Most Hollywood memoirs are shrill performances, but the reminiscences of Robert Parrish, a former jack-of-all-trades in the industry, are a delightful surprise. Parrish moved to Hollywood as a boy and worked in movies, he says, for the same reason that a kid in a shoe town does odd jobs in a factory. Between peddling papers he played bits in City Lights and Our Gang and other films for big men of the booming industry who are seen--and heard--here in the heat of production. Director Robert McGowan of Our Gang coaches the kids on a ""Do"" (single take): ""Let's see you all open your mouths as though you were going to spit out a turkey egg."" Parrish has side jobs like tailing Mae West's bodyguards for a con man--before an intermittent cutting career that leads to a film-editing Oscar for Body and Soul, and some later directing. A particularly good chapter about Parrish's editing work on All the King's Men illuminates the problems of extracting or imposing a central creative focus. And the continuing tributes to the spare genius of John Ford include a report on Ford's famous Bogartian speech before the Directors' Guild in blacklist days which began, ""My name's John Ford. I make Westerns."" A responsible, highly entertaining view of moviemaking through the Forties.