Sunday, June 25, 2006
Today’s offering is HOLLYWOOD HEROES byDavid Hofstede. In a way, it’s similar to the IMAGINARY PEOPLE book we covered recently. Instead of capsule histories of hundreds of characters, however, this one presents full chapters on only thirty and they aren’t necessarily imaginary. To be precise, HOLLYWOOD HEROES covers:
12-Joan of Arc
14-Captain James T. Kirk
16-The Lone Ranger
30-Zorro As with any endeavor of this type, it’s hard to argue with who was chosen but you wonder why other heroes weren’t. Where’s Doc Savage, for example? Sure, he only had one movie but he had a long run of pulp novels, a comic book and a radio series. Buckaroo Banzai, no disrespect intended, had one movie, one comic book adaptation, one aborted sequel and a never made TV series that hadn’t even been considered when this book came out in 1994. Certainly Audie Murphy was a real-life war hero (and another of my mother’s favorite movie stars) but, having appeared as himself in only one film, how does he rate over, say Roy Rogers? Roy’s inclusion, though, would have opened the whole B Western can of worms, wouldn’t it? Okay, then, how about the Mexican wrestling heroes? Surely "Hollywood" is not being used as a limiting term here as nearly all of the Hercules films listed are Italian!
As I said, it’s easy to kibitz. The content of the actual chapters makes for an interesting little summary of the characters’ on-screen incarnations, though. It's interesting to see, in the case of Patton for example, the other films in which the real-life general appeared besides the classic with George C. Scott. Watch out for occasional misinformation, however, such as the fact that the final Billy Jack movie went unreleased and is impossible to find. Hmmm…I saw it at the Florence Cinemas here in Kentucky back in 1978 (Lucie Arnaz was in it!) and I saw it a few weeks back on the DVD shelf at Best Buy! Overall, even though it would benefit from a few more pictures, HOLLYWOOD HEROES is a nice, breezy compilation of good guys and the films, series and TV movies they’ve appeared in. Just double check any "facts" you find in it before going on record.