“What audacity!” That was actor Robert Wagner’s reaction when he first learned about the authors’ youthful exploits in nabbing exclusive interviews with Golden Age movie and TV stars. As St. Paul, Minnesota teenagers, David Fantle and Tom Johnson turned their passion for film into a lifelong avocation. In 1978, fresh out of high school, they boarded a plane for their first transformational meetings with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Over the years, more than 250 stars followed – artists that defined 20th Century entertainment both in front of and behind the camera; stars like Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, Debbie Reynolds, George Burns, Rod Steiger, Milton Berle, Frank Capra and Hoagy Carmichael, to name just a few of the 75 Golden Age greats profiled in their new book, Hollywood Heyday.
More than just a collection of celebrity profiles, Heyday is a memoir of a 40-year journey full of received wisdom, unique insights and rare anecdotes as well as candid photos of iconic artists who defined popular culture in America.
What’s more, they’re all one-on-one (or in this case, two-on-one) personal meetings that took place in Los Angeles, New York City and London.
“This is a fine example of the kind of book I love to have on the bedside table, for bedtime. Also, for morning and for insomnia. These profiles are so well done that it’s hard not to go on to just one more and be late for work. Be a good friend. Get two copies.”
“Hollywood Heyday took me back to many a year. Dave and Tom are very good writers.”
“Guys, your book will be with me: in the car, in the bathroom, in the tote to the dentist, to the doctor, to the rehab, to the movies – anywhere that I might want a wonderful “lift” to my day. It’s full of fascinating reminiscences. Thank you!”
“In a book that includes Bob Hope, George Burns, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, among others, Don (Rickles) is where he belongs.”
“These are in-depth interviews and not the usual. They’re things that people will really want to know about, not gossip.”
David Fantle, mostly in collaboration with Tom Johnson, has been interviewing writing and speaking about Hollywood's Golden Age stars for 40 years where their work has appeared in media outlets throughout the world. He is an adjunct professor in film and pop culture at Marquette University and resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Tom Johnson began his collaboration with David Fantle in 1978 as a student journalist at the University of Minnesota by co-writing an arts and entertainment column for the “Minnesota Daily.” Johnson was a senior editor at Netflix and has written movie reviews and features for E! Online, Moviefone and “People” magazine, among other publications. Johnson resides in Los Angeles, California