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