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Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White Hardcover – September 15, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (September 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226709000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226709000
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Part showbiz survival 101, part civil rights testimony, the story of Tim and Tom is a moving chronicle of the courage, conviction and commitment it took to wade through floods of bigotry and bias with bell-bottoms. Although racism is no laughing matter, Tim and Tom proved that a little humanity and humor can go a long way to reminding us that people are more alike than we are different."-Tavis Smiley (Tavis Smiley)

"Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen are my close friends for whom I''ve always had the greatest respect, and after reading the book I realize why. A white boy who was one of eight children raised on the south side of Chicago and a `Brotha' who is an only child raised in Norfolk, Virginia, somehow get together and become America''s first black and white comedy team? The year 2008? No, sir-1969. Adversity, Disagreements, Pain, Love, Friendship, Brotherhood. It''s all there. I couldn''t put the book down." (Smokey Robinson)

"The story of these remarkable entertainers' Hollywood beginnings is a fabulous and funny read. Tim and Tom is not to be missed. Someone once said, `Laughter is jogging for the insides.' So this book will not only make you happy-you'll be healthier, too." (Nikki Giovanni)

"In this eye-opening dual biography of the first and only interracial American comedy team, Reid and Dreesen share their own unique upbringings-overcoming the stigmas of poverty and prejudice and through sheer determination making a difference in many people's lives through a shared talent to entertain and educate. . . . A heartfelt memoir and a nice capsule history of growing up different, fighting the odds, and becoming successful on one's own terms, this is recommended for all libraries." (Library Journal)

"A beautiful and beautifully told story of two men of character in a tough and unforgiving business who broke barriers with laughter."--Scott Simon (Scott Simon)

"Tim and Tom''s story is a tale of their times-the late ''60s and early ''70s, when racial issues were at the forefront of the national dialogue-and our times, when the country still struggles with many of the same questions."-Todd Leopold, CNN.com (Todd Leopold CNN.com)

"[In Tim & Tom] Rapaport weaves together often-funny and just-as-often-painful stories in a terrific look at friendship, perseverance and a country that should have been more ready for them than it was." (Detroit News)

"A rollicking, funny read, populated with colorful characters. . . . But it is tempered by heartache and frustration." (Detroit Metro Times)

"I have known Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen as comedians and friends since 1975, but I never knew Tim and Tom, the comedy team. This book is four compelling stories in one compilation: One story about Tim Reid, sad, fascinating and uplifting. One story about Tom Dreesen, a man consumed by a goal and a great witness to a bygone era of show business that one can't help but long for. A third story about seeking recognition in the world of entertainment. And finally, a story about race and culture in a country that should have been farther down the road to understanding, tolerance and human kindness than it was in the 1970s. Tim and Tom is a great story, the best kind of story, well told, about two men struggling to prove themselves. This entertaining book offers many meaningful lessons and vivid reflection." (David Letterman)

About the Author

Tim Reid is an actor, producer, and director who has created and starred in many movies and television shows, including WKRP in Cincinnati, in which he played the overnight disk jockey Venus Flytrap, and Frank’s Place. Tom Dreesen is a stand-up comedian who has appeared scores of times on The Tonight Show, Late Show with David Letterman, and other television shows. He toured the nation as Frank Sinatra’s opening act for fourteen years. Ron Rapoport has been a sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Los Angeles Daily News and a sports commentator for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition. He has written a biography of Bobby Jones and, with Betty Garrett, her autobiography.

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Customer Reviews

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Well written and entertaining.
Kelly Flaherty
Only in America can the themes of 'rags to riches,' black-and-white race relations, and stand-up comedy interweave successfully into a true story.
Lou Macaluso
This was a remarkable story about two very successful and interesting people who have led a life few of us could ever imagine.
Norman L. Elliott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gary Tallman on January 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Most of the reviews of this book so far have focused on the time that Tim and Tom were a comedy team struggling to make an impact and a living doing what they loved so much but I think the beginning chapters and the ending chapters were just as fascinating.

Usually when reading celeb biographies I just get through the chapters discussing their childhoods but in this book those chapters were fast paced and very well written. Each of these men had pretty tough childhoods to put it mildly but those childhoods brought them to a place where they could meet and form their partnership by putting on anti-drug presentations in schools throughout Harvey Illinois before someone told them they could be funny.

Now for me the best part of the book was the post break up of their partnership. Having done some stand-up comedy I was more intriqued by Dreesen's struggles to get noticed in the Los Angeles Comedy scene.
He had to prove himself all over again as a solo performer.

The stories of his first appearance on the Tonight show with Johnny Carson were a triumph. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading about what it was like to open for Sammy Davis Jr and of course his friendship and partnership with Frank Sinatra as his opening act for 14 years.

There are also some very detailed and interesting chapters about Tim Reid's life after the act broke up. I learned a lot about his sitcom career especially about Franks Place.

All in all this book was excellent and I highly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Frank Cook on September 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to imagine how the idea of a comedy team of a black man and a white man would be viewed as shocking and maybe revolutionary. But it was the late 60's and all hell was breaking loose in the states. For these two guys to decide to hold a discourse on race within the forum of comedy was a major achievement. Strange,how we haven't seen anymore interracial teams since.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was lucky enough to interview Tim and Tom on my [...] podcast for this incredible read. Truly an impressive story in so many ways, poverty to success, the many many sides of discrimination, the the tremendous contributions Tim and Tom made to society outside of show business. I hope this will become an incredible movie! -Doug Vannier
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adam Saint on January 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. As a comedy fan, I am always interested in comedians I may never have heard of... Tim & Tom's story is a compelling one, and this book is a tough one to put down. It's not only funny and interesting to read about their personal lives and their professional challenges, it also reveals so much about race in this country -both how the issues have changed and how they stay the same. I highly recommend this terrific book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Cheetah on January 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm more impressed with who these two guys are now than what they were then...a masterful journey through the soul of America and the price people pay for fame and fortune...MLK said it best when he described the "content of character" as the most important human trait...Great book...it should be on the shelf of every high school library in America....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Norman L. Elliott on January 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was a remarkable story about two very successful and interesting people who have led a life few of us could ever imagine. Together, they conquered many obstacles and no doubt enjoyed every minute. I enjoyed reading this book immensley and had a hard time putting it down; give me another week and I may read it again. Norm Elliott
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By michael c. on January 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
hollywood couldn't have come up with a better story....and these guys lived it ! written in very vivid detail you'll feel like you are there with TIM and TOM through evey step of there amazing lives .when reading this it was like watching a movie play out . this book will stir up many emotions in you ! i thought i was buying a 'comedy bio' but this is that and much more ! taking you on a journey through there rough childhoods were fate had them meet up as young adults and become the only inter-racial comedy duo in a time where blacks and whites were still using seperate public wash rooms. it's also a book about friendship and brotherhood and how two guys could strive together to become succesful in a business that loves to knock you down.they traveled this rocky road fighting... with each other and small minded people who could only see colors. however like family...like brothers.... fourty years later there still friends. along the way you'll love the story's about david letterman and della reese etc. this is an excellant fast read...we could only hope that there will be another memoir with more stories from these two amazing careers. my only question is WHEN IS THE MOVIE COMING OUT ???????????
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jason Crawford on December 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by Tommy Garrett on Sep 21, 2008 - 2:21:00 PM

"Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White" is a must-read. I'm not the only one who says so. David Letterman says, "I have known Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen as comedians and friends since 1975, but I never knew Tim and Tom, the comedy team. This book is four compelling stories in one compilation: One story about Tim Reid, sad, fascinating and uplifting. One story about Tom Dreesen, a man consumed by a goal and a great witness to a bygone era of show business that one can't help but long for. A third story about seeking recognition in the world of entertainment. And finally, a story about race and culture in a country that should have been farther down the road to tolerance, understanding, and human kindness than it was in the 1970s. "Tim and Tom" is a great story, the best kind of story, well told, about two men struggling to prove themselves."

The book is brilliantly sectioned in four, giving you a real in-depth view into the lives of these two great comedians and entertainers but also the nation. Tim Reid feels that it's very timely and Tom Dreesen feels it's about time. Reid says, "It was Tom's idea, I had avoided it for years. I believed that the public didn't care at the time we were going through these trials and didn't think it would be interesting now to talk about. But after over a year of working with Tom on it, I am glad we did it. It was after seeing his passion for over 20 years trying to get me to write this, that finally it was time and I am glad I did it now. It was very emotionally draining but fulfilling.
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