Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Books

‘TV Inside-Out: Flukes, Flakes, Feuds and Felonies’ (review)

Written by Randy West
Published by BearManor Media

 

Randy West is, to me, a professional announcer. One doesn’t normally think of announcers as authors, let alone authors of 500-page books, and yet here we are with Randy West’s 500-page volume, TV Inside-Out. The book is subtitled “Flukes, Flakes, Feuds and Felonies (no Oxford Comma) and the cover even adds, “The backstage blunders, bloopers and blasphemy of celebrities in search of success.”

It’s a very messy cover, too, with an odd mix of famous folks. The book is messy like that, too. But here’s the weird part. It all works!

Putting its numerous typos and misspellings aside, TV Inside-Out is a rambling, stream-of-consciousness conversation about stories you’ve almost heard before and people you’ve known for years, whether or not you knew it.

And conversation is the right word. Randy’s writing style, even on some dicey subjects, is inviting and friendly, drawing the reader in for endlessly fascinating behind-the-scene gossip and hearsay. A chapter will start out about one person but that will lead to a certain TV show, which leads to another person, then another, then another show…and all of it riveting.

If the book has an overarching theme—and I’m not sure it does, or even should—it’s game shows. Randy’s personal backstory with game shows provides numerous anecdotes that make you feel as if you know old friends a little better. These anecdotes aren’t always positive, either. Gene Rayburn, Bob Barker, Johnny Olsen, Mark Goodson, Louie Anderson, Ray Combs, Betty White, and others are all seen in somewhat different lights than usual.

It’s not just game shows, though. Among the other big players in the book, we get close-up looks at: Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Patty Duke, James Aubrey, Tina Louise, Sheldon Leonard, Johnny Carson, Jerry Lewis, Joan Rivers, Dave Garroway, Florence Henderson, Jack Cassidy, Dorothy Kilgallen, Danny Kaye, the Cowsills, Judy Garland, Ronnie Schell, Jay Leno, Redd Foxx, Desi Arnaz, Ethel Merman, Rose Marie, David Letterman, and, again, others.

In nearly every case, the stories—good and bad—were new to me. Are they all true? Who knows? That’s the way it is with good gossip. Randy never knew some of these people. He got many of his anecdotes second-hand in those cases. Or third-hand. When he did get them directly from someone, it was often years after they supposedly occurred.

But to dwell on that sort of thing isn’t the point. TV Inside-Out has biographical parts about Randy but it isn’t a memoir. It has historical information but it isn’t a history. This book, as I said, makes you feel like you’re just chillin’ on your porch, kickin’ back some soft drinks (or whatever), and talking with the very personable raconteur that is Randy West.

Booksteve recommends.

 

 

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

DISCLAIMER

Forces of Geek is protected from liability under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and “Safe Harbor” provisions.

All posts are submitted by volunteer contributors who have agreed to our Code of Conduct.

FOG! will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement.

Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content.

SOCIAL INFLUENCER POLICY

In many cases free copies of media and merchandise were provided in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. The opinions shared on Forces of Geek are those of the individual author.

You May Also Like

Books/Comics

Written by Scott Snyder  Art by Tula Lotay Presented by Best Jackett Press Published by Dark Horse Comics   Barnstormers: A Ballad of Love...

Books/Comics

Written by Roberto Recchioni  Art by Werther Dell’Edera Covers by Gigi Cavenago Published by DC Comics   So, this was a lot better than...

News

“Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back!” For the first time ever, all episodes from the classic TV series are brought together in one set...

Movies

creatorvc, the team behind smash-successes Aliens Expanded and In Search of Darkness. have announced the development of their most ambitious documentary yet: The Thing...