(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“…unlike the warriors’ Valkyrie, the Hollywood version didn’t let you know that you were going to die immediately; you were baited, strung along, and then let down to die a slow, lingering death. And like every actor, you would keep telling yourself that success was just around the next bend, but it would be just more empty tracks.”
“Typecasting doesn’t really hit you all at once; it works on you slowly and subtly, eroding your spirit as you sit by the phone, waiting for the callback that never comes.”
That may sound like the usual negative take on Hollywood, but actor Ken Osmond, the original Eddie Haskell from the 1957-1964 “Leave it to Beaver” television series, calls it like he sees it. However, in his autobiography, Eddie: The Life and Times of America’s Preeminent Bad Boy, written with Christopher J. Lynch (author of One Eyed Jack) , Osmond is remarkably positive about his experiences and what he has learned from them.
While working as a police officer on the LAPD, he was mistaken for the well-endowed porn star, John Holmes. On a more serious note, he faced two near-death experiences while on duty with the LAPD that triggered PTSD.
At the end of each chapter are trivia questions and answers. At first I thought this was a dumb idea, but after a few chapters I really enjoyed and looked forward to them.
What I particularly enjoy about this book are the details of television history and how it relates to current events and American culture. By 1953, 45% of households had television sets and TV was an escape mechanism for American families. Even though Eddie Haskell’s character was off the air in 1964, the legend never faded. Ask Alice Cooper.
I’m usually hesitant about reading celebrity autobiographies, or any autobiography on a living person for that matter. Many tend to include uninteresting fillers and/or are flooded with self-pity for situations that most of us have faced in our past. Not this one. Eddie flows and isn’t bogged down with boring details.
Yes, Eddie will appeal to a niche audience. However, it will draw not only those who remember “Leave It to Beaver”, but also those who are fans of television history and American cultural history. Still not convinced of the significance of “Eddie Haskell” in our past and current day culture? Check out www.urbandictionary.com.