Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


The ratings:
5 stars  excellent
4 stars  very good
3 stars  good
2 stars  fair
1 stars  poor

Blog stats:

Navigate the site:

Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

Advertise: Rates & stats

Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Robotham, Michael: Suspect | Main | Fitzgerald, Penelope: The Bookshop »

Epstein, Lawrence J.: Mixed Nuts

  

Printer-friendly page! Use print preview to see how this page will appear.

PublicAffairs © 2004, 305 pages [amazon]
4 stars

In his highly readable book Mixed Nuts, author Lawrence Epstein tracks the history of the comedy team from its origin in minstrel shows, through vaudeville, radio, and film, to its current incarnation in television sitcoms. Along the way Epstein discusses a host of old favorites--from Burns and Allen to Laurel and Hardy, Hope and Crosby to Martin and Lewis--as well as many teams readers will probably never have heard of. The book provides brief accounts of the teams' backgrounds and history, sometimes quoting material from their acts (Epstein provides, for example, a version of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First," which was a pleasure to read), and explaining the teams' appeal given the social milieu of their eras. Gracie Allen's likeable character, for example, a non-threatening woman who maintained her dignity despite her trademark illogic, was "a perfect symbol for women caught between Victorian morality and modern mores." Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden, struggling to afford the accoutrements of middle-class life in the post-War period, appealed to an audience that was striving for, or had only recently achieved, similar goals. Comedy teams were affected not only by the historical circumstances of their times, of course, but more specifically by technological change. The advent of radio, free entertainment for the masses, is said to have killed vaudeville, but old vaudeville stars who could adapt to the new medium--whose rate of delivery was right for performance on air, whose humor did not depend on visual cues and appealed to a broad audience--teams such as Burns and Allen, thrived in radio.

Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden, struggling to afford the accoutrements of middle-class life in the post-War period, appealed to an audience that was striving for, or had only recently achieved, similar goals.Epstein's account of the comedy team is a quick and absorbing read. Though it is the product of a mountain of research, including dozens of interviews (with the likes of Jerry Stiller, Sid Caesar, and Soupy Sales), the book wears its erudition lightly. Mixed Nuts is filled with interesting bits of information, from the poignant--the tragic death of Lou Costello's infant son--to the just plain neat: Homer Simpson owes his "D'oh," for example, to Laurel and Hardy. Most importantly, however, in tracking the development of the comedy team, and in identifying for readers the strands that link current comedy teams--such as Frasier and Niles Crane of the sitcom Frasier--to their comic forbears, Epstein enriches our appreciation of comedians present and past.

Tags: , , , , ,

< Tweet it! | Reblog
https://www.book-blog.com/2004/10/mixed_nuts_by_l.html
Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments




Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In


About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






The Sunday Salon.com



Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.