Decisions decisions – There are many Warner Bros studio history books to choose from!

My hubby asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I decided that I would like a history book about the early Warner Bros studio. My favorite era for movies is between the years of 1939 to 1945, and my favorite studio is Warner Bros. I thought it would be fun to have a reference book as a companion to my favorite TV channel, Turner Classic Movies.

I was hoping that I would find at least one book – but I have to decide between not only seven books, but also two DVDs!  (There might be other books and DVDs, but I only found these in my internet research.)

All of the books I have found on the internet are available at I’ve been flipping back and forth between the pages of, but I thought it might be easier to write down all the details in one place and decide that way. As long as I’m going to all this trouble to write it all down, I thought I might as well post it in my blog while I was at it. Perhaps other people might be looking for books about Warner Bros studio and could benefit from my footwork.

Here is the list of books and DVDs I am trying to decide between:


 The Best of Warner Bros.

by Thomas G. Aylesworth (March 1994) Product Description:

A look at the history of the studio from its early B-films, including serials and melodramas, through its production of The Jazz Singer, to the present features more than 250 illustrations in color and black and white.

Customer Reviews: None

Pages: 192, hardcover

My thoughts:

It has 192 pages, not very many for a history book. It covers the years from “early B-films” to the present, which is 1994 The cover has a picture from Casablanca my favorite movie of all time, but it also has a picture of Clint Eastwood. I like Clint Eastwood, especially when he played Rowdy Yates on Rawhide, but I’m not interested in movies that recent.


The Brothers Warner

by Cass Warner Sperling (June 12, 2008) Product Description:

The BROTHERS WARNER, formerly titled “Hollywood Be Thy Name: The Warner Brothers Story”, is the definitive family biography and intimate portrait of the four legendary Warner brothers. It unfolds and is told through the eyes of Harry Warner’s granddaughter, Cass Warner Sperling and in the voices of others who knew them.

Pages: 426 pages, paperback


Customer Reviews: There are four reviews, and every review gave it five stars, the highest rating.

My Thoughts:

This was written by a granddaughter of one of the four Warner brothers. It has a good deal of pages, and excellent reviews by the four reviewers. This covers the lives of the brothers, so it will certainly cover my favorite years for movies. It is a recent book, and there are new copies available for $20.99.

This one is certainly a possibility!


Early Warner Bros. Studios (Images of America) (Images of America Series)

by E.J. Stephens (July 26, 2010) Product Description:

Since 1928, Warner Bros. has produced thousands of beloved films and television shows at the studio’s magical 110-acre film factory in Burbank. This collection of evocative images concentrates on the Warner Bros. legacy from the 1920s to the 1950s, when timeless classics such as Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and East of Eden came to life. It also looks at WB’s earlier homes along Hollywood’s “Poverty Row,” the birthplace of Looney Tunes, and the site of WB’s pioneering marriage between film and sound in the 1920s. Early Warner Bros. Studios also tells the tale of four brothers–Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack Warner–scions of a Polish Jewish immigrant family who rose from the humblest of origins to become Hollywood moguls of enormous and lasting influence.

Pages: 128 pages, paperback

Customer Reviews: There are two reviews, and both gave the book five stars, the highest rating.

My Thoughts:

The description says it covers the years “1920s to the 1950s”, my favorite years included. You can search within this book, and it appears to have many photographs. New books are $14.95.

This sounds like something I would really like!


Here’s Looking At You, Warner Bros.: The History of the Warner Bros. Studios

DVD Sam Warner (2003) Product Description:

Item Name: Here’s Looking At You, Warner Bros.: The History of the Warner Bros. Studios; Studio: Warner Brothers

Pages: None, DVD Customer Reviews: Two reviewers both gave five stars.

My thoughts:

The reviews sound like it is a great DVD, but I think I would rather have a book.


Inside Warner Bros. (1935-1951)

by Rudy Behlmer (March 1987 Product Description: None
Pages: 358 pages, paperback Customer Reviews: Only one person wrote a review but gave the book four stars.

