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How Sweet It Is: The Jackie Gleason Story Hardcover – September, 1985


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Bacon, a Hollywood columnist and friend of Gleason, has written an entertaining, if adulatory, biography of the poor Brooklyn kid and small-time pool hustler who grew up to become one of television's most famous comedians. Through the cooperation of Gleason and his family and friends, Bacon has spiced his narrative with personal anecdotes that pull no punches. Gleason is shown to be a hard-drinking, hard-living, big spender, whose natural comedy talents are unparalleled but very difficult to live with. Though Gleason declares that he is not an alcoholic, there's a a lot of emphasis on booze in this book. Marcia L. Perry, Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, Mass.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (September 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031239621X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312396213
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bruce P. Barten on March 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is mainly about success in an era which shaped what American society is today: high in entertainment values and celebrity personalities. There is an appendix which offers a list of major accomplishments; Films, Major Television Shows, and Theater. The final entry, for the classic play "The Sly Fox" in 1978, reveals that "it almost rang down the final curtain. In Chicago, he suffered a heart attack onstage in the final act but, with a trooper's instinct, finished the play. He then underwent a triple bypass operation." (p. 208).
Published in 1985, HOW SWEET IT IS: THE JACKIE GLEASON STORY by James Bacon is an authorized biography in which the characters which Jackie Gleason played are as important as the people he met and the audiences who adored him. The Foreword by Jackie Gleason is addressed "Dear Jim, I have read the book . . ." and admits "Many are the times I have ended up wounded by a deep and ugly hangover after a day of wishful drinking." (p. xi). The Prologue admits that the author was barred from the set of a movie "The Toy" being filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1982 for being an evil companion responsible for getting Jackie Gleason drunk during production. As Bob Hope said, "An evil companion for Jackie Gleason? I don't believe it. He makes you look like an altar boy. I don't believe it." (p. xiv).
I was small when I was young, and Jackie Gleason was one of the heaviest people I ever saw on television. Most of the pictures in this book show him younger than I remember him. Henny Youngman was even younger than I remember him. Chapter 10 is called "Pow! Alice, Right on the Kisser!" In Chapter 11, even one of his writers, Leonard Stern, had trouble seeing him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Digital Ric on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Far from the biographies today declaring every moment out of public view is some tortured experience, this book is a wonderful glimpse into the professional and personal life of a great entertainer as told by Jackie Gleason himself and some of the people who new him best. This is a great read.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
This biography for some very strange reason received better reviews than "The Great One" by William A. Henry III, the latter actually being a more objective and penetrating work by far. This is a very obsequious and very superficial treatment by a Gleason crony. I'm a long-time Gleason fan, but not at all a fan of this book. Try Henry's book instead.
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By Del Mar on September 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a thoroughly enjoyable read! While reading this book, it's as if you are there with Jackie Gleason and all of his "pals." He was a force of nature and if he would have taken care of himself, I'm sure he would have made it to 100. But, that wasn't his style. He did it "his way" and appears to have had a blast. I highly recommend this book.
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By Joseph Backe on May 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book gives a good look into the life and struggles of Jackie Gleason...it is a quick read and I really enjoyed finding out more about this iconic individual whose performances I have always enjoyed so much...RIP Jackie...thanks for the laughs..
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