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Famous Players (A Treasury of XXth Century Murder)
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Famous Players

(Treasury of XXth Century Murder)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  246 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Early Hollywood director Taylor is found shot. Was it the star May Miles Minter or a former butler? A scandal sheet delectable murder mystery.
Hardcover, 76 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by NBM Publishing
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  246 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
1922 - Hollywood, USA


Movie director William Desmond Taylor is found shot dead in his home. The suspect list, featuring several popular actresses, reads like the credits from one of his films.


Soon after the discovery of the body, Taylor's home is aswarm with curious neighbors and bystanders. They touch the body, trample evidence and leave fingerprints everywhere. A studio head is allowed to comb through drawers and cabinets in search of anything that might reflect poorly upon the deceased or the
David Bales
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is another great Rick Geary graphic novel about the 1922 murder of Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor. Taylor, a nefarious character who abandoned his family for Hollywood in 1908 and became a notable actor, director and bon vivant, was found shot to death in his Hollywood bungalow in the golden days of silent films, scandal, champagne and drugs.
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting history lesson regarding Hollywood and the genesis of the town being synonymous with scandal.

Enjoyed this. On par with Geary's other works. Informative and exquisitely rendered.

Reese Lightning
Not *quite* as enthralling as some of my favorite Geary works, but a good one nonetheless.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loeg-archives
These Geary books are terrific. Taylor was a movie director back in the earliest days of Hollywood (back when Tommy Edison used to send his thugs to Hollywood to break knees!), and he got killed late one evening. Geary does his typically outstanding job presenting all the preserved facts and examining various theories. Everything is laid out clearly, the pacing is perfect, and Geary provides all the necessary background and follow-up to set the moment and to let the readers see how various playe ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
If you're into true crime and old time Hollywood, this one's for you. I almost wish it was longer to go into all the odd side details like the murder victims bevy of women who were basically his beard. Also, the connections to the greater tragedies of Hollywood was interesting, though I wonder if it's more these tragedies are of more interest to us because they're famous than that they are so different... also how this played into the movie ratings... so interesting. More!
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-indies
One more of Rick Geary's collection of illustrated famous crime cases from the 20th century. I'm getting used to the format and quite enjoy it, but this time the case itself didnt have any particular interest. An early hollywood scandal that imho didn't deserve to belong in this collection. Mediocre and usual crime without any extraordinary details to remeber or to get you excited.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Another case I wasn't familiar with. Interesting to read about Hollywood in the Silent Movie era
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting story if you like unsolved murder cases. Geary does a good job of illustrating the story, but personally I find his style a bit stiff.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
true crime, meticulous art.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful version of this true crime story, illustrating the crime scene with clarity. A great companion to "A Cast of Killers," a prose book of the same topic.
Nicola Mansfield
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

It's been a while since I've read Geary and what a wonderful treat to delve into one of his graphics again. I love Geary's artwork and he shall always remain one of my favourite artists. His style is simple b/w drawings but very detailed. This story is about the murder of a great early silent movie director whom I've never heard of before. The world of early Hollywood and silent movies is explored. Something I, myself am familiar with having read a lot of b
Sam Quixote
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rick Geary puts out another excellent book, this time moving his series on murder into the 20th century. The focus is of the murder of Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor in 1922.

Taylor was a director for the Famous Players studio who was found shot dead on the floor of his house on February 1st 1922. Geary masterfully sets the scene. How Hollywood began, the burgeoning interest in "moving pictures" and the dark side that wealth brings with it. He lists the number of actors and film execs
Summary: Famous Players : the mysterious death of William Desmond Taylor by Rick Geary explores the facts and events leading up to and following the death of a famous movie director in the 1920's. The Hollywood director was murdered in his apartment late one evening, but no one was ever caught. The book explores the different possibilities of who might have murdered William Desmond Taylor but no one ever discovered the real culprit. William Desmond Taylor's past is also discovered and called int ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Rick Geary does an admirable job here of summarizing the unsolved case of the Hollywood murder of William Desmond Taylor in 1922. I first read about this case in Stanley Kirkpatrick's book A Cast of Killers, but it's been a long time since I read it. This book reacquainted me with the facts of the case. Geary is one of the few graphic novel artists whose artwork I like, and, in this case, his artwork gave me a new perspective on the case, with his maps and drawings of what Hollywood looked like ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I did not realize, upon requesting this from my local library, that this was a graphic novel, so that certainly threw me for a loop. Overall, it's not a bad book. I'd probably give it 3.5 stars, if that were possible. It feels a little "introductory," and it's very likely that I'm well out of the projected target-audience. It's a good little book for someone who may not want a traditional history tome. I would have preferred something with a little more depth to it, or maybe it was the organizat ...more
Oct 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Acclaimed creator Geary explores the true story of the infamous Taylor murder. Set during the early days of Hollywood, when movies were silent and a person could hide from a questionable past, Famous Players opens with a brief overview of the film industry circa 1922 and then dives into the murder itself. Found dead from a single gunshot wound, successful director Taylor left behind a bevy of jilted women and unsavory associates. Geary succinctly and deftly examines the lives of Taylor and the k ...more
John Young
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
The second of Geary's books dealing with murder in the 20th century... The subject is interesting, being one of the first high profile Hollywood scandals. Great primer on the history of Hollywood itself. I was surprised by William Desmond Taylor's background, as it emerged. My only complaint is that Geary's trademark dispassionate view of his subject sometimes leads to a blander feel than is necessary. However, I can not overstate how wonderful and masterful Geary's artwork is... The page depict ...more
Steven Pattison
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
A graphic novel whodunit on the true unsolved murder story of a silent film era director William Desmond Taylor who was found dead in his Hollywood home in 1922.

