Monday, June 15, 2009

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: From the Secret Files of Harry Pennypacker

Michael B. Druxman
Wheatmark (2009)
ISBN 9781604941883
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (5/09)

Author Michael B. Druxman was fortunate enough to connect with Stuart Bloomberg, a young film maker who discovered files of deceased top newspaper columnist Harry Pennypacker. Bloomberg promised the stories were sensational and Druxman found they certainly were.  Inspired by the sensationalism and possible exposure of well-known Hollywood entities, Druxman compiled the stories into his book "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: From the Secret Files of Harry Pennypacker."

I was totally amazed at what "truths" came out about well-known legends such as Elvis, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, and others. Did you know in reality John Wayne, was not Marion Morrison but Mendel Skulnick? Yes, that's right.  According to Harry Pennypacker and his extensive knowledge of the Hollywood scene, Mendal Skulnick was John Wayne.  Mind you, Skulnick was nowhere near the size of The Duke but with prosthetics, padding and makeup he was able to emulate the figure we know as John Wayne.

And, did you know Elvis was…and James Dean didn't die young as we know it to be.  In reality he ….  Well, I'm actually not going to tell you what happened to these two; you'll just have to find out for yourself.

Druxman is a great storyteller, or is he?  Did he actually copy the stories that Pennybacker wrote?  Who knows, but, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: From the Secret Files of Harry Pennypacker" is a great read.  You'll laugh, you'll ponder, and you'll wonder. Are these truths? Embellished truths? Or, are they some stories concocted in the mind of Druxman.  You will have to decide for yourself.

Listen to interview on Inside Scoop Live
Read interview with Michael Druxman