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Rickles' Book: A Memoir Paperback – June 3, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Insult comic Rickles has written a feel-good memoir that's loaded with photos and sentiment. The only son of loving parents, today he's an 80-year-old grandfather who still performs nationwide. The most interesting bits—his climb to the top—are told only in broad strokes. The tone is friendly and conversational, however, as he describes, among other things, his style: "I found a distinct sense of sarcasm and humorous exaggeration." Rickles wanted to be a serious actor, but he started as a comic in strip clubs and worked his way up. His break came when Sinatra heard him—and he used Sinatra's influence to get him better gigs. Yet for a guy famous for calling others a "hockey puck," Rickles's story is Hollywood lite. There's no backstage drama, no sex, no gossip. When he name-drops celebrities, it's always in glowing terms. We learn of his short-lived TV shows, CPO Sharkey and The Don Rickles Show, and how voicing Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story jump-started his later career. Those looking for a sardonic autobiography will be disappointed; Rickles accentuates the positive. If he has a bad word to say about anyone, he'll probably save it for his act. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"What a terrific book. Honest, funny, down-to-earth. A helluva read."
-- Larry King
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Rickles' Book isn't a typical autobiography. Instead, this book consists of stories and anecdotes that are normally four pages or less. Rickles begins with his parents and his early childhood. Throughout, he will talk about various events in his life (growing up, serving in the Navy, his father's death, his wedding, etc.). But he doesn't spend much time with his personal life. The majority of the memoir covers his professional life and his entertainer friends, including Frank Sinatra and Bob Newhart. Some of the stories are informative. We learn that Don's mother, Etta, visited Frank Sinatra's mom, Dolly. Etta encouraged Dolly to get Frank to visit Don when he was performing. They quickly became good friends. He writes a lot about his best friend, Bob Newhart. Although they were total opposites, their friendship was based on “the same basic values: nutty humor and family love.”
But I gave Rickles' Book three stars for the following reasons. First, it is a very short read. With lots of blank pages between stories, plus pictures, you can read it in one sitting. And second, I later discovered that the stories in Rickles' Book are lifted directly from his stage routines. If you are a fan, you won't find much new here.
I would still like to learn more about Don Rickles the man, rather than the entertainer. I guess that I will just have to try a biography.
With so much he could have said it was disappointing that this is all he said