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When Do I Start?: A Memoir Paperback – August 1, 2004
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How many times did Karl Malden lean his retro hat and cauliflower nose into your TV set and intone "The American Express card--Don't leave home without it"? Would it surprise you to learn that such a rock-solid spokesman for capitalism flirted with communism--or rather, it flirted with him--during his formative years in New York's Group Theatre, alongside stalwarts such as Elia Kazan, Clifford Odets, and Harold Clurman? Reconciling his idealistic stage youth with his mature commercial years, and being stolidly as proud of one as the other, is Malden's goal in this earnest memoir. Malden offers insights into two generations of acting: one that put him in the original cast of A Streetcar Named Desire, and one that made him star of TV's The Streets of San Francisco. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
This memoir is a peripatetic selection of Malden's encounters with larger-than-life Broadway figures. For younger readers, Malden is known as the star of The Streets of San Francisco and American Express commercials; but many will remember him for his role as Mitch in the original production of A Streetcar Named Desire and his many theatrical accomplishments. Growing up poor in Gary, Indiana, the son of a Serbian mill worker, Malden had to struggle to realize his dream. But after a stint at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, he headed for New York City, where he was to work with legendary figures like Kazan, Strasberg, and Brando. The 1950s was Broadway's heyday but also the time of blacklisting, and Malden paints a vivid picture here of those times. Moreover, the actor eschews the "down-and-dirty tell-all memoir" so common now to offer his views on the various acting techniques and methods he came upon. Recommended for all collections.?Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Bay Area Cooperative Lib. System, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Karl Malden's autobiography is, in addition to being the fascinating chronicle of an all-American life, a veritable between-the-covers film festival: It overflows with intriguing anecdotes--marvelous, revelatory tales of the amazing array of actors, writers, directors, and other assorted characters whose lives have intersected with Malden's over the course of his truly impressive career.
But, perhaps best of all, this book clearly speaks in the author's own thoroughly likable, very American voice: It's down-to-earth, always direct, always truthful, thoughtfully considered, admirably reflective, precisely observant, but never, ever, the least bit mean-spirited or egotistical. This is a book--and a man--to love.
I don't think I've ever enjoyed a film star's memoir more than this one. I recommend "When Do I Start" as the perfect present for every movie buff, every theatre lover, every TV fan--even every travelers' cheque user--on anyone's gift list. I suspect that even people who've never heard of Karl Malden (can such exist?) will like his book--and I know that everyone who reads it will want to sit right down in front of the TV with a big bowl of popcorn to watch all the videos of Malden's many marvelous films.
"When Do I Start?" is a real find and a real "keeper": an admirable, fascinating book by and about an admirable, fascinating man.
And oh, yes: It's got lots of great pictures, too!
Mary Ellen Kelly
The first half of the book is about his career on broadway. He was in the first "Streetcar Named Desire" and shared a dressing room with Marlon Brando. The book is filled with little stories like that, with snapshots of playwrights, future big stars, plays that flopped, etc. I highly recommend this book.
I also have a copy and have read it. I enjoyed reading the first chapter, since it pertained to Gary, Indiana back when it was a great town. The remainder of the book would be an interesting read for anyone interested in theater or trying to break into Hollywood.
I highly recommend it to all Actors & Performers. And the vignettes of the classic ActorS of the 50's & 60's is
absolutely fascinating. This is stuff you don't get in the Rag Mags, this book is the real deal.
Karl Malden was the quintessential Gentleman of Hollywood with panache, respect, dedication and loyalty, He & Paul
Newman, a dying breed. I'm going to read it again because I love the ride of reality in the life of a Legend.
The part about growing up and then struggling to make it as an actor is well done but don't cheat on the rest. Regardless, it makes for interesting reading because he does try to be honest in his recollections and avoids using profanity, obscenity and hearsay.