Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Old Hollywood: Lady Blue Eyes & Rin Tin Tin

Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank by Barbara Sinatra
Reviewed by Nancy P.
Barbara Sinatra gives us a fabulous account of her life with icon Frank Sinatra.  It is full of surprises.  She relates the good and the bad of their lives during and after the Golden Age of movies and entertainment in the Fifties and Sixties and beyond.  Her stories of other popular entertainers of yesteryear are very interesting and make you want to keep the pages turning.  She isn’t “dishing dirt” in that her stories aren’t malicious or mean-spirited, but she does give some eye-opening moments. 
Of course, most of the book is about Frank Sinatra.  He had so many facets to his personality.  She deals with that in depth as well as with his legacy. She says he was the most romantic man she ever met, but admits that he had a temper, especially when he was drinking. His loyalty to his friends was legendary.   He touched so many lives.
If you’re a fan of “Old Hollywood,” the Rat Pack, the movie stars and entertainers, you’ll want to read Lady Blue Eyes.

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean
Review by Jeanne
Before Lassie, there was Rin Tin Tin.  If ever there was a canine Cinderella story, this was it.
It all began during World War I in France.  American serviceman Lee Duncan was patrolling a bombed-out German encampment when he spotted a concrete building.  When he investigated, he found it was a kennel where the German canine corps had been housed.  It had been hit by shells; dead dogs were everywhere.  As he picked his way through the debris, he heard a whimper and discovered a German shepherd dog with five puppies who had survived.  An orphan himself, Lee was drawn to these shell-shocked dogs.  He found a home for the mother and three of the puppies, keeping two for himself.  He became their devoted guardian.  He named the puppies after doll good luck charms that the French children sold to the troops:  Nadine and Rin Tin Tin.
Lee didn’t know just how much of a good luck charm he had.  He soon found out.
Even if you don’t remember watching Rinty himself, his influence on the way dogs were portrayed in movies was immense.  The dog himself was a charmer, and some reviewers felt he was a better actor than his human co-stars.  In fact, at one point Rin Tin Tin was the number one box office star.  He’s often been credited with saving Warner Brothers Studios from bankruptcy and later inspired the 1976 comedy  “Won Ton Ton:  The Dog Who Saved Hollywood.”
Dog lovers and movie buffs alike will enjoy this wonderful book. It’s a loving and fascinating look at a man and his dog, the early movie industry, and the bond between humans and animals.

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