On Tuesday, February 12 at 8 pm in Foundation Hall’s Manzulli Boardroom, Wagner College will host a presentation by film scholar Neal Gabler on “How (and Why) the Jews Invented Hollywood.” The program, part of the Jewish Culture Series, is co-sponsored by the Chai Society and Hillel Foundation at Wagner College and the Staten Island Jewish Community Center. The program is free, and the public is invited.
Neal Gabler, a distinguished author, cultural historian and television commentator, has been called “one of America’s most important public intellectuals.” His first book, “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood,” describes how a group of Eastern European Jewish immigrants founded and ran the industry that largely defined American values and images. “An Empire of Their Own” won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History and the Theatre Library Association Award for the best book on television, radio or film. On the centenary of the first public exhibition of motion pictures in America, a special panel of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named it one of the 100 outstanding books on the American film industry.
Gabler’s second book, “Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity,” was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named the non-fiction book of the year by Time Magazine. It recently placed sixth on Newsweek’s list of “Books to Read Now.” His third book, “Life, the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality,” is currently being used in college courses across the country to examine the convergence of reality and entertainment. And his most recent book, “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination,” a New York Times bestseller, was named the biography of the year by USA Today and won Gabler his second Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was also the runner-up for the prestigious Kraszna-Krausz Book Award in England.
Gabler graduated with high distinction from the University of Michigan. He holds advanced degrees in film and American culture and was a faculty member at his alma mater. Gabler is a regular contributor to the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. He was selected to replace departing co-hosts Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel on the public television movie review program, “Sneak Previews.” He has also been a host on the American Movie Classics cable television network and of “Reel to Real” on the History Channel. He is currently the host of “Reel Thirteen” on WNET-TV, New York City’s public television station, for which he won an Emmy award.
A book sale and signing will follow the lecture.