Of All The Gin Joints
Man, how I loved this book! Of All The Gin Joints: Stumbling Through Hollywood History was an absolute pleasure to read. What I liked about it was the fact you really did learn about Hollywood History through one drinking story after another.
The premise of the book is pretty simple. Focusing on famous drinking stories or celebrities known to booze it up 24/7, you learn about those people, what the studios were doing, and how famous movies came about. Each story is only a couple pages long. They are accompanied by a drink recipe. Personally, I'm looking forward to trying a Shandy Gaff, a favorite of Cary Grant's. It is a combination of lager and ginger ale. Sidebars are included on famous Hollywood hangouts and their history. This really is a gem of a book.
The silent-era stories were probably the best. Maybe because Hollywood was much wilder in those days. I can't say for sure. How Hollywood came into being, and the geniuses who created it, I find fascinating. A lot of that history is really under the radar but it changed our world, though for better or worse can be argued.
I won't give it away but one of the best pranks I ever read about is in this book. Seems Errol Flynn never lost his sense of humor. Anthony Quinn found that out first hand. I also like the story about how Billy Wilder got the Sunset Boulevard script.
As funny as these stories were, many were hilarious, there were an equal number of devastating ones, and sometimes plain gross. (I will never think of Spencer Tracy the same again). If anything, this book can serve as a testament to how being a boozer can be a catalyst to the ruination of your life. It is a reminder that we all walk that fine line between having a good time and letting our vices control us.
Of All The Gin Joints is written by Mark Bailey, illustrated by Edward Hemingway. They did another similar book on booze and writers which I intend to order shortly. That should tell you how much I liked the first one. This is the type of book you don't have to get too invested in because the stories are short. A couple pages here. A couple pages there. Its more a form of relaxation than anything else. On the ratings scale, this scores a 5 of 5.