A conscientious but uninvolving history of American quiz shows from the 30's on. Hundreds of dedicated radio and TV fans could have outlined this book themselves: the pioneer radio successes of Vox Populi and Professor Quiz; the rapid spread of quiz shows across the country; the phenomenon of the Quiz Kids; the impact of WW II (mostly uniforms and boosterism) on the genre; the shift to the competing medium of TV; the 1958 quiz-fixing scandals; the return of game shows on daytime TV. DeLong (Pops: Paul Whiteman, King of Jazz, 1983) adds breadth—details culled from old newspaper and magazine stories, published reminiscences, and more recent interviews—without depth. The result is a breathless Cook's tour of over 250 game shows with few memorable portraits (Groucho Marx, Charles Van Doren, Mark Goodson) and even fewer insights along the subtitle's promised line (a typical conclusion: ``Quiz and game shows remain a part of a new Horatio Alger story: get on a show and strike it rich''). DeLong's determination to say something about so many different shows leads him to say pretty much the same thing—opening date, thumbnail sketch of emcee, one or two anecdotes (enraptured audiences, intransigent contestants, unzipped flies)—about each one. As social history, the text adds surprisingly little to the appended production credits; as narrative, it rarely strays from the ``that-reminds-me-of-Allen-Ludden's-other-show'' category. (Twenty-one photographs, mostly of emcees lording it over their studio sets.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-275-94042-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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