So Far, So Funny

My Life in Show Business


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About the Book

Hal Kanter first came to Hollywood at age 18 to work as the ghost writer for a comic strip. Then he heard an Eddie Cantor radio show and realized that he could write better jokes. Interestingly enough, Cantor’s writers agreed with him. Thus was born one of the more interesting and varied careers in Hollywood.
Kanter’s writing career went from radio shows to screenplays to television series. He worked with Bob Hope, Frank Capra, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. With an Emmy for writing The George Gobel Show, he was the creator of Julia. Though he enjoyed great success as a producer and director, Kanter always first was a writer. How many scripts has he written? “More than I can lift,” he says.

About the Author(s)

The late Hal Kanter was a multiple Emmy Award–winning writer, director and producer of such feature films and television series as Loving You, The Rose Tattoo and Julia. A three term governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he scripted 39 Academy Awards shows. He lived in Encino, California.

Bibliographic Details

Hal Kanter
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 320
Bibliographic Info: 56 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2013 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7604-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0541-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preview      ix

1. Hal Did a Lot for Our Family      1
2. The Advantage of Being on the Bottom      8
3. The Happy Hour of Eternity      12
4. Do Ducks Waddle?      16
5. I Do All of My Work Sitting Down      21
6. Romance Into Marriage      26
7. Spice to My Conversation      32
8. Whether It Happened or Not      39
9. Everybody Knows It’s Raining      44
10. Why Aren’t I Wet?      50
11. His Dentist Was a Proctologist      57
12. Only a Pig      65
13. An Honest Living      72
14. ’Til I Say It Is      77
15. A Virtue I Do Not Possess      83
16. An Apology      87
17. My One Goal      90
18. “Shit,” He Said Brie?y      96
19. Even Inanimate Objects      99
20. Hollywood’s Lesson      104
21. No Small Parts      108
22. Some People Are So Sensitive      115
23. I’m O.K.      119
24. No Good Can Come of It      126
25. What a Lamp Post Thinks of Dogs      131
26. By Words Alone      138
27. If Writers Were Good Businessmen      141
28. A Clean Sheet of Paper      146
29. If Lincoln Were Alive Today      150
30. But Why Should I Depress You?      156
31. Always a Beginner      163
32. Ten Percent of Everything      169
33. No Reason to Regret It      175
34. I’d Rather Have Cocoa      183
35. I Forgot to Write It Down      187
36. Three People Have a Baby      193
37. If You See My Producer      197
38. On Schedule      204
39. Without Music      209
40. The Show Goes On      216
41. Still Frisky      222
42. The Gift of Laughter      228
43. Expressing Ourselves      236
44. When My Comedy Succeeds      240
45. What Critics Say      247
46. Hamlet’s Experiences      254
47. Feed Gravel to His Oxen      264
48. The Big Show      271
49. You’re Going to Love Melbourne      277
50. If You Live Long Enough      285

Index      293

Book Reviews & Awards

“the career of Hal Kanter is a fascinating one, and it is recounted here with truth and with humor…truly amazing…a wealth of detail”—Classic Images; “hugely entertaining…a must-read”—Past Times; “if you know anyone in need of a laugh, this book will do the trick”—Beverly Hills Courier; “Kanter recalls his life and career as a writer in his must-read book”—Daily Variety; “an engaging book, wise, sharply observed, deliciously droll, wonderfully anecdotal”—SPERDVAC Radiogram; “a rare and evocative autobiography”—DGA Magazine; “a marvel of warm, witty reminiscence. It is an engaging book, wise, sharply observed, deliciously droll, wonderfully anecdotal”—The San Diego Union–Tribune; “a joy to read”—The Berkshire Eagle; “if you love old time radio and like to laugh, this book’s for you”—The Illustrated Press.