Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks

Dick Cavett, foreword by Jimmy Fallon. Holt, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9977-5
A collection of work previously published as a part of Cavett’s New York Times online opinion column, these articles could easily fall under the heading of musings were they not so varied in content, topic, theme, and style. Some are biography, like Cavett’s account of a prank pulled when he was in high school (“I Owe William Jennings Bryan an Apology”). Others are pieces on such celebrities as Stan Laurel, Muhammad Ali, and John Lennon, told as only Cavett, both as a journalist and a celebrity himself, can. Still others are commentary, told with wit, such as “Should News Come with a Warning Label?” Given Cavett’s background hosting talk shows and doing TV interviews, it comes as no surprise that what holds these varied vignettes together is his conversational style. In fact, in many of these short works (some no more than five pages), like “Can You Stand Some More Stan?” about Stan Laurel, he seems to be carrying on a discussion with Laurel’s fans and detractors alike. Cavett’s showing off of his chops from the golden age of late night TV, focusing on people like Groucho Marx, Marlene Dietrich, Jonathan Winters, Tony Curtis, and Mel Brooks, gives everyone a chance to remember or to be introduced to these influential Hollywood and comedy stars. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 10/28/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-250-07075-3
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-8050-9978-2
Compact Disc - 7 pages - 978-1-4272-4425-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4272-4426-0
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