A Hollywood writer tells his life story in this surprisingly poorly-written book that is filled with stories that are often confusing, incomplete or have no punchlines. There were a number of times when I had to reread paragraphs two or three times and still didn't understand what he was talking about. The pages are filled with rambling nonsense that is tedious and only of interest to those that fondly recall the early days of radio or World War II.
This man worked on some of the biggest shows of all time, writing for Amos 'n Andy, helping Lucy get her start on the tube, and even producing All in the Family for a short time. Why does he devote only a few paragraphs to each of these??? The only non-war entertainment work he devotes any amount of time to is his many years writing for the Oscars, which contain some juicy inside stories, but at the end of that chapter he apologizes for going on too long!
Kanter is now known for one thing: creating the TV show "Julia." While the groundbreaking sitcom about a black single mother deserves a place in TV history (and should be the subject of an entire book) here the author devotes only 12 out of 300 pages to the show, and that includes about four pages of big photos! It's a major disappointment that he doesn't go into how the show was made, how he dealt with public outcry, what feedback he got from the black community, etc. Instead we find out that Diahann Carroll was often late (he only mentions her in a couple paragraphs!) and Marc Copage was cute.
The problem is that Kanter is more interested in telling minute, insignificant details about what he ate, how much he paid to rent a place to live or famous people he ran into than telling great stories. Who cares that he once stood silently in an elevator with Greta Garbo if he really has no other story to tell about her? Who cares that his onetime boss Danny Kaye once cooked for him when Kanter fails to deal with any of the infamous stories about Kaye? Who cares that he devotes over 30 pages to his war years when little happened in his relatively cushy military work?
The book is also filled with comments that can be construed to be sexist, racist and bigoted. He has no problem tossing insults at some famous people and mentioning others' sex lives while he almost never goes into detail about his own mistakes. His attempts at humor, which fill every page, fall completely flat and one wonders how he ever was employed as a comedy writer.
So while the book is filled with stories, it is proof that stories are only worth reading about if they are told in a detailed, interesting way. For a guy who had a career as a professional writer this is a poor reflection of his talents.