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Leonard Maltin's 2012 Movie Guide, 1969-????

by John Rabe | Off-Ramp

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Leonard Maltin takes up valuable inches on John Rabe's reference shelf. John Rabe

The face on the cover of "Leonard Maltin's 2012 Movie Guide" is a little older but the 43-year-old book series still retains its comfortable heft, in terms of weight and respectability.

Maltin conceived the guide before DVD rentals, cable and premium channels. Movies were aired on local television stations and shown in local theaters. These theaters showed the same movie repeatedly throughout the day and cut the film to fit the theater's desired time frame, including commercials. "In a 90-minute time slot, there was probably 75 to 80 minutes of movie," Maltin explains. His guide gave the actual running time of every film so moviegoers would know if they had been shortchanged.

The first edition of his book was published in 1969. Maltin describes his target audience as "die-hard movie buffs, who watched [movies] all the time and wanted to know more about them than what the newspaper told them." He also publishes a spin-off called "Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide" which caters to classic movie lovers.

Moving forward in the digital era, Maltin says he's "just hanging in there, through thick and thin." Although a "Leonard Maltin Movie Guide" app has been created, he hopes to continue publishing the book for years to come.

"We are all hopeful that it still has life in it."

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