Milt Josefsberg was not just a writer for Jack Benny's radio and television shows, he was also a good friend. It is hard to describe the book, because...moreMilt Josefsberg was not just a writer for Jack Benny's radio and television shows, he was also a good friend. It is hard to describe the book, because there are so many stories about Jack and the people he interacted with every day. Milt relates some of Jack's favorite jokes. the truth behind the "feud" with Fred Allen, how each character of the show was an important part of their long success, and so forth.
The first time I even knew anything about Jack Benny was through the cartoons that portrayed Jack as a fiddle-playing mouse. I read the book about Jack written by his daughter, Joan, but I found Milt's book more personal, more interesting and more laugh out loud funny. I got a clearer picture of the man Jack truly was in private, which was the total opposite of his radio character. I know that for some people, reading the jokes will not be the same as hearing them, but just close your eyes and imagine laying on the floor in front of the radio as Jack, Mary, Rochester and the rest of the gang did their shows every Sunday night at 7 p.m. Trust me, the laughs will come. Read this one first before you read any other book about Jack Benny. (less)
She is known to millions of people the world over as the beautiful witch, Glinda, who shows Dorothy that no matter how far she travels, there is no pl...moreShe is known to millions of people the world over as the beautiful witch, Glinda, who shows Dorothy that no matter how far she travels, there is no place like home. But long before this iconic role, she was the toast of Edwardian London, then Broadway. But it was her life with, and without, her husband, the Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld, that would dictate the course of her life.
She was born Mary William Ethelbert Burke on August 7, 1884 in Washington, D.C. Her father was Billy Burke, the famous Barnum clown; her mother, Blanche Beatty, was the driving force behind her only child's early career. Billie had no interest in a stage career, and her father certainly did not want this for his daughter, but Blanche was determined. She made sure that Billie took acting, elocution, singing and dancing lessons while they lived in London. When she was old enough, Blanche began to secure bit parts for Billie in London music halls. Composer Leslie Stuart hired her for a bit part in a show called The School Girl, assigning her to sing "Mamie, I Have a Little Canoe" in the second act. It was the start of her career.
She became not only the new sensation of the London stage, but she was seen as a fashion plate, an image that would remain with her throughout her life. After a few years under the guidance of actor-producer Charles Hawtrey, Billie was given the opportunity of her young life when American producer Charles Frohman took an interest in her and brought her to Broadway. The type of characters she played - self-absorbed, absentminded, always beautifully dressed flibbertigibbets - never changed from play to play, but the public loved her. She became friends with Mark Twain, the one bright spot in his life at a time of great tragedy for the celebrated writer, and was courted by the great tenor Enrico Caruso. But it was Ziegfeld who captured her heart, even though Frohman threatened to fire her if she married him. She married him anyway. Frohman didn't fire her, but he sent her on a grueling tour of her show "Jerry". During this tour, Frohman boarded the Lusitania, which was sunk by a German U-boat in May 1915.
In 1916, she signed a movie contract with director Thomas Ince, and made two movies before giving birth to her only child, Florenz Patricia Burke Ziegfeld. Despite outward appearances, the Ziegfeld marriage was a troubled one because of Flo's infidelity. Billie had used her money to buy her first home, Burkeley Crest before her marriage, and it was here she lived for the majority of her marriage. She helped finance Flo's Broadway shows when he was short of money; he spoilt his two girls with expensive gifts. Billie was content to be Mrs. Ziegfeld, and even though Flo was her manager, she did not work much. But when the stock market crashed in 1929 and they lost everything, it was Billie who returned to work to help pay their enormous debts.
Flo was never the same after the crash, and on July 22, 1932, he died, leaving Billie and Patricia alone and nearly destitute. But there was one thing that Billie had inherited from her father was the "ability to sidestep disaster and keep smiling as if it were not really happening", and this kept many people except those closest to her from discovering just how dire her situation truly was. Her movie career took off after Flo's death, and the character role that she had begun to perfect on Broadway, as a flibbertigibbet, turned her into a wonderful character actress with a true gift for comedy.
With the help of Billie's daughter, Patricia, her grandchildren, and actors who had worked with Billie throughout her career, author Grant Hayter-Mentzies paints a portrait of this talented actress that was the opposite of her screen persona. Strong and determined, she glided through life with her head held high through the most trying circumstances and made her way back to the top, leaving behind characters like Glinda (The Wizard of Oz), Clara Topper (the Topper series), Millicent Jordan (Dinner at Eight), and Mrs. Fosgate (Sergeant Rutledge) for future generations to discover and enjoy.
I found this book while on vacation in Missouri and decided to get it a try. It was the artwork on the cover that drew me in.
Brett Kavanaugh, owner o...moreI found this book while on vacation in Missouri and decided to get it a try. It was the artwork on the cover that drew me in.
Brett Kavanaugh, owner of The Painted Lady, is drawn into a case involving a missing bride-to-be (think runaway bride!). She has seen the young woman, Kelly Masters, because Kelly had shown up at Brett's shop wanting a tattoo of clasped hands with the name 'Matthew' written in the middle. But the next day, Brett discovers that "Kelly" is really Elise Lyon, fiancee of Chip Manning, whose father, Bruce, is one of the most powerful men in the country.
A big bald man with an eagle tattoo on his neck starts following Brett around, but she doesn't know why. When the real Kelly Masters' body is found, things get more complicated. Is the English manager of the Venetian, Simon Chase, involved in the murder and Elise's disappearance? Brett certainly hopes not, because his voice sends chills down her spine. And who the heck is following Brett around town in a Dodge Dakota?
With the help of her friends, Bitsy and Joel, and her detective brother, Tim, Brett starts to uncover a complicated mess that leads to the door of her competition, Jeff Coleman, Kelly Masters' ex-husband. A kidnapping and an unexpected encounter at The Painted Lady puts Brett in the sights of a killer.
This is a very fast-paced book, which I love immensely! Brett drives a Bullitt car just like Steve McQueen, and gets the chance to drive it just like he did. This is the first in a new series for author Karen E. Olson, and I can't wait to read her next one!(less)