Underfoot in Show Business

Underfoot in Show Business It s a book about show business where fame is the stock in trade Each year there are hundreds of stagestruck kids arrive in New York determined to crash the theatre firmly convinced they re destined

It s a book about show business, where fame is the stock in trade Each year there are hundreds of stagestruck kids arrive in New York determined to crash the theatre, firmly convinced they re destined to be famous Broadway stars or playwrights.

  • [PDF] Underfoot in Show Business | by ¶ Helene Hanff
    112 Helene Hanff
Underfoot in Show Business

  1. Helene Hanff April 15, 1916 April 9, 1997 was an American writer Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she is best known as the author of the book 84 Charing Cross Road, which became the basis for a play, teleplay, and film of the same name.Her career, which saw her move from writing unproduced plays to helping create some of the earliest television dramas to becoming a kind of professional New Yorker, goes far beyond the charm of that one book She called her 1961 memoir Underfoot in Show Business, and it chronicled the struggle of an ambitious young playwright to make it in the world of New York theatre in the 1940s and 1950s She worked in publicists offices and spent summers on the straw hat circuit along the East Coast of the United States, writing plays that were admired by some of Broadway s leading producers but which somehow never saw the light of day.She wrote and edited scripts for a variety of early television dramas produced out of New York, all the while continuing to try and move from being what she called one of the 999 out of 1,000 who don t become Noel Coward When the bulk of television production moved to California, her work slowly dried up, and she turned to writing for magazines and, eventually, to the books that made her reputation.First published in 1970, the epistolary work 84 Charing Cross Road chronicles her 20 years of correspondence with Frank Doel, the chief buyer for Marks Co a London bookshop, on which she depended for the obscure classics and British literature titles around which her passion for self education revolved She became intimately involved in the lives of the shop s staff, sending them food parcels during England s post war shortages and sharing with them details of her life in Manhattan.Due to financial difficulties and an aversion to travel, she put off visiting her English friends until too late Doel died in December 1968 from peritonitis from a burst appendix, and the bookshop eventually closed Hanff did finally visit Charing Cross Road and the empty but still standing shop in the summer of 1971, a trip recorded in her 1973 book The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.In the 1987 film of 84 Charing Cross Road, Hanff was played by Anne Bancroft, while Anthony Hopkins took the part of Frank Doel Anne Jackson had earlier played Hanff in a 1975 adaptation of the book for British television Ellen Burstyn recreated the role on Broadway in 1982 at the Nederlander Theater in New York City.She later put her obsession with British scholar Sir Arthur Quiller Couch to use in a book called Q s Legacy Other books include Apple of My Eye, an idiosyncratic guide to New York City, and A Letter from New York 1992 , which reprinted talks she gave on the BBC s Woman s Hour between 1978 and 1985.Hanff was never shy about her fondness for cigarettes and martinis, but nevertheless lived to be 80, dying of diabetes in 1997 in New York City The apartment building where she lived at 305 E 72nd Street has been named Charing Cross House in her honor A bronze plaque next to the front door commemorates her residence and authorship of the book.

482 Reply to “Underfoot in Show Business”

  1. This is actually Helene Hanff s first book, published in 1961, a few years before she enchanted millions with her 84, Charing Cross Road It s an episodic account of her years as a struggling playwright on Broadway, leading to how she ended up writing for television, and it overlaps and never mentions the period of her famous correspondence with Frank Doel and his staff at the London antiquarian book shop We do meet a couple of friends who figure in 84, most significantly the irrepressible and in [...]

  2. As usual I had a great time reading about Helene Hanff s life This time she chronicled her failure to make her mark on Broadway Her Oklahoma and Lord of the Rings anecdotes alone make this worth the read but there is something romantic about her devotion to the theatre that draws you in As well as being a Theatre Guild intern she worked as an assistant press agent, prop girl, outside reader and lots The stories of Helene and her actress best friend Maxine blagging their way into Broadway shows [...]

  3. Delightful and witty memoir of trying to make it in show business Especially good if you ve ever lived in NYC.

  4. UPDATE 27.12.15 While staying with my parents for Christmas, I rediscovered this book on their shelves and felt compelled to re read it It is just as much of a charming delight the second time around, as well as wonderfully easy to relate to some eighty odd years after events begin I firmly believe that Flanagan s Law applies outside the theatre.________________________________________________________________________This book is an absolute delight and several times caused me to commit the socia [...]

