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Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts Paperback – June 22, 2007

3.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Broadway's original Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi recounts her charmed life, making her success sound like the perfectly normal outcome for a nearly six-foot-tall girl who used to deliver the Christian Science Monitor to San Francisco back stages. A veritable platter of patter, her memoir is laced with off-the-cuff openings like "Now, do you want to know..." and "Let me tell you..." Famous names are not dropped as much as unavoidably run into as Channing-now 81-charts the events of her life, such as the process of mounting Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with composer Jule Styne, lyricist Leo Robin, writer Anita Loos, actress Tallulah "Talloo" Bankhead, composer Richard Rodgers and, as consultants, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. As much as it is a memoir, Channing's book is also a valediction to her old friends, many of whom, like George Burns and Loretta Young, are gone. As she writes of their qualities, she straightforwardly tells readers what she learned from or enjoyed about them. Louis Armstrong was kind, Jimmy Durante generous and Barbra Streisand admirable, despite having peeved Channing by "kidnapping" her "baby"-the role of Dolly for the movie version of Hello, Dolly! (which flopped, Channing happily adds). The mix of plainness, largesse and purpose doesn't make for the most scintillating memoir (there's not much about her marriages, for example), but that seems true to the persona and perhaps to the person herself. Chatty and colorful, it's like having Channing as the only guest on an afternoon talk show-a big treat for the right person. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Just like having a coffee break with the star.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416567682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416567684
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #536,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Phelps Gates VINE VOICE on November 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Is Carol Channing actually 81? Good grief! She's still a lot more lively than almost anybody a quarter her age. No ghost is credited, and it would seem that this book is, in fact, directly from the pen of Ms. Channing. It certainly sounds like her: the book reads like an extended interview, delivered in her inimitable voice (which I kept hearing while reading it). It's lots of fun to read, but probably best enjoyed in short bits, since the high energy level of the writing is almost too much to take after an hour or two! She bounces around madly from topic to topic, but that's part of the charm. A few personal notes: I grew up in a Christian Science family, and we knew the Channings (and I remember as a child visiting the First Reader's house which she describes). Her hilarious account of the foibles of Lady Astor will resonate with any Christian Scientist from that period! When Gentlemen Prefer Blondes appeared on Broadway, I remember a bit of a scandal in C.S. circles over her performance: not because of the naughty escapades of Lorelei Lee, but because she smoked a cigarette on stage! Oh well!
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be very much like I pictured the woman herself. A little wacky perhaps, but certainly very, very interesting and above all, fun. It has a real stream-of-consciousness feel to it, as if she were speaking to you at a dinner party. She hops around from one time period to the next and gives a lot of interesting tidbits regarding her various friends and co-stars in the industry. As to one reviewer who didn't like the way Carol mentioned her possible African-American ancestry, it struck me that she was just telling the truth and she didn't dwell on it or really make much of an issue of it. If it's true, then it's true, what's wrong with mentioning it? The only thing that seems a little glaring is her silence about her break-up with Charles Lowe. She mentions it rather briefly when she describes Loretta Young sending over a priest to help her through that difficult time, but that is really about it. Perhaps it just got a little too personal for her to talk about with the mass public. I mean, we all have looked at her as this larger than life cartoon, when underneath she IS still a woman. However, this book seems to carry on the "Hirschfeld" caricature image she has been developing for years. I, for one, am very glad that she wrote this book. She obviously still has a lot of spunk and life left in her. I've seen her several times throughout the years, and anyone who has ever heard that music start up and seen Carol come down those stairs in that glittering red dress with the giant feathers would know that they were seeing theater history. I found the book well worth the read!
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Format: Hardcover
Carol Channing tells her life story (probably dictated with almost no editing) in her own style - delightfully mixed-up, carefree and uninhibited. Of course she skips around and even SHE forgets exactly what her point was. Is this disappointing? No, she's just being Carol Channing, a true zany. Not Lucille Ball, a very serious and level-headed businesswoman who just played a zany.
The unabashed love she felt for her best pals- Mary Martin and George Burns in particular, is heart-warming reading. Her disdain for certain others never remotely comes across as bitter,
for example in the case of the nameless "Yenta" from one of her
Broadway shows. "Yenta" was a troublesome actress who, Carol later found out, wound up as a dental assistant. "It could have happened to any of us," Carol laments to us with a straight face. As if becoming a dental assistant was like dying in a plane crash! That's Carol... if you stray too far off Broadway you might as well be dead. Her love of life and love of the theater are one and the same, and it pours forth in every page.
You will notice too that there's no photo of her husband/manager of 42 years, Charles Lowe, whom she divorced very publicly in 1997 after informing the world he was gay and in all that time they had intercourse on two occasions. All mention of him is less than she gives to describe the "pear-shaped" ass of agent Sue Mengers. So you know that there are some sad things the happy Carol would just like to blot out, or, at least not burden us with. She'd rather give us peppy and mixed-up Carol showbiz yarns in no particular order.
The most controversial element of her tome is the impossible-to-prove assertment that her father was a light-skinned African-American.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This chatty, funny book is just the tonic for those who find little to admire in today's wasteland of celebrities. This lady has been there and done it all, and lived to tell the tale. This book would make a wonderful basis for a one-woman Broadway show, which is HOPEFULLY in the works. The Channing that emerges in this book is a warm, witty celebrant of life who has worked for decades and even managed to find true love, at long last. A book for everyone who loves the theatre.
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Format: Hardcover
She continues to amaze!
Bravo, Ms. Channing.
And most importantly, Thank you for getting it all on paper for us all to relish. This is gushy, but there is no other way to describe this book. Beautifully written, cohesive and truly inspiring.
Powerful, in an odd and delightful way.
The theatre biz has changed so much since Time Magazine put her on their cover in 1950 and proclaimed, "Perhaps once in a decade, a nova explodes above the Great White Way with enough brilliance to re-illuminate the whole gaudy legend of show business."
Well, that was FIVE DECADES ago! And indeed no other Lady has had such theatrical staying-power...period!
Put on your Sunday clothes...
...and GET THIS BOOK!
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