Book Reviews

THERE’S MEL ,THERE’S WOODY, AND THERE’S ME

By • Jun 24th, 2010 •

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For every lightbulb and Kleig light in Hollywood there is a story to go along with how that light was lit, as well as how it dimmed and went out altogether. In the case of wunderkind Bruce Kimmel, as one light began to dim, he reached into his imagination and screwed another one in its place.

Bruce has been a good friend of mine for a number of years, yet I really didn’t know all that much about his background until now. My first memory of Bruce had to be a cover of ‘Films and Filming’ magazine which paid tribute to THE FIRST NUDIE MUSICAL, written and directed by Mr. Kimmel – and by the way, did I mention he acts in it as well. This was all well before we actually met, so I was not influenced by anything the first time I saw it at the Fox theater on Hollywood Blvd.

Bruce then endeared himself to me forever by writing another film entitled THE CREATURE WASN’T NICE, featuring one of my heros, Patrick MacNee, the immortal John Steed of THE AVENGERS, my all time favorite series in the world. One of the songs from that film, “I Want To Eat Your Face,” has been a favorite since I heard it, and became very useful in courtship rituals of mineā€¦but I digress. Bruce, as you can imagine, is something of a renaissance man in an era where they are increasingly hard to find. He acts, writes novels, directs plays, and oversees a successful business that brings joy and laughter to all of us that love the musical theater, so as you can imagine he has very few straight friends.

Now on to the book itself… which I read in one sitting because it is a well written book that flows from one page to the next with more famous names than there are “raisins in a fruitcake,” to quote from the jacket reviews.

The author himself advised me, in his dedication, that I would most likely know most of the people he would be writing about anyway. Well he was right about that in spades. Except for the early years, when nobody famous knew him but his parents, I recognized somebody from my past on every page. Now don’t get the wrong idea that this book would only be of interest to me, because if you love show business and the musical theater at all, you will find yourself hopelessly caught up in the life and times of this unique little guy, who approaches life like it was a sitcom where things always seem to fall into place for our hero by the final fadeout.

Did I mention that Bruce is two years older than me? Well he is, and it shows on every page as he describes, for example, his time playing the next-door neighbor to the now legendary PARTRIDGE FAMILY. I especially like the photo of our hero with hair, deep in conversation with the terminally cute David Cassidy in the book’s ample photo galley. Bruce seemed to have it all during this period, with a high profile on television and his foot in the door to episodic immortality. Then it all seemed to go south for a while, and our hero did what all heros worth their salt do – he reinvented himself. However, to find out just how all this worked out you must go online and buy a copy of this book and read it for yourself.

For me this was a ride worth taking, as I feel I know Bruce Kimmel in a way that simply would never have happened otherwise. After all we are basically two people far too into ourselves to ever find this sort of biography out, unless one or the other of us writes a book. Which, as it turns out, is just what happened….

So Bruce, when you read this, and I know you will… please be kind, after all you will get a chance to review mine at the beginning of next year.

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