  5. There is just something about Helene s voice that makes her feel like my funniest friend She just knows her way around a good story While 84 Charing Cross Road will always be first in my Hanff heart, Underfoot in Show Business is a very close second and should not, NOT BY ANY MEANS, be out of print Hanff s stories about she and her friend Maxine struggling to make it as a playwright and actress respectively in 1940s Manhattan are just hilarious They make me profoundly nostalgic for that time per [...]

  6. Hanff is a gifted memoirist This book includes the timeline of 84, Charing Cross Road, which makes the story seem even personal as though the author is a friend writing you letters from an apartment smack in the middle of the NY writing scene She never gets a play produced, but she tells us about the journey without bitterness, happy to be writing, even if it is for television for a few years The chapter that reveals how she and her actress friend Maxine get into movies and plays for free is fu [...]

  7. This is a book that lifts the spirits Poverty there is, but also humour, beauty, outrageous behaviour and life in the raw, it s all there or is it Is Helene Hanff putting on a brave face for her readers and only telling us the funniest and least sordid bits of her life as a playwright, hack TV writer and all round back room girl in the industry aka showbiz A memoir and how to write manual combined, I have placed this book on the Essential Shelf and the five stars are twinkling like sirens to lea [...]

  8. Excellent, I am truly captivated by dear Helene These memoirs of her writing career were such a pleasure to read I laughed, and laughed again, how did she do it Well, this book highlights the genuine struggle she had in her chosen field, but she never seemed down She saw humour in all situations and had the right response for any situation Oh, how I wish she had written books There are some lovely anecdotes in here, and I will see Oklahoma in a whole new light now Thoroughly recommended to all. [...]

  9. Happened to be talking about how much I loved 84, Charing and a coworker overheard and proclaimed, Helene Hanff is my favorite author You must read Underfoot I ll bring it in tomorrow for you to read And she did and I read it that night Just love Hanff s sense of humor and her tales about the theater world.

  10. I loved 84, Charing Cross Road, so I was excited to discover this memoir by the same author Helene Hanff has written an immensely entertaining and insightful account of her years spent as a would be playwright in New York in the 1940s Times have obviously changed a great deal since then, so this book doesn t have much practical application for writers But if you think you might enjoy a delightful slice of life account of a young woman trying to make it in 1940s New York, you re in for a real tre [...]

  11. I can t remember when I read this but I know I have and I know loved it I ve read all six of Helene Hanff s books, all autobiographical in style I must hunt them out from where they re hiding on my shelves and reread them all.

  12. I love the way Helene Hanff writes and I adored 84 Charring Cross Road, which is why I am reading through all of the books written by Hanff.This one is interesting in that it is a memoir, albeit, she skips over HUGE parts of her life, but still, this is a fun and addicting read.I have always said that reviewing a memoir is tricky since you end up reviewing both the writing style AND the content As mentioned, love the writing style but Helene not so much I have heard many positive things about th [...]

  13. Is it possible to be friends with someone who has been dead for over a decade I hope so because I really want to be friends with Helene Hanff This is my second Hanff book and I am loving her very witty, sarcastic and definitely ahead of her time voice I actually ordered the Helene Hanff Omnibus a fancy word for collection from overseas because I couldn t get it here and I am working my way through her complete works I first fell in love with her book 84 Charing Cross Road new bucket list item ge [...]

  14. Helene Hanff s 84 Charing Cross Road is one of my all time favourite reads, and I have toyed with the idea of reading it s successor,The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street,from time to time,but have never come across a copy Following my belated conversion to the internet,I was reminded of this recently and decided to see if it was available on The only way it was obtainable,was to buy The Helene Hanff Omnibus,which contains five of her books, and when I received my copy, I decided to read them in chro [...]

  15. Underfoot in Show Business, by Helen Hanff, author of 84, Charing Cross Road I liked this little book enough to read it a couple of times Originally meant to be a memoir it now reads like a history or one woman s history of theater in New York in the 1940s and 50s when the Theater Guild ruled supreme and kids could still become stars As a wannabe playwright, Ms Hanff finally found her footing in television when programs like the Hallmark Hall of Fame were sent out live.It s charming, witty and [...]

