A dull, gossipy rendering of days past, bereft of candor or narrative verve.



A post-mortem of Hollywood’s lawless decade, rife with lawsuits, debauchery and some of the world’s worst films.

Books about Hollywood come in lots of guises. Stadiem’s (co-author: Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond, 2009, etc.) combines the dual drawbacks of dull subjects and sketchy research. Usually, the author ghostwrites or co-authors autobiographies of the flamboyant (e.g., George Hamilton) or those smallest players who walked in the shadows of stars like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. Here, the author mines every scrap of Hollywood gossip he gathered about the 1980s, situating the book as an in-depth investigation of the narcissism, greed and competition that created such movies as Flashdance and Howard the Duck. Instead, Stadiem delivers a high-pitched, mildly personal screed against the industry’s power players and mind-numbing stories about lawyers to the stars. Will readers care that Jeffrey Katzenberg wouldn’t shake the author’s hand or that Jon Peters started his career as a pubic-hair colorist? Is it revealing that one of the book’s key subjects is infamous madam Alex Adams, whose  autobiography was co-written by Stadiem? The author does make the occasional salient point. “One of the hardest realities that an aspiring screenwriter had to adjust to in the 1980s was that your target reader must be not Pauline Kael, but rather P.T. Barnum. Or Caligula,” he writes. “Your target reader was not a reader. Therein lay the great paradox of Hollywood creativity, intrinsic to the foundation of the movies themselves.” Otherwise, the same old stories are all here: Don Simpson’s coke, Eddie Murphy’s vanity, Michael Ovitz’s ambition and the tracksuits of Golan and Globus.

A dull, gossipy rendering of days past, bereft of candor or narrative verve.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-65689-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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