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Danny Kaye: King of Jesters Hardcover – November 1, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Koenig is chief editor for Newport Beach, Ca.-based magazine publishing house Cutler Publishing. He received his degree in journalism from California State University, Fullerton, and has become arguably the theme park industry s best-known outsider, after penning such best-sellers as Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland; Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks; and Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bonaventure Pr (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937878015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937878016
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A well researched and fascinating look at a troubled but talented performer by an author well known for his clear, even-handed writing style that has garnered him many fans over the years. As in his other books, Koenig presents just the facts without indulging in psychological assumptions behind the stories. While Koenig is sometimes discreet in talking about things, he is never dishonest or misleading. This is not a snarky tabloid look at a performer who could generate strong emotions, both positive and negative, but Koenig does not avoid the blemishes. He just does not focus on them. The book covers the entire career of Kaye and is organized in such a way that a reader can simply jump to a particular project and read a satisfyingly complete glimpse into its origin, development and conclusion. In the handful of sections where I have some particular expertise and knowledge, I was both pleased and surprised at the new information and perspective that Koenig shared. I found myself flipping through the book to just skim a section and an hour later had read many pages beyond what I originally intended without realizing the passage of time. At best, I am a casual fan of Kaye but my interest in old movies, television and stage was greatly rewarded by this book. At the end of the book, in tiny type are almost a dozen pages of notes and sources demonstrating the author's commitment to tell a story in a way it has never been told previously. I would recommend the book not just to fans of Kaye but fans of entertainment biographies. It is fun, fair and fascinating.
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Format: Hardcover
David Koenig provides an in-depth look at the career of Danny Kaye in this entertaining, thoroughly researched biography. Spanning Broadway, films, television and more, Kaye had a remarkable career arc and it's all here, film by film, show by show, from his early success in Lady in the Dark, through his films for Goldwyn, Paramount and others, his hit television show, back to Broadway and beyond. It's all about the work and as such it's first-rate. Written in a detailed yet easily readable style, this book is the perfect reference for all fans of Danny Kaye. It's organized by project and, as such, makes the perfect reference book you can pull off the shelf long after you've read it page by page. It's a must for anyone interested in Danny Kaye or the golden era of American entertainment in which he played such an important part.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well-balanced, well-researched book on one of the most versatile and skilled entertainers of the 20th century. In addition to the outstanding catalog of information on Mr. Kaye's career, Mr. Koenig explores the personal and professional relationships of both Danny Kaye and his wife Sylvia Fine without getting bogged down in rumor and innuendo. When describing the events and occurrences surrounding the temporary split of husband and wife during the late 1940's, it was refreshing to have the author present Danny's and Sylvia's respective thoughts on the matter rather than interviewing countless outsiders with irrelevant assessments.

Some criticize the book for not enough "personal" material. In terms of Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine, one thing seems to be abundantly clear: both of them personally engendered strong emotional reactions from their acquaintances, business associates and each other -- be those reactions either positive or negative. I would rather read a book, such as this one, which sticks to established facts and to quotes from the principal players than to dredge up scandal and gossip from those with an axe to grind. On that note, I think the book had an abundance of personal detail -- just not the type of detail you might glean from listening through a keyhole.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found out about this book in David Koenig's latest book on Disneyland: "The People V. Disneyland: How Lawsuits & Lawyers Transformed the Magic." I enjoyed Mr. Koenig's five Disney books, so I decided to give this one a try.
The part that impressed me the most was the evolution of the various plays and movies from original concept to finished product. Talk about stuffing sausages! That's what the movie evolutions reminded me of--stuffing sausages: the finished product didn't resemble the original components.
I had to look up comedian Eddie Cantor--many tried to make Danny Kaye into the "next Eddie Cantor." I don't understand Hollywood at all--why not cultivate originals instead of copies of copies?
Life events covered included on-set injuries (in a sidebar on Page 165), how Q fever put Danny Kaye in "White Christmas," Danny Kaye's morale-boosting efforts the day JFK was murdered, the first American television program shown in the USSR, and how a broken foot improved Danny Kaye's performance in the play "Two by Two." Talk about "break a leg!"
Some of the political (or a-political) Danny Kaye was revealed too: his activities in UNICEF and his reply to a media feeding frenzy when he returned from Vietnam during America's non-war: "I was there fourteen days!...I don't think that's enough time to get well-informed."
The interaction between Danny Kaye, Sylvia Fine and Sam Goldwyn reminded me of the defunct "Golden Dreams" attraction at Disneyland--the scene with the ruby slippers.
As this book lists most (if not every) radio and television appearance, I don't hesitate to recommend "Danny Kaye: King of Jesters" as a part of every Danny Kaye fan's library.
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