More good-natured memoirs from the king of chat. King (Tell Me More, 1990, etc.) rules the live airwaves these days. Here, he gives a clue to his success, saying ``I was always...Immediate Gratification King. It's why I love doing live radio and live television.'' It's also why he loves Brooklyn, the subject of these boyhood memoirs. King (born in 1933) was raised there in a Jewish-and-Italian neighborhood where the pursuit of pleasure was the name of the game. Food was ``a religious experience''—miraculous chocolate egg-creams, heavenly blintzes (``eat six or seven, then get right in your car and drive to the hospital for your heart attack''). Adventures with a teenage gang made way for girl-chasing and amateur theatrics. Working one summer in the Catskills, King ``got laid...on home plate at the Grossinger's softball field''; back in Bensonhurst, he matched muscles in a street-corner contest with another local Jewish boy, future Dodger superstar Sandy Koufax. Life revolved around family (lots of eccentric relatives here), sports, and, increasingly, the magic of radio. King imagines what it would have been like to be on CNN back in those days (from a fantasy interview with Hitler: ``It vas the people of Poland who called for us''). Happy memories notwithstanding, times were tough: King's father died young, and his mother went on welfare and worked as a seamstress in a sweatshop. King's prospects seemed gloomy. He was a terrible student, graduating high school with a 66 average; only his chutzpah and good will, both enormous, pulled him through. King concludes with a nostalgic visit to his childhood haunts. Murray the Barber is gone, so is Maltz's Candy Store; the neighborhood is sliding downhill. But still ``those inanimate objects were breathing that weekend, whispering memories to me, making my life full''—and making this reminiscence a warmhearted winner.
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