  16. It was with a real sense of grief that I finished this book, the last of those written by Hanff that I had yet to read and the first written by her I first learned about Hanff after happening upon a Saturday afternoon showing of the movie 84, Charing Cross Road with Anne Bancroft It was such a charming story and I did not know until then that it was a true story written by an author I had never of Since then I have savored each of Hanff s books because there are only 6 Hanff is the classic New Y [...]

  17. Charming early memoir of life in the theater scene and then in the early days of television writing by the author of 84, Charing Cross Road.

  18. The problem with finding a new author you love who happens to be deceased is that you know he or she won t be producing any books for you to read The problem if that author is Helene Hanff is that she only wrote five memoir books, and another book that collects the transcripts of some radio program she did Totally unfair, I say I only discovered Hanff a few weeks ago and have already sped through three of her six books, and it makes me sad to think there are only three left to go This was a de [...]

  19. This is a lovely book A life well lived and so entertainly presented Hanff is so funny about her adventures as an aspiring playwright with oodles of writing chops but no talent for plot She s one of the first in the door writng for television and ultimately discovers her best material her own life Her best friend Maxine is a hoot Loved her books 84, Charing Cross Road and Apple of My Eye in fact must reread the latter Loved the New York Setting Wish I had known her.

  20. This is a memoir of someone who was living my ideal life, knocking around 1940 s New York City with her eccentric actress best friend, trying to write plays and never succeeding but having a whale of a time anyway I finished this book and immediately reserved another book of hers from the library Helene Hanff is witty and self deprecating and always manages to wrap her anecdotes into neat little packages, whether that s her bizarre, elderly neighbour becoming her landlady, or that time she had t [...]

  21. Helene Hanff s memoir of her attempts to become a Broadway playwright, which lead to a lucrative career as a television writer Very funny I especially love the story of the Theatre Guild, where Helene is working as a publicist making one last ditch effort after years and years of flops they open an opera , for which Helene does not even bother to attend the opening, since the out of town reviews have been so terrible Resigned to her pending unemployment, she goes to bed early, as the opening bar [...]

  22. Someone I think it was Hanff s neice recently wrote in the newspaper that anyone who doubts the authencity of Smash and that would exclude should read this book If you enjoy The Egg and I, don t mind the slightly breathless style of Poppy Cannon and other female magazine writers of the mid 20th century, and are not offended by gal pals who begin letters to each other with Dear Heart and Doll , then there shouldn t be anything to keep you from having a good time with this quick read.

  23. my only regret of reading this is that I didn t read it years ago I think I ve found a new creative hero, although I m sure Ms Hanff would laugh at that The stories she tells about trying to make it as a playwright on Broadway in the 40 s and 50 s aren t dated in the least bit, because there s always the underlying message of loving what you do is its own reward I would have dearly loved to have met this woman, or even just followed her around for a day or so She s an inspiration with a sense of [...]

  24. I don t have much interest in the theater world, but I loved 84, Charing Cross Road so I jumped on this one when I spotted it in a local used shop Hanff s breezy style seems to make just about anything funny, whether it s meeting producers, wrangling agents, or just telling stories about daily life.This is a quick read, and very worth the time.

  25. A lot of fun to read The author recounts her experiences as a stage struck young woman trying to make a living in the New York theatre world during the 1950s Hanff describes the miserably paid jobs, the boarding houses, the summer camps, and the eccentric characters she meets with a light touch and a lot of humor She and her best friend, struggling actress Maxine, do their best to enjoy life in the city on a budget so small it is effectively 0.00.

  26. Five stars means amazing and I am amazed I awarded this book five stars After reading 84, Charing Cross road for my book club last month, I purchased four of Helene s we re on a first name basis now books I am not a devotee of the theatre or show business but her anecdotes, such as the review of the opening of Oklahoma are priceless Helene is on my list of the 10 Souls I Want to Meet in Heaven That was our book club selection for this month.

  27. Columbus dispatch said If you need cheering up this is it I couldn t agree This is a funny memoir about author Helene Hanff trying to make it in the theater You can read this book in an afternoon and will feel lighter when you ve finished I loved 84 Charing Cross Road I loved this book even .

  28. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with this I loved 84 Charing Cross Road Duchess of Bloomsbury so much, that I just don t think this had a chance It was lovely to re visit Helene s world and hear about her early battles in playwriting, but I did find myself skimming some of the minutiae.

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