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Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into Hollywood    by Bathroom Readers' Institute order for
Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into Hollywood
by Bathroom Readers' Institute
Order:  USA  Can
Portable Press, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series offers tidbits of entertainment, perfect for delving into in brief timespans - whether listening to an audio version in the car, or seeking a brief diversion in the bathroom, or any other waiting situation. The back cover of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into Hollywood tells us this latest collection is 'devoted to the trials, triumphs, and trivia of Tinseltown.'

As well as the obvious focus on Actors and Actresses, the movies and the Oscars, readers are offered insider insights into Bats and Blood, Hollywood Goes to War, Scandals & Mysteries, Spooky Stuff, and Whoops (Box Office Bloopers). At the bottom of each page is a snippet of information, like the fact that Sean Connery worked as a coffin polisher before he became a movie star. There are occasional trivia quizzes for those who like to test their own knowledge, and regular interruptions of '"I Spy" at the movies' to tell us about stuff like the Easter eggs hidden on sets of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Did you know that the Wilhelm Scream is a regularly recycled sound effect, that John Wayne's illness and death might have been caused by radiation exposure while filming The Conqueror, that Arnold Schwarzenegger only had seventeen lines in the first Terminator movie, or that Uma Thurman went on a dessert-only diet for Pulp Fiction? Learn about canine stars, 'movies that are so bad, they're good', murderous machines (think Attack of the Killer Refrigerator), the origins of popcorn popping at the movies, and the truth behind 'Hollywood Physics' (cars don't necessarily burst into flames after falling off cliffs).

I enjoyed this latest offering from The Bathroom Readers' Hysterical Society, finding it worth the read for its Mae West quotes alone - 'When I'm good, I'm very good. But when I'm bad, I'm better.' Get yourself a copy and bone up on Tinseltown trivia in time for the Oscars - impress your colleagues at the water cooler and your family at the dinner table. After all, as John Huston said, 'Hollywood has always been a cage ... a cage to catch our dreams.'

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