Shooting the Breeze With Baby Boomer Stars!: Surprising Celebrity Conversations for the Retro Generation
Paperback: 338 pages
Publisher: Archway (October 2, 2018)
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton
From 2007 to 2015, I had the great pleasure of co-hosting an online radio show for KSAV.org where I interviewed a wide range of musicians, actors, and other entertainment insiders geared for Baby Boomer listeners.
One thing I learned is that if the interviewer is knowledgeable and pleasant and the interviewee is agreeable and warm, listeners interested in the celebrity in question will get a special audio treat.
Well, interviewer and writer Torchy Smith has created something of a personal industry
celebrating Baby Boomer stars where he too has shown how entertaining old entertainers can be if they can reminisce about their glory days with a friendly and informed interviewer.
In the case of his new book, Shooting the breeze, Smith offers a series of shortened interviews with many actors and actresses whose fame came mostly from roles on the small screen. They include most of the Mouseketeers, Angela and Veronica Cartwrite, Bill Mumy, Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, James Drury, Larry Matthews, Marion Ross, Anson Williams, Cindy Williams and many, many more.
Altogether, the stars describe a time of much greater innocence on television and the repeated complaints most feel about not getting residuals for their work. We hear how most of them found their way into often unexpected stardom and they tell many stories of what happened to them after their glory days. Woven throughout these conversations are Smith's personal commentary and insights that augment what the stars say about themselves and sheds a bit of light on the art of interviewing.
While giving readers online access points to some of his guests so we too can connect with some celebs, Smith makes many valid points as to why readers should read his book and not rely on what Google can provide. From personal experience, I can tell you Smith is correct when he says what much of what we can find online just simply isn't so.
Naturally, to be interested in this book, you got to be interested in television and film of the not-so-distant past and be curious about the faces and voices that made a stamp on your own life. Some interviews are probably going to be the reason you tried out this book, others may be with folks you're less familiar with. So Shooting the Breeze can be a cover-to-cover read for Baby Boomers or a skip around or skim some passages experience for you. Me, I was glad to get a peek into a lot of folks I don't remember as well as those I too had the pleasure to talk to. It's a warm and inviting read for all of us.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on March 16, 2019: