• January 22, 2012
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Book Review: Hollywood Stories: Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies! by Stephen Schochet

Hollywood StoriesTitle: Hollywood Stories: Short Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies!
Author: Stephen Schochet
Genre: Nonfiction, Entertainment
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: BCH Fulfillment & Distribution
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0963897275

BOOK SUMMARY:

At high noon on a cold November day in 1974, sixty-seven-year-old John Wayne faced off with the staff of the Harvard Lampoon on the famous campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The students had issued their challenge by calling the beloved American icon a fraud. Wayne, who had his new movie McQ to promote, responded by saying he would be happy to show his film in the pseudo-intellectual swamps of Harvard Square. After the screening, without writers, the former USC footballer delivered a classic performance. When one smart young man asked where he got his phony toupee, Wayne insisted the hair was real. It wasn’t his, but it was real. The appreciative underclassmen loved him and after the Q and A session, they all sat down to dinner. Later Wayne, who was suffering greatly from both gout and the after effects of lung cancer (sadly the Duke only had five years to live), said that day at Harvard was the best time he ever had.

Just when you thought you’ve heard everything about Hollywood comes a totally original new book — a special blend of biography, history and lore.

Hollywood Stories is packed with wild, wonderful short tales about famous stars, movies, directors and many others who have been a part of the world’s most fascinating, unpredictable industry!

What makes the book unique is that the reader can go to any page and find a completely engaging and illuminating yarn. Sometimes people won’t realize that they are reading about The Three Stooges or Popeye the Sailor until they come to the end of the story. The Midwest Book Review says Hollywood Stories is, “packed from cover to cover with fascinating tales.” A professional tour guide in Hollywood, Stephen Schochet has researched and told thousands of entertaining anecdotes for over twenty years. He is also the author and narrator of two audiobooks Tales of Hollywood and Fascinating Walt Disney. Tim Sika, host of the radio show Celluloid Dreams on KSJS in San Jose has called Stephen,” The best storyteller about Hollywood we have ever heard.”Full of funny moments and twist endings, Hollywood Stories features an amazing, all-star cast of legendary characters and icons and will keep you totally entertained!

Watch the book video!

MY THOUGHTS:

Stephen Schochet is a man after my California lovin’ heart.  When I found out I was going to review Hollywood Stories: Short Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies!, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  I used to live in Burbank, California, as a child.  Burbank was a hop and a skip away from Hollywood and might I add my mother was so star struck, when she found out a talent scout was going to be at my school, Abraham Lincoln Elementary (now the Buena Vista Library), she grabbed me and off I went.  I didn’t want to be a star.  I just wanted to be a kid.  So, I messed up on purpose which my Marilyn Monroe-lookalike mom never got over.  She’s probably still turning over in her grave just remembering it.  While in Burbank, I had the chance to “see” a few movie stars: I yelled “There’s Lassie’s mother!” when I saw June Lockhart walk past me at NBC Studios; I had Eddie Fontaine (Gallant Men) serenade me on the guitar with me in his lap (one of my mother’s friends) and I got to watch my idol, Jon  Provost (Lassie’s master boy Timmy) in the Santa Claus Lane Parade in Hollywood.  Ah, those were the days my friend.

Years and years later, I am honored to be revisiting my old stomping grounds.  Hollywood Stories is a piece of history.  It needs to go up in the Smithsonian because nowhere on earth is there a book like this one.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Not only does he talk about different stars but these stars are icons in the movie industry.  I especially loved getting an inside glimpse of how they began their career and what I also loved about it was that not only did Schochet give us our Hollywood fix in telling us about the behind the scenes episodes in these stars lives, but there’s a little extra bonus after each one giving us even more juicy tidbits.

It’s entertaining and so needed if you’re a Hollywood movie bug like me.

Here’s a neat excerpt titled “Welcome to Beverly Hills”:

Since the first movie stars moved into Beverly Hills, its citizens have always had an uneasy relationship with visitors.  Drivers of oversized tour buses found it very difficult to navigate down the tiny street where Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston lived.  The celebrity couple’s neighbors angrily called the police to complain they were trapped in their driveways while waiting for the lumbering vehicles to turn around.  City officials considered a complete ban in 2004, then decided that commercial sightseeing on residential streets would still be allowed in small vans.  Regulated drive-bys were preferred over the alternative of people coming on their own with movie-star maps.  A few years earlier, the single Brad Pitt had gotten a scare when an overzealous female fan had found his house, got past his security, climbed through his window, undressed herself and was waiting in his bed when he got home.

Good grief!  As long as movie and TV stars are put into the public’s eye, this sort of thing is bound to happen.  Fascination with the private lives of stars will always be there; it just comes with the price of being a star.  There are lots of tidbits like this included in Schochet’s book.  I would highly recommend it if you’re a Hollywood freak like me.  I would without a doubt give this 5 out of 5 stars.

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