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View and Review

Book CoverThis review is by John Burroughs for Midwest Book Review and reposted below:

Hollywood or Bust: Movie Stars Dish on Following Their Dreams, Making It Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown collects more than 500 quotes, wisecracks, tell-it-like-it-is tips, and words of wisdom from popular stars and directors, including Ben Affleck to Jackie Chan, George Clooney, Carole Burnett, and many more. Grouped by subject, these vignettes offer a condensed glimpse of the trials and tribulations of the showbiz industry, and are just plain fun for a quick browse anytime. Hollywood or Bust also makes an excellent gift book for anyone who loves TV and movies! “I’d say the cut-off point for leading ladies today is thirty-five to forty whereas half the men in Hollywood get their start then. It’s a terrible double standard.” -Kathleen Turner, actress

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To view the original on the Midwest Book Review Bookwatch – August 2013, scroll down seven categories to Burroughs’ Bookshelf.

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News Flash and Splash

Book CoverCowgirl Jane Press

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JUST ANNOUNCED:

BEACH BOOK FESTIVAL AWARDS HOLLYWOOD OR BUST.

The 2013 Beach Book Festival announced winners on June 10.  Hollywood or BustMovie Stars Dish on Following their Dreams, Making it Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown placed first in the category Compilations/Anthologies.

Comprised of over five hundred quips, quotes, and off-the-cuff remarks from actors, directors, writers, and others involved in the business, Hollywood or Bust conveys what insiders think about themselves, their lives, their fame, their careers, each other, and the town itself. Even among those who have made it opinions vary as to whether or not the road trip down the yellow brick road to fame and fortune is worth the heartache and hard work.

Author Susan Marg is thrilled with the award.  “The Beach Book Festival seemed like a natural competition for my book.  Hollywood or Bust is a fun, summer read, filled with wit and whimsy.”  She further adds, “I won’t be going to the rewards ceremony, however, as it takes place in New York.”

Hollywood or Bust, ISBN 978-0-578-11882-6, is a 182-page paperback book consisting of seven chapters and twenty original photographs.  Topics cover dreams of success to attending the Oscars.  It lists for $14.95.

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Susan Marg is the author of Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide, published by HarperCollins.  Since she has moved her field of focus from the City of Lights to the City of Angels, her interest in popular culture has only intensified.

 

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Hollywood or Bust: The Movie

Illustration by: Viktor Hertz

Illustration by: Viktor Hertz

Paramount’s 1956 Hollywood or Bust is a swingin’ musical travelogue starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in their last movie together.

It begins in New York City where fanatical movie fan Malcolm Smith, Lewis’s character, wins a hot red convertible that he plans to drive to Hollywood to meet actress Anita Ekberg, playing herself, on whom he has the biggest crush.

Dean Martin plays inveterate gambler Steve Wiley, wily as a fox, who convinces Malcolm that he, too, won, although he had stacked the lottery and plans to sell the car to pay his gambling debts.   Malcolm, being a trusting sort, as well as not knowing how to drive, lets Steve take the wheel, and they’re over the bridge and out of the city with Malcolm’s Great Dane, Mr. Bascomb, in the back seat.

“Sound the trumpets strike the cymbals

Boys from Bonwits and girls from Gimbels

Shaking off that old Manhattan dust

To get to Hollywood or bust.”

(From the song “Hollywood or Bust”.)

Traveling along two-lane back roads the pair pass red farmhouses, white picket fences, covered bridges, full service gas stations, golden pastures, and girls, girls, girls, riding a hay wagon, fishing from a rowboat, swimming in a pond, all enjoying the fresh air.

“Oh, there’ nothing as gay as a day in the country…

It’s quite a delightful surprise for a couple of traveling guys.”

(From the song “A Day in the Country”.)

Before reaching Chicago troubles abound.  Malcolm and Steve run out of gas, get held up by a hitchhiker, and meet up with a showgirl, Terry Roberts played by Pat Crowley, on her way to Vegas.  The duo becomes a singing trio plus dog.

“When you cross the Mississippi

Cross the Mississippi

You’re in the wild and wooly west.”

(From the song “The Wild and Wooly West”.)

The three continue to croon, as they pass through “old” Missouri, Oklahoma, and the state of Texas, “the largest in the union”. The song takes them all the way to Las Vegas, where they pass the Sands (where Martin and Lewis are performing), the Algiers, the Thunderbird, the Desert Inn, and El Rancho Vegas, among other luxurious desert resorts and casinos.

There are more sights to see and songs to sing once the group arrives in Hollywood.

“It looks like love

It could be love

But if it’s not it’s so darn wonderful it should be love.”

(From the song “It Looks Like Love”.)

The highlight takes place at Paramount Studios where Steve proposes to Terry during her audition for a part in the first Elvis Presley movie, and Anita decides to cast Mr. Bascomb in her next movie “The Lady and the Great Dane.”  In the grand finale, both couples plus dog walk down the red carpet at its premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

It doesn’t get any more Hollywood, except for the songs:

“Land of stardust and land of glamour

Vistavision and cinerama

Everyone considers it a must

To get to Hollywood or bust.”

(From the song “Hollywood or Bust”.)

And that’s why I named my book Hollywood or Bust.  Check it out: HollywoodOrBustTheBook.comOr go straight to Amazon.

© 2013 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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What Becomes a Legend Most?

What a history The Beverly Hills Hotel has had.  So many Hollywood legends stayed and played there it became a legend itself.

The Beverly Hills Hotel, 1925

In 1912 the hotel was built for $500,000 in the bean fields at the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, halfway between Los Angeles and the sea.  The city of Beverly Hills developed around the property on Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Drive, incorporating two years later.

With newlyweds Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks taking up residence nearby in 1920, the Hollywood community began moving in.   Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Rudolph Valentino, and Tom Mix built fabulous homes in the area.  Gloria Swanson stayed there during a divorce, before relocating to a mansion across the street.

Movie stars took advantage of the hotel’s accommodations.  Following polo matches at Will Rogers’ ranch, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, Walt Disney, and Darryl Zanuck imbibed at its bar, hence, the name the Polo Lounge.  Humphrey Bogart and the Rat Pack later followed suit.

The pool was another favorite hangout.  George Hamilton cultivated his tan, while Fred Astaire read the industry rags poolside. Faye Dunaway learned the crawl for her role in Mommy Dearest.

Others just relaxed or socialized.  A veritable who’s who in entertainment included Cary Grant, Lucille Ball, Esther Williams, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, and Carol Burnett.  The pool was opened late one night when the Beatles wanted to take a dip.

And then there were the famous bungalows.  Marilyn Monroe preferred numbers 1 and 7.  Howard Hughes stayed off and on for thirty years in Bungalow #4.  Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton frequently occupied Bungalow #5, with a standing order for two bottles of vodka at breakfast and two more at lunch.  That certainly juiced up the tempo.

So what becomes a legend most?  The perfect location, fun in the sun, beautiful people, and a touch of mink.

Celebrating its centennial this year, the hotel is rolling out the red carpet for all its guests.  In its promotional literature it promises “every visitor to ‘The Pink Palace’ is pampered like a celebrity.”  It’s just not likely that you’ll bump into a real celebrity.  They’ve moved on to the next hot spot.

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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Check out the fabulous icons in the Blackglama print ads:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2vNdROz7xg