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Papa, Play for Me: The Autobiography of Mickey Katz [Paperback]

By Mickey Katz, Hannibal Coons, Joel Grey (Foreward By) & Josh Kun (Introduction by)
Our Price $ 19.51  
Retail Value $ 22.95  
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Item Number 93537  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   191
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 17, 2002
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819564338  
EAN  9780819564337  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Mickey Katz (1909 - 1985), a Jewish comedian and musician, is best known for his parodies -- "Theme from Moulin Rouge (Where is My Heart)" became "Where is My Pants?", "(How Much is that) Doggie in the Window" became "Pickle in the Window" -- incorporating Yiddish words and accents. His very first English-Yiddish recording, "Haim afen Range," was an instant hit and he went on to record ninety singles and ten albums for RCA and Capitol. Father of performer Joel Grey and grandfather of actress Jennifer Grey, Mickey Katz's irreverent blend of Jewish story-telling, vaudeville routines, African-American jazz, Jewish klezmer and popular dance band music have had a lasting impact on American culture. In this rollicking autobiography, first published in 1977 and reissued here with a new introduction, the King of the Borscht Capades talks frankly about politics, music, family, identity and show business.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Entertaining  Nov 1, 2003
Unlike previous reviewers here, I did not find this book either side-splitting or hilarious in any way. I never laughed out loud once. But I enjoyed the book because Mickey Katz came across as a warm person who cared deeply about his family, good music, and genuinely entertaining people in the manner they wished to be entertained. A conservative group would get a show tailored to them. A Las Vegas audience would get a show tailored to them. He was concerned for others always, especially his audiences. He always wanted them to get their money's worth.

I was raised to think of Mickey Katz just as a Jewish comedian. I had no idea he was such an accomplished musician and showman. But his pride in his own accomplishments was dwarfed by his pride in his children's accomplishments, pride that was equally split between his two sons, one being the actor Joel Gray and the other being one of the founders of Telecredit.

Mickey Katz was my father's cousin, and I must admit that I bought the book looking for clues to my own father's life. I got something different, but something good nonetheless.

If your taste runs to the heartwarming autobiography, this is it.

Side splitting funny ! ! !  Jul 16, 2002
Its great to see this book back in print... I must have read it over 18 years ago... it was hillarious then, and its just as funny now... I dare say almost as funny as those old 45's of his I grew up listening to. In fact, I'm happy that a "Greatest Hits" CD has been released, but it made me miss all those other 45s that I borrowed from my father's collection (and seem to have been borrowed back - - I can't find them !)

Mickey Katz was a brilliant story teller... the book is packed with jokes and anecdotes - - even a bit of off risque humor here and there... and you can almost hear him talking in that nasal half all American/half Yiddish accent.

Of course, someone had to bring it up to date... Josh Kun offers a "serious" and scholarly social commentary on the significance of Mickey Katz in Jewish society and American life. - - (Insightful, but Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....) once Mickey Katz steps in though, get ready for an incredible read... if you grew up in a traditional Jewish family, it'll bring back not only memories, but make you laugh your tookus off... and if you didn't... its still hillarious - - from stories of traditional Mexican musicians in Sombreros playing Klezmor when Mickey Katz's Yiddish parody of Tico Tico actually made him a Latin celebrity, to the story about the guy in the audience at the Jean Harlow show's with the rain coat who'd put on a show of his own...

Overall, this is one of those can't put down, laugh outloud books... (Wish he left some video footage behind... to the best of my knowledge he only appeared briefly in one film... playing clarinet for about 7 seconds in Thoroughly Modern Millie.)


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