Karen Maness and Hollywood's Famous Back Drops Appear on CBS Sunday Morning

February 10, 2020

Scenic artist and USITT Board Member Karen Maness will showcase a collection of backdrops featured in the book The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop at USITT 2020.

Co-Authors Maness and American theater scholar Richard M. Isackes released their book to the world three years ago. The work is a collection of revealing details surrounding the hidden world and creators of entertainment's most recognizable backdrops, long-guarded as a special effects secret by the major studios such as MGM, Warner Brothers, Universal, Columbia, 20th Century Fox, and Paramount.

In an effort to preserve the irreplaceable knowledge of scenic masters, Maness and Isackes, in collaboration with the Art Directors Guild, have compiled a definitive history of the craft, complete with interviews of the surviving artists.

Maness made an appearance on CBS Sunday Morning on Feb. 9, 2020  to discuss the importance of these painted backdrops and the role they played in some of Hollywood's biggest films to date. Watch here as Maness talks about The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop as well as her work with the Backdrop Recovery Project.

We sat down the Maness in November of 2016 just days before the books release to discuss its origins and the impact she hoped it would have on the industry. Read the piece in full to see how far the book has come since its initial publication.

Maness and Isackes were also recently featured in the Los Angeles Times. Read the piece in full here.

Make sure to set aside time in your Conference schedule to see the intricate and timeless backdrop Maness will be displaying at USITT 2020 in Houston. The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop will also be available for purchase onsite at the USITT Bookstore.