Mr. Scott Allen Nollen MA

Scott Allen Nollen

Scott Allen Nollen is an American historian, biographer, archivist, filmmaker and musician known widely as the author of a series of popular books on the history of film, music, literature and African American studies. Nollen's literary collaborators include science-fiction legend Ray Bradbury, author-filmmakers Nicholas Meyer and Michael A. Hoey, British musicians Ian Anderson and Dave Pegg, R&B singer Ruth Pointer, television producer Tony Oppedisano, celebrity offspring Dame Jean Conan Doyle (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Sara Jane Karloff (Boris Karloff) and Chris Costello (Lou Costello), and Theron Denson, "the World's Only African-American Neil Diamond Tribute Artist." He also is known for producing, directing and playing two roles in the independent film Lofty (2005), with his nephew, Ryan C. Baumbach, and co-writing the screenplays for the award-winning documentaries "Kreating Karloff" (2006) and "Finnigan's War" (2013). Since 1983, Nollen has written scores of articles and essays, as well as authoring and editing over 40 books, including "The Boys: The Cinematic World of Laurel and Hardy" (1989), "Boris Karloff: A Critical Account of His Screen, Stage, Radio, Television and Recording Work" (1991), "Robert Louis Stevenson: Life, Literature and the Silver Screen" (1994), "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the Cinema: A Critical Study of the Film Adaptations" (1996), "Boris Karloff: A Gentleman's Life" (1999),"Robin Hood: A Cinematic History of the English Outlaw and His Scottish Counterparts" (1999), "Jethro Tull: A History of the Band, 1968-2001" (2001), "The Cinema of Sinatra: The Actor, on Screen and in Song" (2003), "Louis Armstrong: The Life, Music and Film Career" (2004), "Warners Wiseguys: All 112 Films that Robinson, Cagney and Bogart Made for the Studio" (2007), "Abbott and Costello on the Home Front: A Critical Study of the Wartime Films" (2009), "Jilly! Sinatra's Right-Hand Man" (2009), "Paul Robeson: Film Pioneer" (2010), "Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond (2013), Black Diamond: The Real Illusion" (2013), and "Glenda Farrell: Hollywood's Hardboiled Dame" (2014). In 2014, Nollen was selected by the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress to contribute to the National Film Registry website, writing essays on Paul Robeson's "The Emperor Jones" (1933) and John Ford's "Stagecoach," "The Quiet Man," "The Searchers" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." In 2015, Nollen completed a chapter on Robert Louis Stevenson's novels "Treasure Island" and "Kidnapped" for a book on the Walt Disney films for Rowman & Littlefield and a long-planned book on the classic Warner Bros. "social-problem" film "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" (1932), starring Paul Muni and Glenda Farrell, which includes a full biography of the actual fugitive, Robert Elliott Burns, for McFarland. Nollen recently finished a chapter on John Ford for a book on films dealing with the Civil War, and currently is writing the first-ever book in English on Akira Kurosawa's favorite actor, "Takashi Shimura: Chameleon of the Japanese Cinema," for McFarland. He also is writing a "companion volume" (for McFarland) on the great Japanese actress Setsuko Hara (1920-2015), the favorite of master director Yasujiro Ozu ("Late Spring" [1949] and "Tokyo Story" [1953], among others). This biography, as with the one on Shimura, will be the first written in the English language. Educated at the University of Iowa, Nollen earned a BA in Honors History (1988), a BA in Broadcasting and Film (1988), and an MA in United States, Modern European and African American History (1989). His main influences while at the University were Professor Lawrence Gelfand (History) and Professor Samuel Becker (Communication Studies), who had been recommended to him by Nicholas Meyer, who has maintained a strong relationship with the school. Another highlight for Nollen were his private discussions with legendary astronomer and physicist James Van Allen. From 1991-2001, Nollen served as a federal archivist, filmmaker and lecturer for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, DC, and at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa. Why does Nollen keep writing? He said, "Writing is not why I write. It is what gets me to the writing--the detective work--that drives me. After I solve the mystery, I'm really done, and the writing is just a semantic way of passing on knowledge to others, even though they'll probably never know how difficult it was to generate. I guess it's like most work--you just drive down a highway, not even thinking of the backbreaking toil of so many people who constructed the thing. Yes, I've practiced writing all my life, always trying to make it better--leaner, more concise, more readable--but it's always that lifelong desire to be Sherlock Holmes that has kept me (and keeps me, now being disabled) going. As long as there are mysteries that interest me, I'll always want to solve them. Why is that the way it is?" Nollen lives "wherever he hangs his hat." In the end, he'd like to be known as having "tried as hard as I could to avoid prejudice, intolerance and hate in all its forms. In my lifetime, I'm afraid humans have become so enamored with disposable technology that they've imparted so little importance to their own intellectual and philosophical evolution. After 30 years of working as a historian, it's often difficult to remain positive, but there's always hope. My Number-one U.S. President is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My all-time favorite human beings from the U.S. have been (male) the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and (female) Jane Addams."