Martin and Osa Johnson

How Two Kansans Invented the Safari Documentary

Martin and Osa Johnson were celebrities in their day, but their vision of Africa was way out of touch with reality.
Robert Mitchum aiming gun over car in a scene from the film 'Farewell, My Lovely', 1975.

QAnon as Neo-Noir

The popular conspiracy theory has intriguing parallels with classic noir by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
The Killing of Sister George

Hollywood Goes to Its First Lesbian Bar and Can’t Stop Staring

The Killing of Sister George was the first Hollywood movie to depict a lesbian bar. Director Robert Aldrich was obsessed with its authenticity.

Venn Diagram of LGBTQ+ and Gaming Communities Goes Here

Video games offer many LGBTQ+ people avenues for meaning, community, and escape, but in-game cultures of harassment still pose serious problems.
Jessie Maple (left) and Louise Tiranoff (right)

Black Camerawoman Jessie Maple’s Fight to Join a Union

Her climb into filmmaking began with programs designed to train African Americans. But to succeed, she needed to break into a mostly white male union.
17th century British newsletters

The Newsletter Boom, 300 Years before Substack

Some journalists are turning to newsletters to get their work out. But they're not hand-copying them onto folded paper, like people did in the 1600s.
An illustration from the Bantam edition of Graham Greene's The Quiet American

When the CIA Was Everywhere—Except on Screen

Hollywood was just fine avoiding all portrayals of the Central Intelligence Agency for years after the agency's founding in 1947.
Matt Robinson (as Gordon) and Loretta Long (as Susan) lean on a brick wall and speak with Roosevelt Franklin, 1970

Who Was Sesame Street’s First Black Muppet?

Since the beginning, the children's show has tried to represent the diversity of the nation. But Roosevelt Franklin was controversial.
The cover of the February 1949 issue of Ebony Magazine

Black Images and the Politics of Beauty

How Black-owned charm schools and modeling agencies challenged stereotypes of African American women after World War II.
Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

How Has Hollywood Shaped the Presidency?

"Acting presidential" can mean fulfilling expectations that have been shaped by TV and the movies.