2012 Bison Books paperback edition

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jim Thorpe Goes to Hollywood

The so-called Golden Age of American Sports? The 1920s. The new media of radio and movie newsreels pumped up the reputations of sports stars such as Big Bill Tilden (tennis), Jack Dempsey (boxing), Babe Ruth (baseball), Red Grange (football), and many more. 

When they grew too old for sports where did many of these athletes go? West, to Hollywood. The climate was great and their names were useful publicity, even if they only appeared in a movie as an extra. By 1935 it was suggested that there were more former athletes in Los Angeles than in any other American city.                                     

Jim Thorpe also made his way out to California when his game playing days were over and made a second career of bit parts, largely in westerns and adventure movies. Read more in my piece in Random House's WORD AND FILM website (and check out the YouTube video on the right of this blog page):

Jim Thorpe Goes to Hollywood 1931 - 1950