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Beating a Dead Horse The Life and Times of Jay Marshall Hardcover – Color, March 9, 2010
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An engaging, no holds-barred look at the life (and loves) of television pioneer and dean of American magicians, Jay Marshall. This book captures the essence of a comedic genius - both on and off stage. Bawdy and brash, it is an informative history of 20th Century performing arts. Jay Marshall took control of his image and continually reinvented himself. He drew his own ads, pulled numerous publicity stunts, and even taught himself how to play the bagpipes to land a job. A man of many passions, he was addicted to practical jokes and romantic escapades. Wit and tenacity propelled Jay Marshall into becoming one of the most respected men in show business: - 14 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show - Opened for Frank Sinatra in Sinatra’s Las Vegas debut - Appeared in three Broadway shows - Played Radio City Music Hall, the London Palladium, and was the last next-to-closing-act (the star spot) at the Palace Theatre. Beating a Dead Horse is also a story of fathers and sons. Jay’s son, Alexander (Sandy) Marshall, spent more than three years researching and writing about his maverick father. Sandy reveals a deeply intimate portrait that is laugh-out-loud funny, honest, and touching, and offers revelations along the way.
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Top Customer Reviews
Do you need to have known Jay Marshall to enjoy this book? I never met the man, but I couldn't stop turning the pages.
The great mystery writer, Elmore Leonard, when asked to advise young writers on how to be successful said: "Leave out the boring parts".
Likewise, I would advise those interested in biography to "write about interesting people"....and boy, does the subject of this book qualify!
He was (this from the prologue) a magician, ventriloquist, puppeteer, musician, writer, magazine editor, publisher, historian, inventor, joke smith, balloonologist, fabulist, bibliophile, juggler, wit, Punch & Judy performer, origami aficionado, chapeaugrapher, storyteller, and comedian...whew!...how can you go wrong?!
Was there anything that Jay Marshall wasn't interested in? It appears not. Ok, now throw in hundreds of photographs...anecdotes about famous magicians (that means the ones even I've heard of (Houdini, Blackstone, Copperfield, Penn & Teller) as well as tidbits about the famous we've all heard of (Sinatra, Cary Grant, Bea Lillie) and it all combines into a most enjoyable read for both the magic fraternity and all the rest of us.
Mr. Marshall billed himself (tongue in cheek) as "one of the better cheaper acts" This delicious biography would seem to belie that...or at least the "cheaper" part. Nicely written, beautifully illustrated and expensively produced, it takes us on an interesting (remember - leave out the boring parts!) journey through an interesting mans life. What more can you ask for?