Scott Williams returns home to Memphis to discuss his new biography that explores the life and career of Odd McIntyre, the first modern pop culture reporter.
WASHINGTON — On Friday, August 18, 2017 at 3 p.m., R. Scott Williams, author of “An Odd Book: How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York,” will appear in a program and book signing in the Memphian Room at the Circuit Playhouse in Memphis, Tennessee.
The program will be hosted by Emmy award-winning Memphis FOX Chief Meteorologist Joey Sulipeck and will take place during Elvis Week 2017. The venue is especially significant for Williams, a former vice president with Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., because in the 1960s Elvis frequently rented the Memphian Theater, now the Circuit Playhouse, to watch the latest films with his friends. Elvis fans from around the world will be gathered in Memphis August 11-19 for Elvis Week 2017 which marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ passing.
During the program on “An Odd Book,” Sulipeck and Williams will discuss Williams’ new biography about Odd McIntyre. McIntyre was the highest-paid, most-read columnist of the early twentieth century. Raised in Gallipolis, Ohio, he moved to New York and quickly became close friends with many of the leading personalities of the day including writers Edna Ferber, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald; entertainers Fred Astaire, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Billie Burke, and Will Rogers; composers George Gershwin and Meredith Willson; actors Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin. and many others.
In his daily column, “New York Day by Day,” and in national magazines like Cosmopolitan and Life, Odd captured a time and place undergoing great transition and innovation in communication, politics, art and entertainment. As the country shifted from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era and through the Great Depression, new technologies and methods of communication were being quickly adopted around the world, as were new ideas regarding journalism and the role of media and entertainment in American society. Odd, living and writing in New York, was at the epicenter of this new modern age.
“Odd documented the stories of what was happening backstage and behind the scenes with popular culture around the world,” said Williams, who is the chief operating officer of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “Odd was there as the telegraph changed the news business, and then as radio changed everything. He covered live entertainment as it shifted from vaudeville to something new and exciting on Broadway, and he had a literal front-row seat as moving pictures evolved first to nickelodeons, then to silent films, and finally to talkies.”
The Circuit Playhouse is located at 51 Cooper St., Memphis, Tennessee.
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