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The Entertainer by Margaret Talbot

The Entertainer (2012)

by Margaret Talbot

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I highly recommend this book for Lyle Talbot fans and for fans of the Golden age of Hollywood. Being a huge classic movie lover I could not wait to read this book. A perfect blend of biography, memoir and history of the time period. Very well written and well researched. This book deserves a place in a classic film buffs collection. ( )
  Altarasabine | May 9, 2014 |
Excellent treatment of entertainment and film through an entertainer who was there. ( )
  bookweaver | May 1, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Affectionate biography by Margaret Talbot of her father, actor Lyle Talbot. Nicely written, and contains more than just the facts of Talbot's life. In addition to the story of Lyle Talbot, this is also a story of America during the 20th century.
  owlie13 | Mar 19, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Margaret Talbot has written not only a lively biography of her father the actor Lyle Talbot,but also a breezy and entertaining history of American theater, movies and television during the 20th century. This book should be on the must-read list of anyone interested in the evolution of American entertainment. ( )
  dleona | Mar 1, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Entertainer by The New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot is a biography of her father, actor Lyle Talbot. Talbot is perhaps best known for his work in early 1930's films for Warner Brothers or his role as the neighbor on the 1950s sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. While Talbot never really achieved stardom, he did have quite a prolific career (take a lengthy scroll through his IMDb credits to verify this) in a variety of mediums.

In detailing her father's life and career, Margaret Talbot's book sways between a look at one man and an overview of the entertainment industry as a whole throughout the twentieth century. Her focus progresses from carnivals to traveling theater groups to early Hollywood 'talkies' to Saturday matinee serials to television. We also visit the habits of traveling salesmen, the evolution of celebrity fan clubs, and the rise of mid-century suburban life, among other topics.

While the sheer amount of material covered could make for a scattered and rambling study, The Entertainer progresses quite naturally from start to finish. Much of this is due to Margaret Talbot's writing style, which is conversational and interesting throughout. One would imagine that a book about a little-known actor with a career filled with bit parts would appeal to a small audience. But the end product is something that rises above your standard filmography to an entertaining survey of pop-cultural history that could be enjoyed by any number of tastes. ( )
  llamagirl | Jan 23, 2013 |
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In loving memory of Paula Talbot
And for her grandchildren: Dash, Caitlin, Joe,
Nat, Gabriel, Grace, Eva, Ike, and Lucy,
who would have made her heart sing
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The boy grew up in a hotel for traveling salesmen across the street from the train station in a very small town.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Using the life and career of her father, writer Margaret Talbot tells the story of the rise of popular culture through a personal lens. The arc of Lyle Talbot's career is in fact the story of American entertainment. Born in 1902, Lyle left small-town Nebraska in 1918 to join a traveling carnival. From there he became a magician's assistant, an actor in a traveling theater troupe, a romantic lead in early talkies, then an actor in major Warner Bros. pictures, then an actor in cult B movies, and finally a part of the advent of television, with regular roles on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver. In her impeccably researched narrative--a combination of Hollywood history, social history, and family memoir--Margaret Talbot conjures warmth and nostalgia for those earlier eras of '10s and '20s small-town America, '30s and '40s Hollywood.--From publisher description.… (more)

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