertainment: The Age of the Silent Feature Picture, 1915-1928. University of California Press.
Anthony Slide. 2010. Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers. Univ. Press of Mississippi.