View Edward Guthmann's profile

Confessions of a Recovering Film Critic by
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(22 Stories)

Prompted By Fame

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I never asked to be a movie critic. And yet it happened. People don’t believe me when I say this; they assume movie reviewing is such a plum job that I must have scrambled and hustled to get there. Not really. In 1991 I’d been working at the San Francisco Chronicle seven years when the…
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The Day I Met Lucille Ball by
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(22 Stories)

Prompted By Fame

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I’d heard how tough and intimidating Lucille Ball could be, but on the day I interviewed her at her home in Beverly Hills she was warm, unguarded and down-to-earth. It felt like hanging out with a favorite aunt. Lucy picked up quickly on the fact that I was a fan, and since I was young…
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My Brother Dan by
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(22 Stories)

Prompted By Birth Order

/ Stories

Compared to most mid-century couples, my parents married very late. Dad was 34, Mom 29, and they figured they had no time to waste in starting a family. My brother Danny, born August 25, 1949, came first, and for a brief time he reigned unchallenged, the celebrated prince. For Dad, it was a long-deferred dream…
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Don’t Cry for Me, West Covina by
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(22 Stories)

Prompted By My Hometown

/ Stories

January 1, 1955. My father is watching the Rose Bowl on television. It’s freezing in Chicago that day, but bright and glorious in Pasadena where Ohio State trounces USC. Everyone looks happy, healthy. “Wouldn’t it be nice to raise these boys in California, where the sun shines all year long?” my dad asks my mother.…
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The Hope Sisters by
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(22 Stories)

Prompted By Aunts & Uncles

/ Stories

The more I got to know my aunts the more I appreciated the ways they’d survived a childhood that, for all its adventure and exoticism, was marked by long separations and displacement.
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The Year I Played in “Oliver!”: A Stage Debut by
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(22 Stories)

Prompted By Dreams

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With a beginner’s naïveté, I wrote a letter to the producer Danny Dare and told him why he should cast me: “Dear Mr. Dare, I live in West Covina and I’m a talented actor. I can do an excellent English accent and I can sing. You should cast me in Oliver!”
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Libraries and Me: A Lifetime Love Affair by
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(22 Stories)

Prompted By Libraries

/ Stories

My relationship with libraries is deep and affectionate, and I feel a strong sense of offended justice when I see library books that people have defaced or underlined or otherwise mistreated. What’s even worse is people who check out books and never return them.
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My Aunt Rollie: Loving, Uncompromising and Part Prussian General by
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(22 Stories)

Prompted By Aunts & Uncles

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She isn’t happy when her brothers marry non-Jewish women, and predictably takes a dim view of her son Donald’s tall, blonde girlfriend Sallie. One afternoon Sallie serves meat loaf, mashed potatoes and a simple green salad. Rollie is polite during the meal, but when Donald and Sally leave the room she asks me, "So what’d you think of that?” “Oh, it was fine,” I answer. "I call that Shiksa food,” she says.
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The Remarkable, Audacious Miss Jackson by
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(22 Stories)

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Mame’s language ranges from bawdy to downright filthy to an ornate elegance that can entertain or intimidate. She adores words, and language has a cascading musical quality coming from her. A boring lecture doesn’t cause her to lose interest but rather “assassinates my enthusiasm.” And instead of saying “I’m full” following a heavy meal, Mame announces, “I’ve been gourmandizing myself for an hour and I’m fully saturated.”
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Becoming a Journalist — Lightning Rod or Seismograph? by
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(22 Stories)

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I wanted to capture the roaring, rude dynamism of the late ‘60s and early '70s, a world in flux – not as it appeared from a distance to a disinterested newsman, but as someone immersed in the zeitgeist.
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