Friday, November 18, 2011

Hollywood Stories Book Tour – Giveaway and Excerpts

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!
About Stephen Schochet 

A professional tour guide in Hollywood, Stephen Schochet has researched and told thousands of entertaining anecdotes for over twenty years. He is also the author and narrator of two audiobooks Tales of Hollywood and Fascinating Walt Disney. His latest book, Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies!  

Tim Sika, host of the radio show Celluloid Dreams on KSJS in San Jose has called Stephen," The best storyteller about Hollywood we have ever heard."  

For more information visit

Hollywood Stories Book Excerpt

The Universal Maniac 

In 1999, an Australian gentleman told me about an interesting experience he and his family had at Universal Studios. They were on the backlot tour passing one of the theme park’s main attractions, the Bates Motel used in the 1960 horror classic Psycho, about a murderous young man named Norman Bates who loved his mother a little too much. As the guide gave out information about how director Alfred Hitchcock shot the picture, a tall man, dressed in drag and carrying a large knife, emerged from behind the old set and 
charged toward the tram. The narrator seemed to know nothing about the Norman Bates look-alike and clammed up completely. The make-believe killer wore such a convincing maniacal expression that some of the paying customers were frightened and screamed when he raised his weapon. Then the “fiend” pulled off his wig and he turned out to be comic Jim Carrey; the thirty-seven-year-old star was clowning around during a work break. After his laughing “victims” calmed down, Jim was happy to pose for pictures and sign autographs. 

Walt Disney’s Daughters 

Walt Disney’s two daughters, Sharon and Diane, grew up sheltered from the limelight. The children had no images of Mickey Mouse around their home. Their father didn’t go to many parties, preferring to stay in after a long day of work. Sometimes he would playfully chase the youngsters upstairs, cackling like the evil peddler woman in Snow White. When they behaved badly, Walt would admonish them with a raised eyebrow; his stern demeanor inspired the character of the wise old owl, in the 1942 animated feature Bambi. As toddlers, the brainy Diane and beautiful Sharon stayed blissfully unaware that their parents worried about them being kidnapped and allowed no pictures of the sisters to be publicly circulated. Once in 1939, a curious classmate questioned six-year-old Diane about her family. She went home and said, “Daddy, you never told me you were that Walt Disney,” and asked him for an autograph. 

The Lazy Super Dad

     Marlon Brando wanted to work as little as possible when he played Jor-El, the Kryptonian father, in the 1978 movie Superman. The fifty-three-year-old actor told the film’s producers that he only needed to do a voiceover and some object could stand in his place. After all, he would be part of an alien race; nobody knew what they looked like. Perhaps the extraterrestrial could appear as a green bagel. His bosses were both bemused and alarmed. They pointed out that Marlon’s son would look human and be played by an earthling. A grinning Brando agreed to show up on the set. For his ten minutes of screen time, the star made an estimated nineteen million dollars while not bothering to learn his lines. In his most dramatic scene, Marlon held his baby above his head, speculated on the child’s future, and then placed him on the space ship to escape the doomed planet. Brando hadn’t bothered to learn his lines; his dialogue was penned on the bottom of the super infant’s diaper.

Extra: The first Superman movies were low-budget serials made in 1948 starring Kirk Alyn (1910-1999) in the title role. The cheaply made Saturday Matinee cliffhangers got surprisingly good reviews. Alyn was only given credit for playing Clark Kent; the studio claimed that no actor was qualified to play the Last Son of Krypton so he’d appear as himself. One scene required the Man of Steel to rescue two would-be victims from a burning building. After the first take the director said, “That was great, Kirk. But could we do it again without you straining so much? I mean, you’re super strong, lifting a couple of humans should be easy.” Alyn, a body builder in real life, was indignant. “What do you expect? These
people are heavy!”

     “People? Oh my goodness, baby, I’m sorry, we forgot to get you the

Extra: In 1973, Marlon Brando (1924-2004) starred in the controversial and sex-charged drama Last Tango in Paris. This time around, the actor wrote some of his not memorized lines on the bottom of his shoe, and in a few scenes hopped around awkwardly on one foot in order to read them.

Extra: Thirty-nine-year-old Jack Nicholson looked forward to working with the great Brando when they co-starred in the 1976 western, The Missouri Breaks. But Marlon, who eventually became Jack’s next-door neighbor in the Hollywood Hills, disappointed Nicholson by reading cue cards, thus not making eye contact in their shared scenes. Later Brando hired an assistant to read the dialogue out loud into a radio transmitter from Marlon’s trailer, which the actor could then hear through an earpiece. Once, Brando was about to speak his lines when the device inadvertently picked up a police broadcast. The confused performer came out of character. “Oh my God! There’s been a robbery at Woolworths.”

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Morning said...

charming, smiles.

Bluebell Books said...

love your signature, Rebecca.

another lovely job.