I’m sure we all carry around a collection of scenes from films in our heads where something wonderful takes place that we hope will happen to us some day in a similar fashion. Where we wish for our lives to imitate someone else’s art.
I had one of those moments come true for me a couple of days ago that I have been hoping for ever since I saw Back To The Future in 1985. Do you remember near the end of the film after the future has been altered when Marty McFly returns home to find that his family is now cool? There is a scene where his dad opens a box to find copies of his new book. I remember thinking that I would love to open a box to find the first copy of a book that I had written - someday. Well someday showed up on Thursday.
The book is called Early Warner Bros. Studios, which I co-wrote with Hollywood historian Marc Wanamaker. It’s a pictoral history of the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, which to me is holy soil as it is where I met my beloved wife Kimi.
The actual writing I did was not extensive, as the book consists of only a multi-page introduction which tells the studio’s history, followed by about 200 pictures and captions. But the labor it took to get the deal closed and to secure all of the sign-offs from the corporate entities involved is probably the closest I will ever get to childbirth.
As I wrote in the book, “It takes a lot of dedicated people to create a studio. The same can be said about creating a book about a studio.” Some of those dedicated people who pitched in and helped Marc and me were Chris Epting, Jerry Roberts, Leith Adams, Danny Kahn, and of course, my beautiful co-conspirator Kimi.
I had the surreal experience of reading my own book today. I kept constantly on the lookout for grammatical and factual errors. A few keystrokes can correct a blog mistake, but a book is a different beast all together, and it frustrated me that I just had to let go of any mistakes I found. I am reminded of a story I once heard about a man who was tackled by an art museum’s security force after he was discovered altering a painting. It turned out that the vandal was in fact the man who painted the picture in the first place, and never felt it was “quite right.”
I found a couple of typos, but overall, I am pleased.
These are all new experiences for me, and I hope one day they will be common ones after the publication of a few more books. I’ll keep you informed.
I thought a lot over the years about the moment I actually opened the package, but I must not have thought much about what to do afterwards, because the first thing I did after seeing my creation was to empty the cat litter box in the upstairs bathroom.
Here is a link to a picture of the cover (complete with bar code):
The book will be available from Arcadia Publishing on July 26. Here is a link to the site: