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You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood's Golden Age Hardcover – March 11, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Wagner and Eyman, who coauthored Wagner’s 2008 autobiography, Pieces of My Heart, this time tell the story of a place and a time: Hollywood from the 1930s through the ’60s. Divided into topical chapters, including “Houses and Hotels,” “Style,” and “Nightlife,” the book follows Hollywood from its early days—until Cecil B. DeMille arrived in 1913, Hollywood was just another place outside Los Angeles—through its heady decades as the trendsetter in style and popular culture, and ending with the collapse of the studio system, when profits were in steep decline and many of the Golden Age stars were dying or aging out of the spotlight. You can tell that Wagner, whose acting career started when the Golden Age was its most golden, truly misses that time and place; his fondness for it and his distaste for the modern way of moviemaking come through on almost every page. For Wagner, the emblems of Hollywood at its grandest—the mansions, the stars, the parties, the watering holes—evoke a better world, and his account of how it was then just may leave nostalgic readers similarly affected. --David Pitt

Review

"In terms of grace and style, you couldn't ask for a better tour director than actor Robert Wagner."
~Douglass K. Daniel, Associated Press
 
" [A] charming tribute to off-screen lives during a period many may regard as Hollywood's finest."
~Kirkus Reviews

"[You Must Remember This] takes you into the palatial mansions, castles and luxurious houses of the stars in great detail. It will become a great reference book for all lovers of silent and talkie movies and the actors and the actresses who peopled those homes. Fairbanks, Pickford and Chaplin, they are all here amongst many others."
~Ann McDonald, RedCarpetCrash.com
 
"With great affection and a twinkle in his eye, veteran actor Wagner recalls Hollywood's glory days of the 1940s and early 1950s, when class, manners, friendship, and a code of values ruled the city of stars."
~Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670026093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670026098
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (277 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 122 people found the following review helpful By G.I Gurdjieff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in its electronic galley format compliments of NetGalley and the opinions expessed here are mine alone.

Actor and author Robert Wagner teases in this book's dedication by telling his reader that no one in his family has ever heard these stories. A cute teaser which sounds naughty but in fact is innocently probably true. This book is not a celebrity tell all. Actually, it starts out describing in broad terms a Hollywood/Los Angeles of long ago that is seen through the eyes of Wagner. A transplant from Detroit, Wagner ventured west with his family in the late 1930's as a young child. The Wagners built a home in the Bel Air area which even back then reflected a certain prejudice against movie people. Wagner was lucky. He had yet to become an actor. Wagner describes an idyllic life with expansive vistas populated by nature and an occasional bridle path where he rode horses. In his youth, he would also spend time riding public transportation that was cheap, convenient, and well planned. Believe it, LA actually had a good transportation system back in the day. The air was smog free and you could gaze from the mountains to view Catalina some 20 miles offshore. Back then there was no Hotel Bel Air. It was where his family and others boarded their horses. Bel Air still had a small town feel back then.

After recalling the Los Angeles he came to know and love as his adopted hometown, he grew up and had some contact with film people through jobs he had as a teen. The reader starts getting an idea of how the celebs lived from the descriptive simplicity of a Cape Cod actor 'Jim' Cagney had built in contrast to a huge and over-the-complex actress Marion Davies resided in at the edge of Santa Monica on the beach.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Michael T Kennedy VINE VOICE on March 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I saw a review of this book and read it in two days. I have nothing to do with the movies, except watching them, mostly old ones. However, I have lived in Los Angeles since 1956 and the places Mr Wagner mentions are familiar. I remember Ciro's Nightclub although I was never in there. His memories of Bel Air and Hollywood bring back my own memories of when Los Angeles was a delightful city. The smog was here when I arrived so I did not see it as he did before the age of the auto. I remember the red cars although I never rode one. In 1961, I walked up the fairway of Bel Air Country Club during the Bel Air Fire to see if my in-laws house was still there. It wasn't and we saw other houses on fire along the fairway with no one around them. The firemen were miles away trying to create fire breaks.

I was in Don the Beachcomber one night in a party that included Jane Russell and her husband Bob Waterfield, retired football star. A fan came up to her and asked for her autograph and then called Waterfield, "Mr Russell." I didn't crack a smile.

It is fun to read about these places and these people, most of whom were gone by the time I came along. Still, we did have dinners at Scandia, preferably on Tuesday when the "Chef's Special Lamb" dish was served. I still don't know what was in it but it was the best dish I have ever eaten. I saw Van Heflin in there one night.

The description of the real casino that Eddie Mars' roadhouse, in "The Big Sleep," was based on, explained something to me. I remember when the Hollywood Freeway ended at Lankersheim Boulevard but didn't know where that real casino was located. Raymond Chandler was as much a historian of old Los Angeles as Dashiell Hammett was of San Francisco.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By kaykan on March 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a delicious book of Old Hollywood - truly the Golden Age. It is not only a must-read for any film buff but for anyone interested in the creation and architecture of many of the landmarks in Southern California. Making it even better, is the, often, first-hand accounting of Robert Wagner, a gracious man with a way to tell a story about places he has been and people he has known. He intuitively tells us the fun stories and facts that make these golden stars come alive and he writes, much as a fan, telling us the things that we really want to know. I especially appreciated the way that he treats all of his subjects, with respect and love, none of the snarky commentary that so often passes for wit these days. He has truly bridged the gap from the early days to today. I only wish that so many of these places that he tells about were still here. This is just a grand read and Robert Wagner gives us an example again of a life well-lived much as he did in "Pieces of My Heart."
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a great book! I love the way Mr. Wagner started with a little history, blended in a little old Hollywood, stirred in a little style, and came up with a book that reads like you're having a conversation with him. I loved all the anecdotes about the stars, the old homes, and insider tidbits that this book is full of. It's not a gossip book, it's a memory book of days gone by that will never be seen again, and that's sad.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By CoreyDamerell on March 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was born in 1958, which by my estimation, is 25 - 30 years too.late. I love old Hollywood movies and their stars much more than most of today's. I missed out on the heyday of Hollywood, and this book let me live it out in my head. Well written, and a lot of fun. Classic, just like the author himself.
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