Friday, July 15, 2011


"Stories My Father Told Me - Notes From "The Lyons Den" compiled by Jeffrey Lyons Abbeville Press 351 pages I couldn't find a price; try

Leonard Lyons for 40 years wrote the anecdote column -- I say "anecdote" because Lyons didn't do who was sleeping with whom (unlike Walter Winchell) called "The Lyons Den" for a now-defunct NY newspaper. It appeared six days a week and that meant he had to hit the Stork Club, 21, the Latin Quarter, theaters every afternoon and evening.

The book is tidily divided by decades - the '30s, the '40s and the anecdotes often cover years of the person being exhibited.

Some gleaned tidbits -
* John Steinbeck's wife wouldn't allow him to fly; he had to take a train.
* George Burns played "Oh God" and didn't bother with make up. He remarked, "We're about the same age, but we were brought up in different neighborhoods."
* Noel Coward on trans-Atlantic travel: "I prefer to travel to New York on a French ship. They don't have that silly rule, 'Women and children first.'"

* When Harpo Marx went to a restaurant in Haifa and realized a neighboring table was celebrating a birthday, he pulled his curly wig out of his pocket, put it on, stuck a match under each fingernail, lit them and whistled "Happy Birthday."

If you like to smile or if you're curious about famous people, it's a very good book.

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