Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Hollywood Stories by Stephen Schochet

Hollywood Stories:  Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies! is a Literary Arts & Entertainment Non-Fiction.

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!

Read a few of the excerpts...

The Universal Maniac

In 1999, an Australian gentleman told me about an interesting experience he and his family had at Universal Studios. They were on the backlot tour passing one of the theme park’s main attractions, the Bates Motel used in the 1960 horror classic Psycho, about a murderous young man named Norman Bates who loved his mother a little too much. As the guide gave out information about how director Alfred Hitchcock shot the picture, a tall man, dressed in drag and carrying a large knife, emerged from behind the old set and charged toward the tram. The narrator seemed to know nothing about the Norman Bates look-alike and clammed up completely. The make-believe killer wore such a convincing maniacal expression that some of the paying customers were frightened and screamed when he raised his weapon. Then the “fiend” pulled off his wig and he turned out to be comic Jim Carrey; the thirty-seven-year-old star was clowning around during a work break. After his laughing “victims” calmed down, Jim was happy to pose for pictures and sign autographs.

Walt Disney’s Daughters 

Walt Disney’s two daughters, Sharon and Diane, grew up sheltered from the limelight. The children had no images of Mickey Mouse around their home. Their father didn’t go to many parties, preferring to stay in after a long day of work. Sometimes he would playfully chase the youngsters upstairs, cackling like the evil peddler woman in Snow White. When they behaved badly, Walt would admonish them with a raised eyebrow; his stern demeanor inspired the character of the wise old owl, in the 1942 animated feature Bambi. As toddlers, the brainy Diane and beautiful Sharon stayed blissfully unaware that their parents worried about them being kidnapped and allowed no pictures of the sisters to be publicly circulated. Once in 1939, a curious classmate questioned six-year-old Diane about her family. She went home and said, “Daddy, you never told me you were that Walt Disney,” and asked him for an autograph.

This book was a plethora of interesting and entertaining data.  I was enthralled from start to finish with all the behind-the-scene accounts of some of the celebrities we have come to know and love.  I found myself becoming a walking celebrity encyclopedia as I reiterated to everyone the things I had read.

Each of the stories is told in a straight-forward, matter-of-fact basis, some short paragraphs, some lengthier, all of them worth reading.  This would make an excellent coffee table book or a bathroom reader, you can pick the book up anywhere and find a tale or two to peruse.  It is not meant to read from front to cover, thought it is encouraged to do so, and even if you read sparsely, this is one book that would keep you coming back.

I would give Hollywood Stories a five out of five stars.  Everything about the book is informative, giving you insight into aspects of people you didn't think imaginable.  Some of the celebrities we have come to know and love were tyrants or divas but most importantly what you come to realize is that they were just people trying to live their lives as only they could.  I could've done with some more anecdotes on James Dean and Marilyn Monroe and was pleased to find one or two of them within.  Loved the book and would definitely read more of this type by the author. 

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** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by I see it~!! **