Music in My Heart and Borscht in My Blood: An Autobiography

Henry Tobias, Author Hippocrene Books $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-87052-457-8
Readers will enjoy this memoir by a renowned graduate of the Borscht Belt. Born in 1905 in Worcester, Mass., Tobias grew up writing songs with his brothers Charlie and Harry, and later composed on his own hits that include ""Miss You'' and ``I Remember Mama.'' But the book centers on the author's years as a social director at resorts, where he was toomler, Yiddish for fool or noisemaker. At Grossinger's and other Catskill inns, the toomler worked day and night to keep guests busy and happy. When it rained, the social director wasn't allowed to use an umbrella to convince guests that a raging storm was ``a slight shower.'' There are rich anecdotes about Moishe Miller before he became opera star Robert Merrill, Jerome Levitch (Jerry Lewis), David Kaminsky (Danny Kaye) and other notables who trained on the Borscht Circuit. Tobias also tells unflattering tales about Mae West, Billy Rose and one of his bosses who made a career out of cheating everybody. Photos. (March)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Genre: Nonfiction
Discover what to read next