Friday, June 29, 2012

HOLLYWOOD STORIES: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies! Book Review

Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies!
By Stephen Schochet

Genre: Film/History/Humour

Synopsis: 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."

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!

Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes about the Stars and Legends of the Movies!Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes about the Stars and Legends of the Movies! by Stephen Schochet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since I was very young, I have had a fascination with Hollywood--especially old Hollywood.  I used to watch old movies and check out biographies of various actors and actresses I liked.  This was before the days of the internet, and the library files were on paper and in pull-out files.  I had to go through the difficult process of requesting books about these actors/actresses.  I read several books on Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, and Danny Kaye.  I also read about Lana Turner, Joan Crawford, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, and so much more. Granted, I often didn't understand everything that I was reading, but little facts stuck with me here and there.  I loved being able to watch these old movies with a keen understanding of "behind the scenes" insider knowledge.

When I was offered the chance to review this book, there was no doubt that I wanted to read it.  This book has a massive amount information about Hollywood from various eras (but mostly old Hollywood).  It is organized in chapters/sections that make sense, and each story is no more than a page or two long.  It is quick reading, and I am sure I will go back and review various sections.

I honestly have no criticisms for this book.  The only "profanity" was so extremely mild, and anything that was more than what is acceptable on television was not even written.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that.  It was nice to read about some of these people that I only knew by name, and it was definitely a fun read.  I also appreciate the fact that the author was/is a Hollywood tour guide, and he listed a long list of sources he consulted.  This makes me feel that he researched his topics, and his only purpose is telling stories about Hollywood.  He is not trying to "smear" anyone or hurt them.  He told is as it was, and he did it an easy-to-read style.  For the Hollywood movie buff, this is a definite must-read!

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

Stephen Schochet

About the Author

Stephen Schochet has worked for over ten years as a tour guide in Los Angeles, collecting literally hundreds of vintage Hollywood Stories to tell to appreciative sightseers. A few years ago he decided to take his tales beyond the tour buses and embarked on several unique and creative entrepreneurial projects.

Tales of Hollywood Audiobook

First came the audiobook Tales Of Hollywood. "The idea was to focus on the origins of how famous things in Hollywood began, and combine it with funny anecdotes about the stars," Schochet says. The background music and sound effects were provided by producer Ivor Francis using orchestrated tunes from APM (Associated Production Music) a Hollywood based company which many filmmakers use for their scores. "Ivor was wonderful in our collaboration. We had very few disagreements as to what music should be used for what stories. He made ninety-nine percent of the choices; once in a while I contributed a suggestion. We were very restrained with sound effects; the goal was never to knock the listener out of the story."

Fascinating Walt Disney Audiobook

Schochet's second project was a two CD set called Fascinating Walt Disney which actually had its roots years before. "I was going to do a another Hollywood CD but it went in a different direction. As a kid who liked to write I had an idea for a Walt Disney play, it never really went anywhere except for the research. When you give tours you get stuck in traffic and you need something to say to the people on your bus. I have always had a great memory for stories, so on different days my customers would hear about how Walt created Mickey Mouse, Disneyland, Snow White etc. Each time I told the Disney tales, I was armed with a little more information so the anecdotes came out better and the idea for the new audiobook came together."
Once again with Ivor Francis and APM, Schochet set out to do his inspiring project. "It was more a lighthearted look at Walt and his creations, than a pure biography. If you mention Alice in Wonderland or Fantasia in a short oral anecdote they are like song hooks. Ivor did a brilliant job with the music, it starts off quiet while Walt is struggling and then picks up steam as he becomes more successful."

Media Interviews

To publicize his two self published audiobooks Schochet began to do radio interviews with hosts from around the Country.

One Minute Radio Feature

Hollywood Stories is his new one minute syndicated feature which is now heard on several stations throught North America. Stephen connected with Victor Ives, CEO of TalkStar who loved the concept. The sixty second segments are written in Los Angeles by Schochet, who then sends them to Producer William Madden in Florida to add music and sound effects. Stephen says, "The listeners will constantly be surprised; sometimes the vignettes are funny, other times they have twist endings. The next story could be about anyone from Charlie Chaplin to Tyra Banks. The only rules about the show are that every tale is resolved in the alloted time, they are all packed with information, and they are told in good taste."
Hollywood Stories Radio Feature Press Release

Speaking Engagements

Hollywood Stories Speaking Engagements provide an additional opportunity for listeners to be transported by Stephen's tales. "I've gotten great reactions from live audiences telling anecdotes about the stars I've met just by giving the tours and going to the places where they hang out." The combination of storytelling delivery and historical knowledge combined with personal encounters with luminaries such as George Burns, Sammy Davis Jr, Gene Hackman and Michael Jackson just to name a few make for a very enjoyable evening for listening groups!

"On behalf of the Palos Verdes Library District, I would like to thank you for a wonderful presentation on February 15th, 2005. Your delightful tales of Hollywood were not only informative but very entertaining as well. The many bursts of laughter from the group would testify to that!"
Jennifer Addington, Adult Programming Librarian, Palos Verdes Library District

Online Articles

After being fortunate enough to acquire the domain name, Stephen began promoting the site with a series of online articles about Walt Disney and Hollywood articles. "It started with me hiring somebody to write something on my behalf and being very hard to please. I paid them off and then began writing myself. It was a worthwile investment though because I didn't stop with one article." Web masters are free to use the content in exchange for a byline and a link.

Hollywood Plus One Hour Radio Show

Another radio program Stephen is involved with is Hollywood Plus, with veteran co-host Judi Paparelli, also syndicated by TalkStar. "Judi had a great show on the Talk America Network and I was her guest every week. We would find ways to tie current news events to Hollywood; for example during the Republican Convention we did a show on the 1939 movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Broadcast out of the famed Watergate Hotel, the entertaining banter between Judi and Stephen caused members of the Washington Press Corps to stop what they were doing so they could listen. The new show covers a wide variety of subjects. Schochet points out,"We've done episodes on baseball movies, John Wayne, Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and many other topics." This timeless, taped one hour program comes complete with sound bytes from the movies discussed and enough anecdotes and observations that the time breezes by.



Tours of Hollywood

And of course Stephen remains available for fun Tours of Hollywood!

Check out the official website of the book.
If you would like to read some samples of the book, click here.
Follow the author on facebook, twitter, and goodreads.

This post is brought you by Ever After PR.


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