Hooray for Hollywood! Hooray for John Stanley!!!!!!
THE GANG THAT SHOT UP HOLLYWOOD deserves to be on the bestseller list for folks who love the inside stories of Hollywood. John Stanley has ploughed the riches of Hollywood for over thirty years as a reporter and entertainment writer for the jazzy Pink Section of the San Francisco Chronicle. In that role he has garnered more friendships and trusted affiliations with the oldies but goodies stars that were the icons of Hollywood in the good old days. This hefty book is full of photographs of many of the most famous men and women of the silver screen as well as the almost greats who now, in retrospect, are interesting oddities for re-evaluation. But these stories are not the summation of a career of reporting on the entertainment industry - far from it. Stanley has gathered the facts from his files and then has taken those factual entries and expanded on them in up-to-date interviews - or just creative fantasy writing (after all, the subject is the make believe world of Hollywood where gossip is as sacred as fact.) But get ready for some heady information as he interviews the Clint Eastwood few of us know - the complete saga of Dirty Harry. There are chapters on James Stewart, Karl Malden, Chuck Norris, Robert Mitchum and so many other stars that explore the untold truths about them all. Stanley's technique of writing is so immediate he makes us feel as though we are in on the interviews. He takes excursions into the whole story of Iwo Jima (and incidentally John Wayne!) in a way that few other writers have dared to venture and that section alone is worth the price of the book
- Hollywood mixed with reality in a flammable manner that makes reading this journal like picking up an historical novel! In discussing Robert Mitchum we discover that Stanley knew both Robert and his brother John and explains the mysteries that surround the incarceration of Robert due to Drugs.....who knew....? And Stanley doesn't desert the ladies. Here are extended stories about such beauties as Lauren Bacall, Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Russell and the lesser known but at times more talented Ida Lupino, Marie Windsor, Coleen Gray, the puzzle of 'Baby Doll' Carroll Baker, Anne Francis, Evelyn Keyes (remember her?) - sharing the influence these queens had on the men around them and the use of them as flags for the cinema. Stanley carried a show called 'Creature Features' for six years in the San Francisco area and on these shows he interviewed such a spectrum as Ray Bradbury, Vincent Price, Roger Corman, Leonard Nimoy and, incidentally, Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Tasty tidbits, these. It is this additive mixture to his book that makes Stanley's views of 'Hollywood' and the characters and caricatures that represented that glossy stock that makes this photoalbum cum memoir so engrossing. This is a trip down memory lane, rich in humor and excitement and a LOT of surprises about actors we all thought we knew so well.