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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: An Unauthorized Autobiography Paperback – Bargain Price, November 27, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Dangerously funny." -- People --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax Books (November 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786888083
  • ASIN: B000S6MFB8
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,401,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I saw the movie "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" first and then I read the book. As interesting and well made as the movie is, the book is actually better. I was a regular viewer of Mr. Barris's television programs and watched them quite a bit when I was growing up along with millions of other boomers.

It is a strange leap from producing "The Dating Game" and "The Newlywed Game" to being a contestant in Barris' real life version of "The Homicide Game." Yet, this is precisely what this story from Mr. Barris asks the reader to believe. Yet something in the back of my mind tells me that it is not actually all that difficult to imagine Mr. Barris actually saying, "And now here's a prize selected especially for you. It's a three-eighty hollow-point!"

I always thought Chuck Barris did not deserve all the vile and spiteful things that were said about him during his television producer days by critics and so-called media experts. He was just giving America what it wanted. Compared to the infantile sitcoms of the day, his game shows were far more mentally engaging. The first book I read by Barris was "The Game Show King: A Confession" and I was amazed at how well he wrote. But then again, this is a well educated, well traveled mature man who has lived life above and beyond the everyday Joe since 1965, so I should not have been as surprised as I was. "Game Show King" is a better insight into his complex and fascinating personality than "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" and does not get into the CIA angle at all.

That Barris is just plain wired differently from normal people is obvious to anyone who ever saw "The Gong Show." However accepting that what he wrote in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" could all be true is certainly a stretch. Yet Mr.
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Format: Paperback
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is the unauthorized autobiography of Chuck Barris. Mr. Barris is probably best known as the creator of several popular games shows including the Dating Game, the Newlywed Game and the Gong Show. In this autobiography he also makes the claim that he was one of the CIA's most successful assassins. Although his claim is highly dubious, Mr. Barris has a knack for spinning it into one hell of a story.

In the first chapter we are introduced to the 1980 version of Chuck Barris playing the role of the reclusive and paranoid millionaire. A burnt out, former international celebrity best know for serving up some of the schlockiest television shows in the pre-reality television era.

Chuck, plagued by nightmares and consumed by his phobias, attempts to exorcise his demons by authoring the book "Confession of a Dangerous Mind" which he refers to an "act of catharsis". However, before he can finish this story and free himself he must complete the now all too clich' "final mission" for the CIA. As formulaic as this premise may sound I can guarantee that Chuck has you completely snared by the end of the first chapter.

Chuck tells the tale of himself as the proverbial young man down on his luck trying to find his place in the world. He is unable to hold a job, or maintain a stable relationship when he answers a newspaper ad that reads: "COLLEGE GRADUATE: FREE TO TRAVEL". As difficult as this is to believe, he is promptly recruited into the CIA and embarks on his new career as an international assassin. As luck would have it, he simultaneously creates several hit television shows and becomes one of the most successful producers in television for more than a decade. Through out the book the author struggles to intertwine the two disparate careers.
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By A Customer on November 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
Was Chuck Barris an agent for the CIA? Maybe. Its impossible to tell for sure. And from the standpoint of the entertainment value of this book, it really doesnt matter. Chuck Barris does a great job of detailing his rise as one of the most prolific creators of game shows in our nations History. Barris, despite his reputation on "the Gong Show" is a highly literate, intelligent, Ivy League educated man. I read this book taking the train from New York to Washington, and I couldnt stop turning the pages. This read is fast, entertaining, and insightful. I cant wait for the movie to come out
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Format: Hardcover
In his hilarious "unauthorised autobiography", gameshow guru Chuck Barris (The Dating Game, The Gong Show) claims to have been an agent for the CIA. Enjoyment of this comic masterpiece is by no means contigeant on the reader's believing this wildly implausible assertion. In fact, the CIA sequences are woven cleverly into an (entirely credible) account of the chaos and creative energy behind the launch of Barris's earliest gameshows. Tales of his ventures into the world of espionage are "true" in one, very broad sense, however: they reflect Barris' desperate attempts to compensate for a sense of exclusion; this sense, and his belief that the machismo world of the CIA will confer on him some kind of clubby, WASPish acceptability, explain the appearances of these bizzarre passages in what might have otherwise been a factual account of his efforts as television star and producer. The theme of exclusion links him to the great tradition of American "outsider" literature, in particular to the work of Philip Roth. Roth devotees might be shocked that anyone would compare Confessions with an acknowledged masterpiece such as Pornoy's Complaint. Confessions, certainly, is at least as funny; and this reviewer hopes that its importance, unrecognised in 1984, when it was published, will finally be established with the forthcoming release of a motion picture adaptation. It is impossible to overstate the comic brilliance of Chuck Barris' prose. His descriptions of the loons, goons and misfits who populated The Gong Show, for example, are themselves worth the price of admission.Read more ›
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