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When Variety Was King: Memoir of a TV Pioneer: Featuring Jackie Gleason, Sonny and Cher, Hee Haw, and More Paperback – April 1, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Peppiatt and his longtime writing partner, John Aylesworth, created the hugely popular variety show Hee Haw, which ran for nearly a quarter-century. In this entertaining memoir, Peppiatt, who died shortly after completing the book, takes us back to the beginning of his career, showing us how a Canadian kid obsessed with radio drama became a radio producer, got in on the ground floor of Canadian television, and parlayed that experience into a long career on both sides of the border. The book is full of behind-the-scenes stories—Peppiatt worked with Steve Allen, Norman Jewison, Jackie Gleason, Judy Garland, Jonathan Winters, Perry Como, and other notables—but the author isn’t interested in dishing dirt (although we get the sense the dirt is there, but is being tastefully kept out of our sight). This is a likable, entertaining memoir, a look at the author’s life in the entertainment industry of the 1950s through the 1980s and the not-inconsiderable toll the work took on his personal life. For fans of TV history, there’s a gold mine here. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Hilarious and entertaining.  Frank Peppiatt has written a fascinating book about the golden age of television." —Norman Jewison, director, Agnes of God, The Hurricane, Moonstruck


"Full of Frank's comedic flair, including a hysterically funny portrait of a self-indulgent Jackie Gleason. I put the book down only to take it up again, and revel in the gigantic talent of my old pal, Frank Peppiatt." —Don Harron, actor/comedian


"A simple but often fascinating look at TV history through the eyes of one of the medium's seminal figures." —Kirkus Reviews (March 2013)


"This is a likeable, entertaining memoir. . . . For fans of TV history, there's a gold mine here." —Booklist (March 2013)


"Highly entertaining…an enjoyable look back at a long lost TV genre from behind the typewriter of a harried, talented, humble Canadian writer who modestly carved a niche for himself as an unsung hero of the golden age of television." —Stuart Nulman, West End Times


"A breezy memoir...packed with anecdotes about the TV and movie stars of yesterday." —A.B. Mead, Authormagazine.org


"Peppiatt managed to complete a colourful memoir just before his passing last November at the age of 85… His stories are informative and interesting, especially for those are hooked on celebrities." —Roger Currie, Winnipeg Free Press


"It's a great read about a great Canadian and a fascinating look back at the history of television." —Gloria Martin, 680 News
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770410295
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770410299
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,060,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Ed on October 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As usual, the back story is often the most interesting in the life of well-known figures. What makes this book work is that anyone can identify with the author as the everyday man. In addition, the book is a slice of history during the early TV period.
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Format: Hardcover
Peppiatt's career has a fascinating story arc, and the anecdotes are very entertaining. I would like to have seen more about the nuts and bolts of comedy writing itself (Peppiatt's creative process, his collaborations with Aylesworth, and so forth), but this book is more suitable for a general audience (and not just diehard comedy geeks like me).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was amazed at the author's boundless energy - a true workaholic!. In particular, I was interested in his family stories.
The deceased Frank Peppiatt was my cousin.

P.S. Thank you for the speedy delivery of my order.
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By D g on September 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
A look at what goes on before a show 'goes on'. Entertaining trip down memory lane.
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