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Niagara Falls All Over Again by Elizabeth McCracken
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Jul 22, 10

Read in July, 2010

The Golden Age of Hollywood will always be lovingly remembered for the emergence of the comedy duo. Those were the days of Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and even the team of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. The formula for a good comedy duo was quite simple: one half of it was the buffoon, who delivered all the physical gags, and the remaining half was the straight man, who tried to remain unfazed by the former's antics. The formula worked so well that the trend even lasted through the sixties where the team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis ruled supreme.

Elizabeth McCracken gives a hilarious and touching story of such a pairing in Niagara Falls All Over Again. She generously serves a deliciously wicked and heart-warming memoir narrated by the straight half of a fictional comedy duo from that memorable Golden Era. It is a story of a professional partnership and an enduring friendship that started from their early days in vaudeville during the Great Depression, through their first taste of Hollywood during the Second World War, and onwards through America's journey into maturity as they decline into obscurity. I also like the way McCracken presents her characters with so much depth and dimension that it makes one realize that in life, one should look beyond stereotypes and that inconsistency in one's character is what makes us human after all.
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