Margaret Talbot Reading: The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century.
The GW English Department Presents:
A Reading by Margaret Talbot
Friday, February 12th,
Margaret Talbot is an essayist and nonfiction writer, as well as a staff writer at The New Yorker. She will be reading from her newest work, next week, her book entitled The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century. The Entertainer about her father, the American Warner Bros actor Lyle Talbot, who was best known for his 10-year role as Joe Randolph on the TV show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, as well as a leading role in Leave in to Beaver.
Talbot crafts a compelling look at the rise of American pop culture during the golden age of Old Hollywood movies. She traces her father’s career from his time in a traveling carnival; his job as a magician’s assistant; a theatre actor, and finally as a major Hollywood TV star.
“In her captivating, impeccably researched narrative—a charmed combination of Hollywood history, social history, and family memoir—Margaret Talbot conjures warmth and nostalgia for those earlier eras of ’10s and ’20s small-town America, ’30s and ’40s Hollywood. She transports us to an alluring time, simpler but also exciting, and illustrates the changing face of her father’s America, all while telling the story of mass entertainment across the first half of the twentieth century.”
Margaret Talbot has worked as a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, and served as a an editor at The New Republic, for whom she wrote on contentious topics including single parent families, pop culture, and feminism, as well as profiling Martha Stewart and Bill Gates.
Her writing has been featured in The Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic, and The Times Book Review.
Her work at The Atlantic covered social issues spanning from education, criminal guilt, social satire, to “the era of consumer – driven eugenics.”
For National Geographic, her prominent piece, “Searching for Sacagawea” explored the enigmatic figurehead of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Margaret Talbot was a founding editor at Lingua Franca, and her accomplishments and awards include the Whiting Writer’s Award and a position as a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.
Praise for The Entertainer:
“Sharp and engaging . . . Talbot père comes across as a sort of Zelig-with-personality, a life-embracing man whose career spans, and illuminates, the first 60 years of the 20th century.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A well-researched and clear-eyed history of the early American entertainment industry told through the perspective of a Zelig-like figure who worked with everyone from Shirley Temple to Mae West to Ed Wood. Talbot fille draws from historical sources as well as her own recollection, and the result is less a walk down memory lane than a gateway to a bygone era.”—Entertainment Weekly