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Eskimo Star: From the Tundra to Tinseltown the Ray Mala Story Paperback – April 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Epicenter Press; 1st edition (April 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935347128
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935347125
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,236,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lael Morgan brings to life the grit, pluck, and drive that enabled Ray Mala to become the most famous indigenous actor and cameraman in Hollywood. Despite poverty and racism, Mala succeeded in an unlikely profession far from home." -- --William L Iggiagruk Hensley, author of Fifty Miles from Tomorrow

About the Author

Lael Morgan is an award-winning writer, historian, photographer, and journalist who has written numerous books about Alaska, including the popular ART & ESKIMO POWER. She was named Alaska's historian of the year in 1998 for her work on GOOD TIME GIRLS.

More About the Author

Lael Morgan, was born in rural Maine and has lived more than half her life in the wilds. She started her writing career as a reporter for the Malden Press in Massachusetts. Later she became a photojournalist at the Juneau Empire in Alaska's capitol city, and then covered crime, politics and the old red light district for the Fairbanks News Miner just south of the Arctic Circle.

In 1968, Morgan began a five year stint at the Los Angeles Times, and then returned to the Far North for assignments with National Geographic, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and Alaska Magazine.

In 1988 she joined the Department of Journalism and Broadcasting, University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she taught writing, photography and multimedia for 12 years. In 1999 she became managing editor and later publisher of the Casco Bay Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Portland, Maine. Then, motivated by a low threshold of boredom, she moved south to Arlington, Texas, where she went to work for the Department of Communication, University of Texas Arlington.

Morgan has authored more than a dozen books, including Good Time Girls of the Alaska Yukon Gold Rush which in 1998 won her the title of Historian of the Year from the Alaska Historical Society. Art and Eskimo Power: The Life and Times of Alaskan Howard Rock, a book she wrote in 1988, was recently included in a listing state's best nonfiction books, and has been republished by University of Alaska Press.

Morgan is currently at work on a Montana-based book titled Madeleine and Her Sisters in Sin for Chicago Review Press.



Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book very enjoyable----it is a part of Alaskan history that had been lost---I even bought a copy for a friend. I think folks interested in film history as well as those of us here in Alaska would find this worth reading.
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By Paul Ayotte on January 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
This was a good book. I am an Alaskan history buff and this book has it all from the pioneering days of the turn of the last century up in Alaska to the times that most of people my age doesn't hear about old times of hollywood. The book was real interesting and from reading; it gave a look into the life of a man whom most people have forgotten about. He was the leading role in films at a time when a non white actor could only dream of, its neat that an Native American was a pioneer to lead the way. The book itself was fun to read as it was full of history and about a underapprechiated humble 'movie star of the old times' -Ray Mala.
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Format: Paperback
Ray Mala, an astonishingly handsome, part Inupiat from Nome, was raised traditionally, yet found his way in Hollywood, his name on theater marquees. This unusual recipe for a leading man makes his journey from actor to cinematographer -- for Alfred Hitchcock among others -- a fascinating and extremely readable tale.
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By Granny-Ma on November 1, 2014
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the whole book--a little bit of Alaska history not recognized
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stuffed Animal on December 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ray Mala is best remembered as the star of "Robinson Crusoe Of Clipper Island", a beloved Republic movie serial. To my knowledge, he was the only Asian actor to star in an action flick with White sidekicks. That enjoyable film, which is widely available on both VHS and DVD, was certainly groundbreaking. However, author Lael Morgan chooses to focus on an earlier feature-length movie, "Eskimo", which has been long forgotten and is not currently available. She is wrong about it being Mala's most famous film and is to be faulted for giving "Robinson Crusoe" short shrift. However, Ms. Morgan is a competent writer, and she tells us as much as we're liable to ever know about this enigmatic trailblazer of a man. As it turns out, his early life was a constant challenge. With one parent dead, another absent and a step-family who treated him horribly, it's a miracle he survived. That he not only did so but also made a career for himself in Hollywood at the height of racial segregation attests to his tenacity and strong character.

Other than the downplaying of "Robinson Crusoe", I have another strong criticism of this book. Twice, Lael Morgan uses the sexual slur "swish" in reference to Gay men. This was totally uncalled-for! Ray Mala was not Gay and his story does not turn on any Gay relationships; such insulting language wasn't needed to advance the narrative, and it reflects poorly on the author. Still, "Eskimo Star" will be an essential Ray Mala biography until something better comes along. He was incredibly handsome, so a book of publicity shots would make for an excellent companion volume. For sure, anyone who buys "Eskimo Star" will want a DVD copy of "Robinson Crusoe" of Clipper Island" to fully appreciate Mala's charisma and acting skill.
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