Book Reviews

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03

Aug 2013

forgotten laughs-500x500There are two great new books out that deal with forgotten entertainment: Richard Irvin’s Forgotten Laughs: An Episode Guide to 150 TV Sitcoms You Probably Never Saw and Brian Ritt’s Paperback Confidential: Crimes Writers of the Paperback Era.

Forgotten Laughs is a fantastic book from Bear Manor Publishing that focuses on comedies that lasted six episodes…or less. Many of the sitcoms were initially picked up for thirteen episodes but didn’t survive past their first or second week on the air. Some of the shows were cancelled before even one episode got on the air.  The book includes detailed episode guides for the aired, unaired or, in some cases, unproduced episodes of each series and gives the backstories on their development and cancellation. It’s a treasure trove of information and a fascinating glimpse into the world of network television scheduling and development. It’s an exhaustively-researched, smoothly written, must-have reference book for TV industry followers. I absolutely loved it. I hope Irvin will follow up with a sequel covering forgotten one-hour dramas.

images-3Paperback Confidential is an essential reference book for lovers of hard-boiled/noir paperbacks of the 1930s through the mid-1960s, most of them forgotten by most readers today. Ritt profiles 132 of the best loved, and also some of the most obscure, authors of the era. Authors include David Goodis, Norbert Davis, Marvin Albert, Dolores Hitchens, Fletcher Flora, Cornell Woolrich, Ann Bannon, Harry Whittington, and so many others. Ritt not only tells you all about them and their books, he also provides their pseudonyms and a selected bibliography of their work (some of these authors wrote dozens, if not hundreds, of books). Now whenever I pick up a vintage paperback from some author I’ve never heard of, this book will save me the hours I would have spent on the Internet searching for more information. It’s no surprise that this terrific book comes from Stark House Press, the people who’ve so lovingly republished “lost” and/or long out-of-print books by Harry Whittington, Gil Brewer, Dan J. Marlowe, and James Hadley Chase among others. The people at Stark House are doing God’s work, as far as I’m concerned.

(For the record, I independently bought both of these books…there were not provided to me for review)

 

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2 comments
  • Dan Williams

    August 8, 2013, am31 11:35 AM
    01

    Lee, I’ve really gotten enthusiastic about Brian Ritt’s, “Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era.” The “paperback era” was, arguably, the 1950’s and 1960’s, for the simple reason that paperback writers wrote the most real stories available to the public at that time. TV was, mostly, homogenized mass market fare with some exceptions: “I Love Lucy” and “Gunsmoke” and maybe “Dr. Kildaire” told real stories about real people. But if you wanted the “real deal,” the mean streets, the fights between real characters for real stakes, then paperbacks were where it was at.. And I loved the guys (authors) who wrote these stories. They were, like, heroes. And the fact that they could write a great and certainly successful novel per month, only made them more heroic. What talents! So, to have a reference work that not only lists the novels the heroes wrote, but also all their pen-names, and their bio’s, well, that’s not only a treat, it’s an inspiration for all aspiring writers to get busy and do good work. For me, too. Thanks for directing my attention to Brian Ritt’s book. On every page, there’s a hero or heroine.

  • Remembering the Forgotten Laughs | Lee Goldberg

    August 11, 2013, am31 11:31 AM
    02

    […] really enjoyed Richard Irvin’s book Forgotten Laughs: An Episode Guide to 150 Sitcoms You Probably Never Saw and, as any regular reader of this blog knows, I am a sucker for TV reference books. This one hit […]

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