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Publisher's Letter

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Hollywood has always been big on sequels, and now we’re going to make one of our own with our celebration of Hollywood’s 100th birthday. In the Feb. 9 issue we gave you a 42-page section filled with lore, scandal, pictures of the all-time great stars and stories about the way it was. We had fun putting it together, and from your letters—despite complaints about our omission of Mickey Mouse—we gather that you had as much fun reading it. The response was so heartening, in fact, that we have decided to put out an expanded Hollywood 100th Birthday Collector’s Edition, which will be available at $3.95 by direct mail (see p. 106 for order form). Senior Editor Carol Wallace again will be in charge, and she says, “With 78 extra pages, we plan to make it even more entertaining and exciting. Anyone who loves movies will love this.” (If you’re wondering, Mickey and great screen romances will be there.)

Finding the photos for the Hollywood Special is the responsibility of picture researcher Sarah Rozen, 29. For our Feb. 9 issue and for the new expanded version, she has sorted through thousands of photos from some 75 picture collections, commercial and private. Her goal: to find the most glamorous, noteworthy and telling shots of the stars. “The editors are always asking for the perfect picture, the picture that says it all,” Sarah says. She finds that photos of the newer stars pale next to those of the old-timers. “In the old studio days the stars were willing to pose for glamour and publicity shots,” she says. “Now they won’t, and there isn’t the publicity mill to make a star the way there used to be.”

Show business is nothing new to Rozen. Before joining PEOPLE in 1986 she spent a year as a casting assistant at Paramount Television’s Manhattan office. Previously she had put in three years with the Time-Life Picture Collection. The daughter of faculty members at Penn State, Rozen graduated from the university in 1980 with a B.A. in general arts. She has been a movie fan ever since her mother convinced her at 8 that a new short haircut would make her look like Julie Andrews.

Checking on the accuracy of the captions (“Is Fred Astaire doing the Continental or the Carioca here?”) is the task of Blanche Williamson, 28. A graduate of the University of North Carolina with a degree in art, she started out in our production department in 1982 and became the photo-caption researcher in 1985. “Photographs are selected on the basis of how they look and what they’re about,” she says. “It’s my job to find out the who, what, where and when of a picture and supply that to the writer for the captions.”

On a more somber note, this week’s cover (p. 58) is the first installment of a three-part series on Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon. This, the longest series the magazine has ever run, is the result of three years of research and more than 150 hours of interviews with Chapman by Executive Editor James R. Gaines as well as lengthy interviews that defense and prosecution psychiatrists had with Chapman. “He never expressed the kind of remorse you would wish from him,” says Gaines. “I think Chapman agreed to talk to me because he wanted to find out why he killed Lennon. I think I was able to make connections and point out patterns to him he hadn’t realized before. I hope this piece will convince him he’s not sane. He still thinks he is and what happened couldn’t be helped.”

Gaines’s work is a magnificent portrait of a human mind. Take the time to read it.