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Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars I've Missed Mikey Since He Ate Those Pop Rocks!, 21 July 2004
This review is from: Hollywood Urban Legends: The Truth Behind All Those Delightfully Persistent Myths of Film, Television and Music (Hardcover)
Here's the book's premise: "The moment you become famous is the moment when people start telling lies about you."
Hollywood Urban Legends is a selection of supposedly well-known rumors about famous entertainment people and the industry. Each section starts out by telling the rumor in the most intrigung way. Then, Mr. Roeper lays out and dissects the evidence and comes to a conclusion.
There are several problems with this book. First, unless these are stories you have heard and sort of wish were true, they don't have much zing. I would describe them as "improbable stories that on the surface are probably not true." So I felt like I was wasting my time. Of these legends, I had only heard of about 8 of them.
Second, nine of ten legends turn out not to be true. The book would have been ever so much more interesting if half of them had been true. Mr. Roeper missed a chance to write a much more entertaining book. Maybe Matt Drudge will write the sequel?
Third, a lot of these are very old chestnuts. Are you excited about what Marilyn Monroe's dress size was? I'm sure most people have noticed by now that their toilets keep working each year during the Super Bowl. Poor Mikey has been gone due to Pop Rocks for a long time. Even my mother knew that Bogart was not the Gerber baby when I was a child.
Mr. Roeper also seems biased in terms of believing whatever the creators say. I was not persuaded by his argument that "Puff the Magic Dragon" has nothing to do with drugs.
There are a few aha's here. I did not know that John Wayne did not serve in the military in World War II. I certainly did not know that Lucille Ball registered to vote as a communist (to please her grandfather who was a socialist). The last story is fun, if you last that long. You actually may like the book better if you start with that one.
Unless you really love trivia, and want to differentiate the true from the false, I'd suggest you would have more fun watching a movie instead.
The book does have a good challenge in it. What things do people believe about you that are not true? How would you convince anyone differently?
Be open to new ideas, but keep your eyes open for proof!
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Donald Mitchell
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