The story of a love affair between two aspiring artists and New York City. What happens when one artist hits it and the ot...moreI really enjoyed this book.
The story of a love affair between two aspiring artists and New York City. What happens when one artist hits it and the other doesn't? At one point she says something to the effect that she hopes she will have "the grace to leave with class or possibly the class to leave with grace."
She shows us a picture of the young James Dean (I know, he died young), before he was a star. But he always liked to drive fast. And apparently she did, too. Or, maybe she picked it up from him.
One part I enjoyed was when the two of them and a mutual friend decided to hitchhike to Fairmount, Indiana - Jimmy's home. He shows her all around the farm. They each get roped into giving a lecture to his old drama teacher's class about life as actual artist.
It is funny and kind of sad, too, because you know the ending. But it was a very nice love story. And it all takes place against the backdrop of New York City and playing in Central Park. (less)
Interesting book. Follows the influence of fans on the movies, movies on the fans, fans used by the movies and the movies being “surprised” when the f...moreInteresting book. Follows the influence of fans on the movies, movies on the fans, fans used by the movies and the movies being “surprised” when the fans became out of control. There were two famous riots by the fans - one, when Valentino died in 1926 and the fans were so distraught that they broke the window in the funeral home in their frenzy to get to their idol no matter how. The other famous demonstration occurred in 1944 when Frank Sinatra was appearing and something people showed up in Times Square when there were only 157 cops on duty. Needless to say, they felt overwhelmed.
I enjoyed the section where she was talking about how the fans would rationalize how their favorite stars had changed. And the case used in point was Joan Crawford and how the fan of 1935 could associate her with the Lucille LeSeuer of Dancing Daughters (1928), although she had already changed her name and had more than 20 movies under her belt at that point; although, per imdb, she had only started in the movies in 1925. But, having already Bob Thomas’ book on her, I have a pretty general idea that she never did leave Lucille behind. Much as she might have liked to and tried to.
And she brings in what professionals were saying about the fans. They were childlike and immature and couldn’t reality from a dream world. On the other hand, in the years being discussed here (1910s though 1950s), reality was pretty grim and, as fans pointed out, the movies gave them a respite from reality. Movies helped them chill out for a couple of hours and to forget their real lives for the nonce. Movies helped to recharge their energies so they could go out and forget just how humdrum their lives really were. How with the respite, they could go back, know that there was a better world somewhere, and face life for a while. (less)
Very enjoyable. She was a live wire. And the funny thing is, she apparently never believed that she was a star or really evem that she was beautiful....moreVery enjoyable. She was a live wire. And the funny thing is, she apparently never believed that she was a star or really evem that she was beautiful. Although I think someone was telling her how beautiful she was (they were always telling her that) and I think she was in her sixties (she died at 67) and she said "I used to be."
And her husbands and boyfriends ... whoa! Mickey Rooney - the liar. Artie Shaw - wanted to make her into something brilliant. Frank Sinatra - they were the love of each other's lives but as husband and wife? Forget about it. They were always at each other's throat and running out in the middle of the night. I think they were too much alike. Howard Hughes - he kept throwing jewels at her and she kept throwing them back with "you're a good friend, but that's all." And he never got it. George C. Scott - she didn't know about abusive men and their lies at that time. I had read in Maureen Stapleton's and Colleen Dewhurst's books about him but they barely touched the surface. Yesterday I was looking in a catalog and there was one for "Rage" directed and starring George C. Scott. I thought how perfect. Who would know better about rage than someone who is enraged.
It was a very funny memoir, supplemented by memories from friends. Apparently her last years were less than happy because of the results of a stroke. Wonder if it had anything to do with all those years of heavy drinking?(less)
It starts with her horrendous childhood. She pretty much started working for her own keep at age 9 and spent most of the rest of her life trying to ma...moreIt starts with her horrendous childhood. She pretty much started working for her own keep at age 9 and spent most of the rest of her life trying to make people pay for it.
It's no wonder she treated her children bad - she had been treated bad by most of the poeple she had come in contact with. Most of her marriages didn't last any longer than four years.
What was really appalling is that she didn't just treat her kids bad (beating, locking them in the closet, tying them to the bed, etc.) in private - she did it in front of company. People were flabbergasted - they didn't know what to say. And this was in a time when people would normally spank their children. Most of them didn't do it in public however. The thing is she adopted all four of her children. To quote Helen Hayes, "Joan tried to be all thing to all people. I just wish she hadn't tried to be a mother."
