An Author's Journey

Most of us in the media are passionate about what we do. We can be equally passionate about our hobbies and pastimes. When the two intersect it becomes a story that just has to be told. Southern California broadcaster, now first-time author, Manny Pacheco, shares his story...

Hi there. I have a written a new book I believe is interesting, informative and fun. It's called "Forgotten Hollywood, Forgotten History." It's a softcover book loaded with over 100 pages of stories and data that up until now have seldom been chronicled, and photos rarely seen. Today, I'm going to share with you the reasoning behind writing my book, some of its highlights, and a few anecdotes that have occurred during this terrific journey. I hope after you read this, you'll want to spend a couple of evenings with "Forgotten Hollywood, Forgotten History."

Let me begin by first telling you -- I'm a huge history buff, especially anything to do with American Presidents. I'm also a big fan of movies from Hollywood's past. I especially love Oscar-winning motion pictures, and the films of Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, and other giants of the studio era.

Any library or school provides the writings of authors who see history in a linear fashion, or in the emphasis of one topic. In other words, children today are taught: Columbus discovered America; the Pilgrims headed to Plymouth Rock aboard the Mayflower; and the American Revolution was fought for our Independence. The issue of slavery haunted us as a nation. We have experienced a Civil War, an Industrial Revolution, a Great Depression, and two World Wars; all in a familiar order. Book stores are loaded with stories highlighting just one of these eras with specific accounts and twists. And. if you love movies of the past, there are no shortage of books telling stories about John Wayne, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, etc.

Three factors inspired me to provide what I think is a surprisingly comprehensive look at Hollywood and American history in a way not recently presented.

First, I despise the emergence of reality television. There is nothing remotely interesting or educational in watching the trials and tribulations of unimportant people in manufactured situations. I have a special distaste for the relative ease common people have in uttering profanity in front of a camera and crew. TV executives find this a cheap way to provide entertainment for us, and that's what it is...cheap and crass. Additionally, recent slashing of funds for the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities by our elected leaders concerns me. "We the people" are headed in the wrong direction.

Second, I was watching Chris Matthews on his "Hardball" show on cable one day, and he interviewed a soldier who had traveled from Iraq with the remains of a fallen comrade from his hometown. This soldier kept a diary of his return that he developed into a book. H.B.O. recently turned this story into a compelling film starring Kevin Bacon. It struck me...anyone could write a book about any subject if you had the heart to put pen to paper.

Finally, I was re-introduced to John Adams. Not just our second president, but also the compelling story by David McCullough, made into an HBO mini-series. I bought the box set as a Christmas gift for my father. When he finished watching it, he loaned it to me. It was an epiphany. It seemed to be a factually accurate account about a man who lived in the shadow of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. The story came alive to me, and Paul Giamatti did a brilliant job. "John Adams" is a fine example of a great historical figure that should never be forgotten.

 I started writing my book later that week. However, I decided to write about the supporting actors of Hollywood's Golden Age. I realized little has been documented with regards to these exceptional movie stars who long lived in the shadow of the giants of cinema. And, many times they played historical figures long forgotten, or never emphasized in schools. Yet, the more I watch classic movies, the more I find myself paying attention to the character players. And consequently, I find new reasons to love these films. These actors deserve their day in the sun. It's like visiting an old friend you haven't seen in a while. I also hope that I can familiarize a whole new generation of folks to the hard working personalities in my book.

I selected 15 uniquely talented individuals (including Claude Rains, Basil Rathbone, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, and Van Heflin). And to my utter delight, I discovered each chapter captured amazing pieces of our history. What I mean is...even though each story is different, these supporting actors kept appearing in movies, or lived their lives with a thread of common purpose. 

"Forgotten Hollywood, Forgotten History"...I wrote it to help us remember that the torch of our forefathers is still lit, and it's our obligation to pass it on. Thank you for this nostalgic moment together. Please visit http://www.forgottenhollywood.com for updates on the stories I tell.

--Manny Pacheco Author, "Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History"

About the book:

"Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History" is available on AMAZON, and at most Southern California BORDERS stores. The book recently was awarded the USA Book News: 2009 Best Book Award (History--Media / Entertainment). You can also find Manny's self-published work on the prestigious library shelves of the American Film Institute, the Writers Guild Foundation, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

About the author:

Manny Pacheco is a Southern California radio and television personality. He's appeared on NBC's Santa Barbara, and KCOP's Emmy-nominated In Studio. Radio stops have included KRLA, KBIG and KFI. And now he's added to his resume the title, Author. Manny describes his experience in self publishing his first book, Forgotten Hollywood, Forgotten History, as "an education." We hope he will share some of his lessons learned in future issues of the MCAI-OC newsletter.

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