Saturday Matinee: Stories for Movie Fans

Destination: Hollywood


Book: Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes about the Stars and Legends of the Movies! by Stephen Schochet

I’m breaking some new ground here. First, I haven’t posted on a Saturday for a long time. But when I returned from France, I realized that I would never be able to cover all the very good books that are being published in September and October within my usual four days a week. So I invented the Saturday Matinee.

That happens to be an appropriate name today because I  will talk about Hollywood Stories.

But what am I doing talking about a collection of short anecdotes?  Here at A Traveler’s Library, we generally prefer beautifully written narrative–fiction or non, focused on a single place–not a random collection of tidbits.

And third–did you notice the exclamation mark at the end of the sub-title? Short, Entertaining Anecdotes about the Stars and Legends of the Movies! Now there’s a sign that I would turn up my nose at this book for sure.  If  writers should limit themselves to three exclamation marks a year, they should limit themselves to ZERO in titles and subtitles, for Heavens Sake. But it does certainly have the authentic over-the-top publicity seeking aura of Hollywood, doesn’t it?

However, all that said, I dipped into Hollywood Stories and found that Stephen Schochet managed to make me shove aside my literary snobbishness and get replaced by  my oh-so-common curiosity about the gods and goddesses of the silver screen. The book was fun. And intriguing. A guilty pleasure like a box of chocolates hidden in the desk drawer (do you watch The Closer?), and I just kept snacking and snacking.

So much for pretensions of elitism. I’m enjoying tales of old movie makers like Groucho Marx and Clark Gable and John Wayne and Mae West and newer ones like Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep and Quentin Tarantino. Have a favorite? Look in the index. Gene Hackman–6 mentions; Julie Andrews— 3; Clark Gable--11.

Stephen Schockhet

And where do all these stories come from?  Well, Schockhet is a Hollywood tour guide and these come from the material he gathered for his spiels to tourists, or things he observed as he drove the tour bus. He also hosts a one-minute radio feature called Hollywood Stories, and has written two audio books: Fascinating Walt Disney and Tales of Hollywod.

Would you like a real tour instead of just a book tour? Contact Schockhet for a personalized tour of Hollywood. Now I have become just another Hollywood flack, I think I’ll go out to the snack stand and get a bag of popcorn.

This book was furnished by the publisher for review purposes. For more about movies, see Paris Movie Walks, Perfect French Movie, and for more about California see On the Road to California, Rushed Road Trip Parts I and II.

Have you ever taken one of those “Homes of the Hollywood Stars” tours? How about a tour of the Hollywood Cemetery or Forest Lawn?  Or have you done the studio tours?

All this talk about Hollywood has me itching to spend some time in L.A. How about you?

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