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Beating a Dead Horse The Life and Times of Jay Marshall Hardcover – Color, March 9, 2010
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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?