FLICKERS by Phillip Rock


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Here we have a Hollywood Charleston party loosely geared to the careers of Laurel, Hardy, and, one presumes, producer Hal Roach--and, as such, moderately fast-paced and engaging. In a present-day interview, snatches of which are interspersed through the narrative, producer Earl Donovan reminisces about the early Twenties and his climb from carny hustler to studio head in a few short ruses, most notably his marriage to America's celluloid sweetheart, Doll Fairbaine. Along Donovan's path to glory there also toils a robust slice of filmdom, including Thalberg, Cukor, and D. W. himself, all of whom make walk-throughs. But the fictional principals carry the show: incredibly insecure and periodically alcoholic Tom Pipp (Laurel) with fat, gentle Billy Wells as his Hardy; Doll Fairbaine, jouncing over thick and thin with hardly a crease in her crinolines; and fretful Vardon Boiling, chief of Sterling Pictures, booming for a while with the likes of the popular Doll and Pipp but eventually doomed by Gilman angel Harry Ashbaugh and his entanglements with the scandals of the Harding Administration. Setting--the carny world, studio backlots, Doll's mountain ranch--will draw the expected oohs and ahs from the nostalgia-prone. Rate this three-and-a-half-stars for film oldies buffs, a few celluloid notches down for the unbedazzled.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Dodd, Mead