Friday, May 22, 2015

William Holden - Golden Boy

We got archaeological fever here at Silver Scenes! For our newest post series we will be digging up buried treasures from the tattered remains of movie magazines of yor and sharing these treasures with our readers. Movie magazines of the 1920s-1960s were filled with glamour photos and juicy tidbits on all of the major ( and minor ) screen stars of the day. In addition to film reviews and articles about the love lives of these public figures, the magazines also featured crossword puzzles, trivia games, gossip columns, and the ever-present mailbag.

Some of the articles we will be sharing will be in PDF format so you can save them for future reading or print them out to keep, while others we will put the scissors to and clip only portions that will pertain to a certain theme. If there are any film titles or stars that you would love to read articles on or see a picture-collage of, just let us know and we'll bring out our buried treasure map and start hunting them out for you! 

For starters, we unearthed these articles from a November 1939 issue of Modern Screen Magazine on William Holden's appearance in Golden Boy. Film fans today consider William Holden to be one of the great stars of the silver screen, but put yourself in the shoes of a theatre-goer in 1939. One of the most anticipated and hyped films of the year is Golden Boy, a story of a violinist turned boxer. Columbia Pictures passes over John Garfield in a glove-fit part to cast a newcomer, a fresh-looking lad with curly brown hair to star in their greatest film of 1939 - would this be a one-hit wonder for the actor or would he go on to greatness? Of course, we know the future... Golden Boy generated the birth of a star. Critics and audiences praised Holden's first appearance with Modern Screen Magazine's staff critic Lois Svensrud remarking : 
His acting has strength and sincerity, and the versatility shown in his characterization of the boy, who is torn between a love of music and the desire for fame and fortune, should mark Bill Holden as the "find" of the year.

The same issue also posted this quickie biography to highlight the new talent that was sure to become a star in the coming decade : 

Yesterday he was a college student, and today he is a star. To go back some, Bill was born in O'Fallen Ill., on April 17th, 1918 of non-professional parents. His family moved to California when Bill was a small child. Here the boy attended public and high schools with a dramatic career in view. Upon graduation from high school, Bill registered at the Pasadena Junior College where he studied dramatics and various other courses carrying off nearly all the honors in his class.   
While attending college, he became interested in the Pasadena Community Playhouse and appeared in several amateur plays. At school he received an assignment as the senior Curie in a play called "Manya". This production was quite successful and so three of the "Manya" playesr were asked to take screentests. Holden was one of the three.  About this time, Director Mamoulian was searching for the "Golden Boy" for his picture of the year and, while going through thousands of screen tests, came across Holden's. He immediately sent for him, gave him another test and the contract soon followed. Strangely enough, Bill knew of the year-long quest for the "Golden Boy" but, modest as he was, he felt he couldn't make the grade. 
Surprisingly, William can both play the violin and box — a hoped-for qualification for the "Golden Boy" role. He resides in California with his parents and two younger brothers. He is six feet tall, weighs one hundred and sixty-five pounds, and has brown hair and blue eyes. His favorite dish is anything his mother cooks, and his most prized possession is a clipping from a college paper with his picture and a little story about him as being in line for a great future as an athlete. Address him at Columbia Studios, Hollywood, Cal. 

Audiences too were in a whirl over Hollywood's new "Golden Boy", as this one fan proclaimed :
"When I walked out of the theatre after seeing "Golden Boy" my mind was in such a crazy whirl that I scarcely knew what was going on about me. The reason - William Holden. Without ever having appeared in films, this boy co-starred with screen-wise Barbara Stanwyck and such ace veterans as Adolph Menjou and Joseph Calleia and rendered one of the most brilliant performances I have ever seen. The talent scouts and directors who have been looking for new faces and new talent have really done themselves justice by giving the movie fans this natural, dynamic personality, Bill Holden. He's the 1939 Wonder Boy. With looks that would make any heart stand still and acting ability that holds you spellbound, Bill Holden has leapt to the top rung of the ladder of success. "

Movie Magazine Articles, our newest series, will feature articles like these reprinted for our reader's entertainment. Links to the original sources are available within the body of the text. In the future, simply search "Movie Magazine Articles" to find more posts in this series or click on the tag below. Enjoy! 


  1. Looking forward to seeing all the great treasures you unearth!! :)

  2. So cool! Looking forward to more :-D

  3. so sad that I'm 2 generations too late to know him...he's lucious