This book crossed my desk with a self-deprecating letter in which the 77-year-old author doubted very highly that anyone actually cared about his 40-plus years producing and directing television shows and extravaganzas for NBC
. A beautiful air of indifference to his own legacy wafts through much of the book (he's human, after all, and allows himself a bit of record-straightening), setting it apart from so much of the self-mythologizing that poisons ex-executives in any field. This lightness adds to the glamour and the nostalgia for those bad old days with Sammy Davis Jr.
, Danny Thomas
, Bob Hope
and many others.
Reading "I Used to Be Somebody" is so much like one of those evenings that reminds you of why you love Los Angeles
. You end up at a dinner, sitting next to someone who tells the most wonderful stories. By the end of the evening, you feel, inexplicably, like dancing.
I Used to Be Somebody
as told to Tom O'Connell & Johanna Miller
Tate Publishing: 250 pp., $14.99