Down But Not Quite Out in Hollow-weird: A Documentary in Letters of Eric Knightby Geoff Gehman, Eric Knight
Eric Knight once dismissed biography as "the bunk." Yet the internationally renowned author of Lassie-Come-Home and scores of movie reviews left a trail of letters that stretched over 6000 miles and many years which speak with their own distinctive voice about the life of this enigmatic writer. Eulogized as "two hundred pounds of boiler under a thousand pounds of pressure," Knight first made his name known as a spunky film reviewer for The Public Ledger, a Philadelphia newspaper. In the 1920s and 30s, debates swirled around Knight and his daily column. He asked his readers to voice their opinion about "assassinating" Betty Boop in favor of the much more "earthly" Mae West. Knight predicted the death of over-packaged gaudy film experience, and championed the texture of silent black-and-white films over the colorful talkies (or "squawkies" as Knight termed them). Knight brought films to his readers with personal anecdotes and champagne personality, converting anything and everything into newsprint, peppering an entire generation of young readers with reasons for loving film.
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Meet the Author
Geoff Gehman is an arts writer for The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., a county from where Eric Knight wrote portions of Lassie Come-Home. He is writing an oral history of a town in County Clare, Ireland, where the traveling picture show was always welcome and storytelling is an art and a gift.
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