Microblog

of Dr. Steven L. Berg

Alcohol in the Movies

During the past 61 days, I have published 61 memorable moments in Today in History.  Because of the constant pressure to write as well as to keep up with my classes, I have not had the energy to keep with my Microblog.  But once I finished my last regular memorable moment and knew that students would be taking over the writing task beginning today, I again felt the desire to return to the Microblog.

As a break from the daily research and writing, I was looking for a book to read and settled on Judy Cornes’ Alcohol in the Movies, 1898-1962.  I had checked this book out of the library last week.  As I begin the introduction, I was initially surprised that Cornes cited Stephen Cranes’ Maggie:  A Girl of the Streets was “the best known” of the turn of the century novels concerning alcoholism.  While this could be true if the emphasis is turn of the century, it would seem to me that T.S. Arthur’s Ten Nights in a Bar Room would be more culturally important.

When I checked the index, I noticed that Ten Nights in a Bar Room is not listed.  According to the Internet Movie Database, film versions of this book were made in 1897, 1901, 1903, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1919, 1920, 1926, 1921, and 1931.  It seems that this is an important enough story to be included in Cornes’ book.

After discovering that Ten Nights in a Bar Room was not included in the book, I began to question Cornes’ research.  How could she miss films based on such an important book?  I realize that I am possibly being too harsh, but, as I tell my students, there are certain things you need to know if you are writing on a topic.

As I was thinking about Cornes’ book, I remember a book I saw twenty five or so years ago.  Based on the initial publicity for the book, I had some concerns.  As I flipped the book open, I noticed an error on the first page I saw.  And I set the book aside for a couple of years.  Once I finally read it, I discovered that the book was not bad.  Maybe I will have the same experience if I continue Corne’s book.

Note:  I am not writing a critical review of Alcohol in the Movies, 1898-1962.  After reading only the introduction and looking at the index, to make a judgement would be unfair.

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