The Fame Formula is a gripping study of the forgotten lives, and broken dreams, of the creators of the publicity industry - men who stepped out of the circus life carrying the legacy of P.T. Barnum and applied it liberally to vaudeville and the movies. Starting in the early twentieth century with Harry Reichenbach and Maynard Nottage, whose love of creating bizarre stunts for their clients sometimes outweighed their interest in money, The Fame Formula also reflects how the industry changed, and was changed by, society.
The book shows how, in the hands of notorious Hollywood fixers Eddie Mannix and Howard Strickling, publicity agents Russell Birdwell, Warren Cowan, Henry Rogers and more, this freewheeling, anarchic industry became the corporate behometh it is today. It is a story packed with humour, incident, skulduggery and disappointment. Here are the men who hatched ostrich eggs to promote movies and hatched incredible stories to dress up the lives of stars, who buried stories that didn`t fit and buried their lives in their work. And in so doing they laid the foundation of a billion dollar manipulation industry and the modern world`s rampant commercial culture.