Mostly because it's so forgotten about I find the days of early Hollywood so interesting, but aside from all the glitz and glamor summoned in this book this was a well drawn & written mystery about an influential and mostly forgotten person of old Hollywood.
As much as I love comic book form true crime, Geary does run into problems with more long form versions of recounting events when so little is known about the crime. On the other hand, how much is still not known about a crime that occurred in one of the most famous neighborhoods in the United States with all well known people involved speaks to the high profile crime themes that pervade the 20th century (OJ Simpson, anyone?).
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost left 3 stars as if it didn't deserve 4
and then I thought about

** CLICHE ALERT ** "how hard it was to put it down"
and I realized that I really enjoy Geary's Comics/Histories of murder mysteries,
and it is not always the stories which are so compelling
but often the whole crux of the matter is in
the story is told,
and in that,
Geary is excellent.
I enjoy his well-paced,
and intriguing story-telling.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great way (graphic novel style) to learn about a piece of history, and Rick Geary has a unique way of "narrating" (drawing) a headline historical event. His graphic series of XXth Century Murders is a fun way (well, okay, "fun" might not be the best word to describe murder, but you know) of putting together bits and pieces of stories from the past. The story was engaging and his signature artistic style went well with this time and place in cultural history. I will look for more of his work.
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I can't get enough of Rick Geary. The intrigue, the writing style, the woodcut-style art. This particular story was set in my hometown, mentioning locations and addresses that I grew up driving past, and had a cast of famous Hollywood players of the 1920's. Shoddy police work, secrets, intrigue and a still-unsolved mystery. This book is right up my alley!
Perhaps this was because the book was about murder that I knew nothing about, but I found this to be one of my personal favorites. Geary unravels the mystery of this strange compelling man whose false identities and shadowy past may have contributed to his strange murder. And the lush setting of old Hollywood, complete with glamor, vice, and money came together to make a great read.
Jennifer Daniel
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't really know much about the early days of Hollywood and had never heard of the unsolved case of murder that was examined here. Fairly interesting but I just couldn't get totally into it. The whole silent movie era holds little appeal to me. It wasn't until the 30's that movies really got going in my opinion.
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fascinating Geary historical comic. This one was great because it focused on the early days of film in LA and Geary's rich and lush maps and illustrations really create time and setting. Definitely made me want to learn more about this and other mysterious Hollywood murders...
Oops, apparently I read this back in 2007 and forgot! Not surprised, this wasn't the most engaging of murders, though it was interesting to find out about the history of Hollywood's past as a town with troubles.
Jan 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very well presented objective approach to the mystery. Geary makes a couple of assumptions sound like fact, but other than that a good way into the mystery. I'm using it in class to introduce the major research project.
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love Rick Geary and his graphic novels based on true crimes. The images are timeless in black and white and tell a wonderful story of the time as well as the crime. I learned a lot about early cinema.
Joseph Young
Oct 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not very compelling. There is no reason to care about the situation, nor is any reason provided to care. Book promises a thrilling murder, but then bores without any real conclusion. A disappointment. Art is decent, and it sort of keeps you reading, but not enough for a 2 star book instead of 1.
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RICK GEARY was born in 1946 in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in Wichita,
Kansas. He graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where his first cartoons were published in the University Daily Kansan. He worked as staff artist for two weekly papers in Wichita before moving to San Diego in 1975.

He began work in comics in 1977 and was for thirteen years a contributor to the Funny Pages of

Other books in the series

Treasury of XXth Century Murder (6 books)
  • The Lindbergh Child (A Treasury of XXth Century Murder)
  • The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans
  • The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti
  • Lovers' Lane: the Hall-Mills Mystery (A Treasury of XXth Century Murder)
  • Madison Square Tragedy: The Murder of Stanford White
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