Photograph: Female fans of Frank Sinatra gaze adoringly at a picture of him in a copy of Modern Screen magazine, c. 1950

Source: Getty

How Teenage Girls Invented Fandom

They were mocked for their obsession with movies. But the fan culture they constructed help build Hollywood.
From THEM!, 1954

Fear of an Insect Planet

"Big bug movies" of the 1950s have been interpreted as projections of nuclear anxieties. But what if they were about...actual fear of bugs?
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.