We are a celebrity-obsessed society. We have been since the Golden Age of Hollywood, and we probably always will be. I’m sure there is some deep psychological and sociological reason behind it, like we are so inundated with horrible news all the time that we have to fixate on something mundane, like the bathroom habits of some chick from the Jersey Shore with a name out of a puppy-naming book, otherwise we’ll go nuts from all the bad stuff going on. Whatever the reason, even I have to admit that I’m not always immune to celebrity gossip. Author Stephen Schochet took that gossip to a whole new (and far more interesting) level in his book Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies!
Hollywood Stories features exactly what the long version of the title promises- fun little bits of information about some of Hollywood’s biggest legends. Legends, people, not some bratty hotel heiress who is only famous because she’s wealthy and acts like a tart for the camera, or some “hot today, forgotten tomorrow” actor that burns out before he even makes his second film. Actual, bigger-than-life legends, like Laurel and Hardy, the Stooges, Marilyn Monroe, and more. Actors and actresses that haven’t been forgotten over the years.
Stephen worked as a Hollywood tour guide, so he knows the place pretty well. Each of the anecdotes in Hollywood Stories is only a few paragraphs long, so it’s the perfect book to read in line or while waiting for your doctor’s appointment. While they’re short, they’re packed full of humor and interesting trivia, and they definitely make a boring wait go by much faster. Did you know that Young Frankenstein was three hours long before half of it ended up on the cutting floor? The reason for the length was because the actors did so much ad-libbing that they went way over time in each scene. I also learned that Sylvester Stallone, not Eddie Murphy, was originally slated to play in Beverly Hills Cop. I can’t really imagine Stallone in a comedy role (didn’t he try that once, and it flopped?).
The writing is quick, witty, and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed learning little-known facts about some of the biggest players in the Hollywood scene. The Hollywood Stories website has a generous helping of sample pages available for you to read so you can check it out for yourself.