Revisiting Tinseltown luminaries of yesteryear
YOU AIN’T HEARD NOTHIN’ YET: Interviews with Stars from Hollywood’s Golden Era by James Bawden and Ron Miller. Published by University Press of Kentucky. 432 pages. $36.95 retail.
Former Toronto Star T.V. columnist James Bawden and long-time San Jose Mercury News T.V. editor and syndicated Knight-Rudder columnist Ron Miller have pooled an extensive collection of show-biz interviews they’ve conducted over the years in the star-studded You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet, an easy, breezy read for movie buffs and nostalgia junkies.
In terms of star power, You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet is jam-packed: James Stewart, Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Buster Keaton, Anthony Perkins, Rod Steiger, Ernest Borgnine, Janet Leigh, Boris Karloff, Patricia Neal, Elizabeth Taylor (if only briefly) and Lee Marvin, whose chapter is made all the more entertaining by the calamitous hurdles Miller faced trying to make the appointment.
Of the luminaries (all deceased), some enjoyed long careers while others didn’t – some by design, others by the fickle nature of Hollywood. Bonita Granville, Joan Leslie, Anne Shirley and Johnny Sheffield found fame early, then opted to step back – or out entirely. Others, such as Robert Young, Jane Wyatt and Raymond Massey, enjoyed successful screen careers but are best remembered for television. Actor Anthony Dawson received considerable attention for his starring debut in Valentino (1951), but that remained his claim to fame.
Needless to say, these aren’t probing interviews, mostly conducted at promotional junkets or one-on-one – but they’re comprehensive enough, especially in terms of the newspaper and magazine format that most would appear in. For all the classic films revisited, the authors will occasionally ask about an obscurity or forgotten gem.
Each chapter is prefaced with a brief bio of the subject and the circumstances or setting of the interview. Of course, with Bette Davis on hand, there’s bound to be gossip, but it’s not excessive or salacious. The overall tone isn’t fawning, but an undeniably affectionate, leisurely stroll down memory lane, told in a relaxed, conversational style that goes down very easily.
The official University Press of Kentucky website is kentuckypress.com.
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2018, Mark Burger.