Then, around middle age - she started behaving erratically. I'm not sure if this is when she started to drink heavily or if that was later. It got so that she would only drink 100 proof Smirnoff, and generally carried her own supply.
Plus, she became a cleanliness nut.
And I didn't know she was so short - only 5'4".
Didn't speak to her brother or mother for years. Didn't go to his funeral but did go to her mother's. She even cried - but she was really, finally, crying for herself, the little girl from San Antonio and Kansas City. Many people theorized that she had been punishing the children, especially the older two, for how she was treated as a child.
I just loved the story about Jane Darwell. How they didn't want her for "The Grapes of Wrath". But she got dressed in how she though Ma Joad would hav...moreI just loved the story about Jane Darwell. How they didn't want her for "The Grapes of Wrath". But she got dressed in how she though Ma Joad would have been dressed and sat there all day, like Ma would have done. Just waiting. They had to give it to her.
Some of the other stories were pure dreck but the Jane Darwell story made it worthwhile. (less)
This probably would have gotten a better rating if his scandal over wedding his adopted daughter hadn't broken in the midst of my reading this. It wou...moreThis probably would have gotten a better rating if his scandal over wedding his adopted daughter hadn't broken in the midst of my reading this. It wouldn't have been a lot better. It was still a boring book. It was too long.
I've since heard Mr. Lax do commentaries on dvds and he is very knowledgeable. It could just be that he was knowledgeable and decided he wanted to get certain information in. Just too much information. (less)
I read this when I was recuperating from jaw surgery. Not much you can do with two broken jaws but settle down and read books, trashy or no. But it wa...moreI read this when I was recuperating from jaw surgery. Not much you can do with two broken jaws but settle down and read books, trashy or no. But it was entertaining. (less)
Thoroughly enjoyable. Very funny at times. Also a bit on the sad side. For about the first half of the book she talks growing up in kind of a gypsy wa...moreThoroughly enjoyable. Very funny at times. Also a bit on the sad side. For about the first half of the book she talks growing up in kind of a gypsy way, always traveling from here to there - her parents were old vaudevillians. And I think her mother kind of ran a rooming house in Hollywood area, where other old vaudevillians came to stay. Her mother had been a dancer and Teri started her early career that way. She talks about her movies. Other reviewers have noted that she doesn’t go into that much detail. I think she goes into enough detail.
The real point of the book is the disease and how it can be sneaky. She had one symptom of MS or another for twenty years before she was finally diagnosed. Meanwhile, there were rumors going around for all those years that she had MS which she couldn’t confirm. People asked her if she wasn’t sad or mad. I imagine it was a relief to finally get a diagnosis. That finally means that you can take some action. Eventually, they persuaded to go out on a speaking tour to tell people about MS. And she found that talking to people not only helped them to know that they weren’t alone but it also helped her.
I really like when she talked about allowing herself 20-minute pity parties. She’d set the timer and when it was up it was time to get on with things. And it’s nice to know that I am not the only one who has played FreeCell for hours at a time. Order out of chaos.
So I found it a pretty enjoyable book.
Mel Brooks called it “a lesson in courage.” (less)
I went to high school with Todd. One thing you do not expect when a neighbor is having a book sale is to find a name that you know from a high school....moreI went to high school with Todd. One thing you do not expect when a neighbor is having a book sale is to find a name that you know from a high school. I have since got another book of his. I didn't know he worked for Variety.
And, to think, it all started at the Clark Theater - which Todd describes in this.(less)
I kind of went back and forth on this one. Almost putting it down in a couple of spots. But, after I read that she also wrote Detour I plugged on. It...moreI kind of went back and forth on this one. Almost putting it down in a couple of spots. But, after I read that she also wrote Detour I plugged on. It turned out to be a pretty fair mystery once I figured out what was going on.
The problem is this book plunges you in like you already know what is happening. But you don't really find out what is happenening until it is resolved.
But there was an interesting cast of characters. Interesting trial. All around kind of bizarre. Kind of noir but not hard-boiled.
"The dead sing softly. The dead sing true."
Introduction to this volume was by Marcia Muller. (less)