- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Miramax; Reprint edition (November 27, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786888083
- ISBN-13: 978-0786888085
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #865,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: An Unauthorized Autobiography Paperback – November 27, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Originally published in 1982 but out-of-print for years, '70s television icon Barris's forgotten autobiography is being reissued to coincide with the December release of a major film adaptation. After two decades of relative obscurity, Barris's memoir may finally find an eager audience. Readers will probably best remember Barris as the creator and host of The Gong Show, but his resume also includes such classic shows as The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, as well as a hit song, "Palisades Park," and a New York Times bestselling book, You and Me Babe (1970). What will shock readers, however, is Barris's claim that, throughout his successful TV career, he was leading a double life as a decorated CIA assassin. While supposedly "scouting locations" to send his winning game show contestants, Barris was actually traveling to exotic locales to knock off America's Cold War foes. Or so he'd have readers believe. While far-fetched, the tension-filled scenes of Barris's supposed CIA activities provide an ingenious counterbalance to the story of his meandering personal life, the snarling critics who attacked Barris for dragging television into the gutter and hilarious recollections of how wholesome contestants would become inexplicably filthy once on the set of The Dating Game. Even though Barris's reputation as a wacky TV show host doomed this literary venture when it was originally published, it is in fact a remarkably well-crafted and entertaining book, both unflinchingly personal and at times laugh-out-loud funny. Twenty years later, it reads like a classic.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Dangerously funny." -- People
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Top customer reviews
I can't think of another book that goes so deep into the absurd, the gritty/obscene and the darkness of human experience so accessibly, so lightly. An unreliable narrator masterpiece that isn't on the nose about the intellectual baggage of the conceit is what makes this so great -- and probably why it isn't recognized as being a more serious feat of writing.
True, the CIA part seems too incredible to be real, yet Barris writes with an impressively descriptive authenticity that leaves his reader wondering. Either he's read a ton of spy novels or he has some experience with the business, though perhaps not to the extent claimed here. If he is making it all up, he's got quite an imagination. He cites enough names, dates & places that some winnowed investigator ought to be able to sort out whether any of it is true.
The other surprise is how willing Barris is to reveal his warts, particularly in affairs of the heart (he's a real schlep). Given what a likable tv personality he was, it is lamentable that he could be such an SOB. More evidence for the dual personality that produced the cold-blooded killer he claims to be.
Though I could not recommend it to the chaste (assuming you still exist - it is to the novel what the Gong Show was to 70's television), the book, like his show, is so funny you're likely to forgive in return for a good laugh. Barris is a contemporary version of P.T. Barnum: outrageous and often in bad taste, but boy does he have a feel for an audience.
I want to believe this book. There are too many details that could not be a coincidence. On the other hand, what we know may not match the truth.
Perhaps he did some work for them, but didn't work out, and they let him
go? Chuck is from the great city of Philadelphia. Even though Chuck is an
educated person, there is no record of him having been a smug ivy leaguer
-- exaggeration? Hard to hide from the internet chucko! I'm sure the
University of Pennsylvania would be more than glad to confer an honorary
degree in return for a cool million dollar donation. Anyway, I wish I
could write as good as Chuck. He knows his stuff! Also, I would love to
compose music like chuck --"Palisades Park" rocks for sure! (Hell. I
can't even play a musical instrument!) In this book Chuck mentions making
the "Gong Show Movie", which was a big flop during its brief theatrical
release. Sometime in the eighties I rented the VHS video tape, and found
the movie to be existential at times, which made it even more wonderful!
Chuck needs to post the pictures of Lucy Sue Glopp on the internet
somewhere : photobucket, imageshack, flickr (all free), or perhaps on a
gong show website. Also, a video of the popsicle twins. I would think that youtube would allow it. Definitely, one of my fondest memories of the seventies is watching the gong show: the amazing joy of dancing along with "Gene Gene the dancing machine", the unknown comic insulting Chucky baby, and seductive Jaye P. Morgan (from Tujunga!) Oh! Showing a picture of a woman in the book (Patricia Watson, who went to Radcliffe), whom he supposedly made love to, but later had to murder because she was a mole?!?!?!-- saying it was almost easy killing her -- right out of Mickey Spillane. I'm not saying the book is bunk, but i suspect at least some brilliant
exaggeration. The book is at least a great novel, but probably not
non-fiction, either way it's a good read. Definitely, one of the most
wonderful things during the seventies for many people was "the Gong Show", with Chuck Barris at ground zero!