This introductory chapter discusses the history of fan magazines, from their heyday in the 1920s and 1930s through to the 1980s. It discusses the importance of the fan magazine in American society as an arbiter of taste, a source of knowledge, and a gateway to the fabled land of Hollywood and its people. The chapter also sets out the book’s purpose, which is to provide a definitive history of the fan magazine from its pioneering days, through the golden years, to its decline into sleaze and titillation in the 1960s and later. It examines not only the corporate history, content, and writers and editors of fan magazines, but also the manner in which the fan magazines presented their view of what was happening within the film industry and beyond.
Keywords: fan magazines, American society, film industry