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Photoplay editions were novels that were based on new movies and released as a promotional tie-in with the movie’s release. They were often illustrated with photos from the movies. First published around 1912, they were in widest circulation during the 1920s and 1930s, and continue to be written and released today. Comparable short story versions frequently appeared in popular movie magazines,


In Thomas Mann’s second volume, hundreds of additional Photoplay editions and short stories of films are analyzed. Discover how many Photoplay editions were based on advance copies of scripts and contain scenes that were later deleted. As cultural artifacts of bygone eras, novels and short stories based on films that are now lost are often the only surviving record. For example, the previously unknown short story version of Lon Chaney’s lost film, A Blind Bargain (1923) is reprinted here for the first time.


Listed are multiple story versions of films that featured Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Sr. and Lon Chaney Jr, and Peter Lorre, and supporting players from obscure mysteries featuring Robert Armstrong, Lionel Atwill, Ricardo Cortez, Frances Drake, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, J. Carroll Naish, Marjorie Williams, George Zucco, and many others. Several Alfred Hitchcock book editions are also cataloged.


Other film book editions chronicled include:

The Adventures of Kathlyn

Bride of Frankenstein

The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Day of the Triffids

Doctor X

Flash Gordon

The Ghost Breakers

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The Invisible Man

It Came from Outer Space

King Kong and Son of Kong


The Legend of Hell House

London After Midnight

The Lost World

The Mask of Fu Manchu

Meet Nero Wolfe

Mighty Joe Young

Murders in the Rue Morgue

North by Northwest



Things to Come

The Verdict


White Zombie

The Wolf Man


Multiple stories that tie in to a variety of screen sleuths are also listed: Arsene Lupin, Bulldog Drummond, Charlie Chan, The Falcon, Lone Wolf, Hildegarde Withers, Nancy Drew, Nick Carter, Perry Mason, Philo Vance, The Saint, The Thin Man, Torchy Blane, and Mr. Wong.


Thomas Mann is an independent scholar living in Washington, D.C., where he spent over three decades as a general reference librarian in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress.  He is the author of The Oxford Guide to Library Research (Oxford University Press, 2015).

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