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Hollywood Kryptonite: The Bulldog, the Lady, and the Death of Superman Hardcover – October 5, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 207 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (October 5, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312146167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312146160
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,262,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

George Reeves was the first television Superman. He championed "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" in the 1950s and was such a popular hero that as many as 20,000 children would show up at his personal appearances. In his private life, though, he was a sad man. Frustrated by chronic poverty, in part because his film prospects didn't pan out, he became the "kept man" of an older lover, the wife of a powerful MGM executive. When he died just two years after filming the last episode of The Adventures of Superman, the Los Angeles police called it suicide, but many questions were left unanswered. As mystery author James Crumley writes, "The characters leap off the page like the television Superman in his padded suit. When the mystery is finally revealed, George Reeves, in his tragic death, approaches heroic stature in a way he never did in life." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

When George Reeves, who had achieved international fame by playing Superman for five years on TV, was found dead by gunshot in 1959, the death was officially recorded as a suicide. According to Kashner and Schoenberger (A Talent for Genius), however, unanswered details about Reeves's demise shroud what in truth was foul play. In this page-turning hybrid of bio and murder mystery, the authors entertainingly pick at the loose ends and point their pens at a killer. Reeves, they show, was hardly as wholesome as his TV image implied. His life was filled with hard-drinking men, manipulative women, mafiosos and a career that plummeted like a comet after The Adventures of Superman went off the air. The authors set down this B movie-style tale with hard-boiled relish. They introduce archetypal sleazebag characters with an entertaining terseness?"Eddie was a tough guy with a heart of tungsten"; "Leonore Lemmon wore the reddest lipstick in New York"?that occasionally veers into cheap Hammett imitations. The well-articulated backdrop of low-budget TV production only enhances the cheesy milieu, however. By laying out Reeves's life before solving the mystery of his death, the authors present the equivalent of a crisp black-and-white TV docudrama, and manage to evoke all the irresistibly creepy nostalgia of a bygone era. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Just don't bother looking for the answers in this book.
jwalsh666@aol.com
This book was a very exciting read in which I am sure will be made into a movie one day.
atijroman@aol.com
Whether the information in this book is factually correct, I do not know.
Norma Desmond

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Gypsychick on November 6, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Born the year Superman died, I still grew up watching George Reeves save the world. I picked up the book not because I was especially interested in the story but because of the slick cover (raised on "Sesame Street", colors are an intricate part of my literary existance). It's a helluva book. The reconstructed story of everyone's favorite hero is gripping and heartbreaking. From his bright beginnings in "Gone With The Wind" to the grim realization he would never play anyone but Superman, not even himself, you will be possessed by this sad story. His childhood, controlling mother, absent father, domineering mistresses, and twisting life paths were told in a fascinating and novel-style manner. I kept hoping for more concrete documentation regarding Reeves' death, but the compelling details which do exist insure you will never again think of The Man Of Steel as a suicide victim, but perhaps instead a true victim. Read this book!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Marvella on September 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The movie Hollywoodland is great and brings out interesting theories of George Reeves death and now that I've read this book I realize where they come from. However, the movie left out a lot of the circumstances concerning his strange death because they wasted too much time on the fictional private eye. Actually Reeves' mother and her lawyer did hire a private eye, but this story dwells on all the participants in George's life, and their histories and lives, not on the story of one person investigating his death. It's all here and more. Of course no one has the final answer, but this goes through all the background information and theories. It's a great behind the scenes mystery of Hollywood in the 50s. A very interesting read, indeed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Wesley on January 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you liked LA Confidential, you'll find this book quite an enjoyable ride! Some reviews elsewhere bagged on the Noir-ish, hyped up language, but this subsides after the first few chapters. As a child, I had been told by my grandmother that George Reeves had shot himself and this placed a bit of a stigma on this hero of my youth. This book does a great job of showing George's behind-the-scenes life and provides a great back story to the big mystery . . . did he or didn't he? I had a pretty strong opinion prior to reading this but I found myself flip-flopping a few times during the course of the book. I have passed this one around to my wife and relatives and all have enjoyed it. Its an intersting look at Hollywood and the birth of TV and the subject matter is interesting enough to make this a great "beach book". Even Hollywood history is great escapism. The only disappointment is not being able to hold out hope for a different ending for my hero.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Norma Desmond on February 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Whether the information in this book is factually correct, I do not know. I suppose the scenario is plausible, although others have pointed out that there are many weaknesses. It does seem unlikely that a "hit man" hid outside and waited for everyone in the house to be conveniently distracted before sneaking up the stairs and murdering George Reeves. However, anything is possible. What I did like about this book is that it at least addresses a mystery which was shamefully handled by the LAPD more than 40 years ago. There has not been much written about this sad story, and this book at least brings it to people's attention. I was only six years old when George Reeves died, and I thought he was God. Maybe I still do. Maybe, even if this book is factually inaccurate, it will lead to more factual information coming forth. Surely there are others with knowledge who have not been interviewed. And even if there aren't, and we never know the truth, it is still an interesting read. I found it somewhat healing. I have grieved over the loss of this great actor for years, and welcome any and all books, articles and news stories. This terrible story has been downplayed far too long. Let's give it the attention it deserves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
It's a highly enjoyable book which I devoured in virtually one sitting. However, I - like sdr1989@juno.com - would like more more concrete evidence. That is, were Toni Mannix alive, and were someone to take her trial, it would be very difficult to convict her on the items within the pages of this book. That's because virtually everyone's dead, and a lot of the book is hearsay, etc. However, the book is a fantastic read and loads of fun, and I would recommend it to anyone...whether they believe in the book's contentions or not!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hollywood Hack on April 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So many books, films, and articles pull people in by asking if George Reaves was really murdered and then let everyone down by saying Reaves' death really was a suicide and not enough evidence proves the murder theory. But anyone who has read news about Reaves' death can tell you the opposite is true. More evidence supports the murder theory. He was shot with an oiled gun that had no fingerprints. Bullets were found in the floor and ceiling of his room. No complete autopsy was ever performed by the coroner. A gunshot and tires screeching from a car speeding away were heard by neighbors at the time of the death. Bruises were on the body from when Reeves died. Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane) recieved a phone call telling her Reaves had been murdered early the next morning before his death became public. This book not only gives an accurate account of how a hit man probably murdered Reaves but supports it with facts. It's too bad it wasn't published sooner than after all those involved had died.
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