My Thoughts:

The title alone makes it sound like this book is right up my alley. It covers the years 1935-1951, so my favorite years 1939-1945 is covered. It has a good number of pages for a history book. I have seen the author on Turner Classic Movies documentaries. He is a film historian. This is an older book, so no new copies are available, but used copies in good contrition are available at very low prices.

This books sounds like something I would really like!


The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of: A Historical Look Behind the Gates of Warner Bros. Studio

by Amy; foreword by Clint Eastwood. Hilker (2005) Product Description: None
Pages: Does not say, hardcover Customer Reviews: None

My Thoughts:

This book has no “Product Description” and it has no reviews. Not much to go on, there. It also does not say how many pages it has, or let you search  inside the book to see how many pages there are. It was published in 2005, and the forward was written by Clint Eastwood. Other than that, there is not much to go on. I found a good review elsewhere that said partially:

photographic tour of the studio “behind the scenes” from its earliest days as First National Pictures in the 1920s through the golden era of Bogart and co.

It sounds pretty good, but there are a couple of other books on this list that sound very good.


You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story

by Richard Schickel (September 9, 2008) Product Description:

From Rin Tin Tin to Casablanca to Harry Potter, the Warner Bros. story is the history of Hollywood. Eighty-five years of screen icons, legendary films, and history-making achievements are detailed in this comprehensive, photo-filled treasure trove, fully authorized by the studio.

No production company has had more legendary films, stars, or influence on the course of Hollywood than Warner Bros. Among the superstars who worked for the studio are Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Joan Crawford, Marlon Brando, James Dean, and John Wayne. Filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick made history for the studio, and it has been home to blockbuster franchises like Superman, Batman, Lethal Weapon, and Harry Potter.

Produced in conjunction with Warner Bros., this volume is the ultimate guide to the greatest movie studio in history. You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story is also the companion to a five part documentary in the PBS American Masters series by author Richard Schickel that will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the spring of 2008 and debut on PBS in the fall, to coincide with publication of the book.

Pages: 480 pages, hardcover


“Customer Reviews” Eleven reviews with four people giving it the highest rating of five stars.

My Thoughts:

I looked at this book in a bookstore yesterday. My favorite years only took up a fourth of the book. I am not interested in a book that is mostly not want I want. There are better books on this list.


You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story

DVD Richard Schickel Product Description:

The power and the stories. The trends and trendsetters. The mirror that reflects our life and times. It’s Rick sticking his neck out for nobody. Superman rescuing Lois Lane. Bette Davis pumping lead into the man she loves. George Clooney masterminding a Vegas heist. Harry Potter wielding his powers. You must remember these…. Clint Eastwood narrates Richard Schickel’s perceptive 5-episode, 85th-anniversary salute to the studio that gained a four-footed hold with an unlikely star (Rin Tin Tin), championed tough guys and dames who gave the Depression and the Nazis the raspberry, countered the box-office onslaught of TV and emerged as a 21st-century giant. Art, business, stars, moneymen, America – it’s an enthralling tale. And it’s all here.

Pages: None, DVD

Customer Reviews: Seven reviews, with two reviewers giving the maximum of five starts.

My Thoughts:

This is a DVD version of the book described above. But, I would imaging that the book has a lot more information than a DVD would be able to fit in, even though it is five parts. Also, it includes years I am not interested in reading about. This is not something I want.


Warner Bros Story

by Clive Hirschorn (January 10, 1987) Product Description: None

Pages: 480, hardcover

Customer Reviews: None

My Thoughts:

It was published in 1987. There is no Product Description or any reviews. However, it has 480 pages, so there must be a lot of information in this book.


OK, so now I have done the research. Here is my Christmas list:


The Brothers Warner

by Cass Warner Sperling (June 12, 2008)

( $20.99 new)


Early Warner Bros. Studios (Images of America) (Images of America Series)

by E.J. Stephens (July 26, 2010)

($14.95 new)


Inside Warner Bros. (1935-1951)

by Rudy Behlmer (March 1987

(used copies in good contrition are available at very low prices)

Thank you for reading this far down!


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