Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley by Jeffrey Spivak

by Gwen




Buzz Berkeley was born to be in the theater. He was born to actors, Frank Enos and Gertrude Berkeley, and his mother was determined to keep him away from a stage career.

With no acting credits and absolutely no dance training he burst forth as a dance director shortly a few roles post service in World War I. His mother found herself unable to keep her boy off of the stage, but was never far from his side. His story is one that Hollywood dreams were made of at the time. Sam Goldwyn came calling in 1930 and the first picture he worked on for them was WHOOPEE!.

At the time, movie musicals were stale and outdated, but with a touch of the Buzz magic, they came alive. Most credit Berkeley with saving and then recreating a whole new genre of the movie musical. The book is heavy into his technique and art, but pretty light when it comes to fleshing out the picture of just who Busby Berkeley was as a man. If you are a lover of musicals, this is the book for you.

My one wish is that I could have gotten to know more about him, what he really thought about his drinking, his many many marriages, his being put on trial almost three times for vehicular manslaughter. It was is viewing Buzz from a far and only being able to see the magical numbers he created for the screen.


Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley by Jeffrey Spivak

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813126436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813126432
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    11 Comments to “Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley by Jeffrey Spivak”

    1. I’m struck by the incredible breadth of knowledge your reading gives you. Do you remember/retain info from all these books? If so, you’re up to speed on topics and people I know absolutely nothing about. Bet you’re an amazing party guest!!

    2. LOL, my dad says that I know a bit about everything and a lot about nothing. I choose take that as a compliment and do use it to bump up conversations at parties:)

    3. It sounds really interesting. I’ve never heard of him.

      About your comment a my place, we told my mom the same thing after someone gave her a blue and white snowman cookie jar and she went out and got all blue decorations and table settings for her kitchen! But hey, if you do red all year it’s a nice time to change it up, bring some East Coast winter to sunny/foggy Cali!

    4. I’ve been looking for something fresh to read, but I always need pictures (I’m grown up like that), so this sounds terrific. Our public library is sorely wanting for this sort of read, but thankfully the interns who do most of the request taking sneak stuff to the top of the stack for me, so I stand a chance. Merry Christmas to you and Art and family (two and four legged).

    5. This seems like a great read

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