Category Archives: Books

Reading Lunch Under the California Sun

Tweet I usually read several few books at a time. I think I have a touch of ADD. Or maybe I’m just intellectually restless. Because we live in Los Angeles where the sun shines almost every day of the week, I often sit in Casa Avrech’s patio eating lunch and reading. Here’s a sample of […]

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Margaret in Hollywood

Tweet Back in the days when Shakespeare still meant something to a lot of people, I wanted to be a great dramatic actress. Before I knew it I was in Hollywood . . . Thus begins Darcy O’Brien’s novel “Margaret in Hollywood” (1992), the story of Margaret Spencer, an early child star of vaudeville and a […]

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Growing Up in Hollywood: A Way of Life, Like Any Other

Tweet Darcy O’Brien (1939 – 1998) was a scholar of Irish literature, and also the author of several best-selling works in the true-crime genre. “Two of a Kind: The Hillside Strangler” (1985) was adapted into the television film, “The Case of the Hillside Stranglers” starring Richard Crenna. “Murder in Little Egypt,” (1989) is about a small-town Illinois […]

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Book Review: Bina Lobell’s Super Secret Diary

Tweet One of the most important strategies for a writer is to set the tone for his work as quickly and as accurately as possible. As a screenwriter, I make it a rule to set the tone for my script in the very first scene. When I write a novel or a memoir, I make […]

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Book Review: Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist by Yossi Klein Halevi

Tweet I was scared of Yossi Klein Halevi. This was back in high school when Yossi and I were students — sorta — at Brooklyn Talmudic Academy. Sorta, because Yossi and I were two off the most indifferent students in that yeshiva’s history. When I was scheduled to be in class I was, more often […]

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John Wayne Casts a Giant Shadow

Tweet John Wayne’s commitment to Conservative values cemented his support of Israel. Indeed, there was a time when even Hollywood liberals supported Israel publicly, and through generous charitable contributions.  Tragically, classic liberalism is dead, replaced by a postmodern Democrat party—progressivism—that is radically left and infused with the classic Jew-hatred of Marxist-Lenninism. In Scott Eyman’s compulsively […]

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John Wayne Stumbles Into Overtime

Tweet Scott Eyman’s superb biography of John Wayne presents a multi-dimensional portrait of a good and decent man who went out of his way to help others. But out of intrinsic modesty, Wayne never made his kindness and charity a public calling card. Before becoming a superstar in Stagecoach (1939), Wayne was working like a […]

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Silent Star Alma Rubens: “I am a Dope Fiend But Not a Jewess!”

Tweet Many persons who have followed my career on the screen and stage mistake me for a Jewess. This belief perhaps was strengthened when I married Ricardo Cortez, my third husband, the only one I ever really loved, and whom I am now trying to divorce. Although I didn’t find it out until almost a […]

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Silent Star Esther Ralston: Why Do All My Husbands Want to Kill Me? Part III

Tweet To read Part I, please click here. To read Part II, please click here. Broke, with her second marriage in shambles, and blacklisted by studio boss L.B. Mayer — Esther wouldn’t trade amorous favors for movie roles — Esther Ralston flees to New York in 1939 to rebuild her shattered career.

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Silent Star Esther Ralston: Why Do All My Husbands Want to Kill Me? Part II

Tweet Part I here. Esther Ralston was blessed with a lovely, melodic voice, thus it’s something of a puzzle why Paramount dropped Esther’s option in 1929. Esther was a rising star who, between 1924 and 1929, starred or co-starred in twenty-five films. She was a natural for talkies. But the mystery is soon cleared up […]

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Silent Star Esther Ralston: Why Do All My Husbands Want to Kill Me? Part I

Tweet They called her, the American Venus. She lived in a Hollywood mansion with a staff of servants. Her chauffeur drove a limited edition limousine. But she ended her days in a trailer park in Ventura, California.

Also posted in Book Reviews, Esther Ralston, Glamour, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, Silent Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Responses

The Lion’s Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War

Tweet This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades. —Cairo’s radio station “Voice of Thunder” in the tense weeks preceding the Six Day War. Jewish history does not exist in the past. It is in the here and now. When […]

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John Wayne: American

Tweet Scott Eyman’s superb new biography, “John Wayne: The Life and Legend” is an exhaustive look at Wayne’s long life and career as Hollywood’s most iconic star. Eyman points out time and again that Duke—no one called him John, Jack, or his birth name, Marion—was not just Hollywood’s greatest star, but a symbol of America […]

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A Beautiful Mind in Marin County

Tweet The other day, a friend from shul told me that he feels like giving up. “Reading your blog post about the countless gender choices on Facebook,” said my friend, “made me realize that my grandchildren won’t be shocked at this craziness. To them, it will be normal. And that is sick. It feels like […]

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Barbara Stanwyck’s Secrets

Tweet The new Barbara Stanwyck biography, A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel True, 1907 – 1940 by Victoria Wilson, is, with appendix, footnotes, index and acknowledgements, over 1,000 pages long. And it is just volume one. This first, full scale bio of Barbara Stanwyck is an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) study of Hollywood’s greatest actress. […]

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Ava Gardner Does Not Grow Old

Tweet In 1988, only two years before her death, Ava Gardner, living in semi-seclusion in London, unable to get work, and running dangerously low on funds, asked the late British author Peter Evans to ghostwrite her autobiography. Deadpanned Gardner: “I either write the book or sell the jewels, and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.” […]

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“Like Dreamers” Yossi Klein Halevi’s Masterful Book About The Soul of Modern Israel

Tweet   There was a time when Seraphic Secret was afraid of Yossi Klein Halevi. Flashback: High School. The mid-sixties. Brooklyn Talmudical Academy. Seraphic Secret was a less than enthusiastic student who was forever cutting classes in order to go to the movies and acquire the education I really wanted. Yossi Klein Halevi was one […]

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In The Courtyard of the Kabbalist

Tweet All great movies are, at the core, love stories. And it follows that all great novels are also love stories. And it is for this reason that novels written by Orthodox Jews about Orthodox Jews have been noticeably absent even with the astonishing modern rise of Orthodoxy in North America and Israel. How is […]

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The Centurions: The Prophetic Vision of Jean Lartéguy

Tweet In 1960, The Centurions, a French novel of Indo-China (Vietnam) and the Algerian insurgency, by Jean Lartéguy (b. Jean Pierre Lucien Osty), a highly decorated soldier and journalist, was a blockbuster in France. The book, a brilliant portrait of those who fight a nation’s dirty little wars, and the craven political class who command them, men […]

Also posted in Islam, Islamic Terror | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Responses

Putting the Cool In Coolidge

Tweet Yesterday, Congress passed a bill which will: 1. Increase taxes on everyone. 2. Increase the national debt. 3. Increase the size of government. The politicians are slapping themselves on the back, boasting that they have avoided the so-called fiscal cliff. But what they have really done is place America on the road to serfdom. […]

Also posted in Barack Hussein Obama, Calvin Coolidge, China, Economy | Tagged , , , , | 24 Responses
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