Paperback / softback
November 30, 2021
9780813153681
English
306
53 b&w illustrations
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1 Pounds (US)
$24.95 USD
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
November 30, 2021
9780813153841
English
306
53 b&w illustrations
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$24.95 USD
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
November 30, 2021
9780813153919
English
306
53 b&w illustrations
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$24.95 USD
v2.1 Reference

Rare Birds

An American Family

What does a writer do when he has a family that includes a blacklisted member of the Hollywood Ten, the brains behind Tony the Tiger and the Marlboro Man, a trio of gay puppeteers, the world's leading birdwatcher, 1960s hippies, a Dutch stowaway who served in an all-black regiment during the American Civil War, and a convicted murderer? He tells their stories and secrets, illuminating 150 years of American life along the way.

Dan Bessie begins the journey through his family history with his great-grandfather in the cargo hold of a ship bound for New York on the storm-tossed Atlantic. What follows are stories of his grandfather's various entrepreneurial schemes (including a folding butter box business), a grandmother who was voted "New York's prettiest shop girl" (and who resisted the recruitment efforts of various city madams), and his uncle Harry's Turnabout Theater in Los Angeles (a renowned puppet theater drawing patrons as diverse as Shirley Temple, Ray Bradbury, and Albert Einstein).

An extraordinary strain of creativity runs through the Bessie and Burnett clans, and Rare Birds celebrates the colorful diversity of this remarkable and accomplished family. While their choices and professions run the gamut of the American experience in the twentieth century, the history of the nation can be traced in these people's lives. Bessie's passionate birds of a feather gather to sing their unique song across decades and generations.

About the Author

Dan Bessie has been a film writer, director, producer, and animator since apprenticing on Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM in 1956. The author of Reeling Through Hollywood, he is also a screenwriting coach, book illustrator, and cartoonist.

Reviews

"What is remarkable is not only his voice—it is all in the practiced cadences of a born raconteur—but the number of interesting people he is related to. . . . Would make a great choice for discussion groups exploring family chronicles."—Booklist

"Bessie tells a great story in his memoir."—Family Tree Magazine

"One hundred and fifty years of American life are illuminated in the delightful family history of film writer, director, producer, and animator Bessie."—Library Journal

"Bessie's fascination with his extraordinary relatives has given life to these vivid family portraits."—Louisville Courier-Journal

"Certainly one of the more colorful collections of folks you'll encounter."—Marietta (OH) Times

"Examines good times and hard times with an understanding eye and an indulgent heart."—Movie Magazine International

"His breathless enthusiasm, sometimes maddening naïveté and flair for irony inform the entire memoir, as do the splendid family snapshots he has painstakingly assembled."—New York Times Book Review

"Spreading untidily across the country, producing capitalist moguls and card-carrying Communists, marrying, divorcing, coming out of the closet, keeping in touch and supporting each other when they chips are down, they remind me of the craziness of my own family and they will remind you of yours."—Prime Time (Santa Fe, NM)

"Bessie portrays his relatives—both famous and not—as striking examples of American individuality, ingenuity and creativity. . . . This heartfelt, warmly intelligent kaleidoscope of intimate portraits never glosses over the rough edges."—Publishers Weekly

"A fetching family history that showcases a multigenerational cast of passionate oddballs."—San Francisco Chronicle

 

9780813153681 : rare-birds-bessie
Paperback / softback
306 Pages
$24.95 USD
9780813153841 : rare-birds-bessie
Electronic book text
306 Pages
$24.95 USD
9780813153919 : rare-birds-bessie
Electronic book text
306 Pages
$24.95 USD

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