I wish this was MY Hollywood memoir!
I envy Donnie Norden. And if you've an appreciation for the backlots of yore, you'll envy him too. He explored them. He occupied them. He lived in them and -- thank heavens -- photo-documented them. A hellbent kid who was expert at gaining entry into these off limits places whose sets, props and locales were known to moviegoers and television viewers around the world. Donnie, sometimes alone and sometimes with his group of adventurous kindred spirits, were relentless in their mission. His heartfelt memories are as exciting as they are mournful. As a devotee of the Forty Acres backlot history (RKO, Desilu), I damn near cried reading his first return visit to the lot after a fire had destroyed key Mayberry sets. There's much to be found here. It's personal, it's a historical record, it's fun and most of all, it's genuine. Donnie loved those backlots and it's clearly evident on every page of this fascinating and unique book. This isn't a research work or scholarly take on Hollywood. It's Donnie and his like-minded friends having the time of their lives. Oh, how I wish I was there with them. I look forward to future volumes. Available via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Backlots-Presents-Hole-Fence/dp/0578316048 404pgs. $25.99 - Tim Ferrante