What he said:
“Promise you’ll never repeat what you just said to another living soul,” was Orson Welles’ reply when a fan pointed out an inconsistency in Citizen Kane. Stephen Shochet has filled 13 chapters with over 150 stories similar to the one referenced here. This Orson Welles story is about a paragraph long and takes up about a third of one page. Three stories fit on some pages and some take a bit more than one page. Schochet offers a nice assortment in length and easy-to-read prose, much of which is conversational or filled with quotations.
Each chapter begins with a movie ticket over two quotes by actors, directors, comedians, and other celebrities. Chapters are organized by subject matter such as movie genre, Oscar stories, drinking, television, and the ever popular “miscellaneous.”
Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies! is a treasure trove for the casual reader looking for a few quick reads as well as the serious fan looking for information. I particularly appreciated the thorough bibliography and index. In less than 20 minutes (I read slowly) I learned several interesting facts about two of my favorite movies, Patton and Dr. Strangelove.
At work, movies are often the subject of conversation and I’m looking forward to telling my associates General Omar Bradley’s inspiring story about the significance of the extra star on his helmet. Whether you’re looking for a few quick smiles, stories from the other side of the camera, or researching violence in the movies, this book will become a welcome companion in your library.
What she said:
Stephen Schochet could have compiled a book of scripts from his syndicated, one-minute radio feature, Hollywood Stories, and published a book that would have satisfied tremendously with short stories about big names. Instead, he supplemented his collection of stories with “extras” — additional stories about the personalities or events described in his original story. Some of the originals may merit one more tale; many get three or four. With so much information, Hollywood Stories is a veritable encyclopedia of celebrity lore, gossip, and history.
Actors, actresses, writers, directors, studio heads — they all appear in nearly 300 tightly packed pages. Readers will appreciate the included bibliography which allows a quick look-up of a favorite (or incredibly despised) celebrity. Stories cover a span of history that includes Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks as well as Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, and such diverse films as Birth of a Nation and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.