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July 31, 2013

Susan Marg

Hear Ye Hear Ye:

Talking About the Stars

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of chatting with Betty Jo Tucker, movie critic extraordinaire and the editor/lead critic of ReelTalk Movie Reviews, and her co-host James Colt Harrison, also an author of thousands of reviews and articles about Hollywood, on Betty Jo’s radio program “Movie Addict Headquarters.”

My book Hollywood or Bust was the central point of our conversation, and I was peppered with lots of questions.  Where did the idea come from?  What was the biggest challenge in writing the book?  How did you decide on the themes in the book?  What are your favorite quotes in the book?

Oh, there are so many.  I like the first quote in the book from Hilary Swank: “I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.”  I think that sets the tone of the book because Hollywood and the movies, even life itself, are all about dreams.

On the loss of privacy that comes with fame, I like Jennifer Aniston’s quote: “When someone follows you all the way to the shop and watches you buy a roll of toilet paper, you know your life has changed.”  The lesson here is to be careful for what you wish.

Betty Jo had her favorite quotes, too.  She pointed out how touched she was by  Charlie Chaplin saying, “I was loved by crowds, but I didn’t have a single close friend. I felt like the loneliest man alive,” and she played a few minutes of music Chaplin composed for Modern Times.  Afterwards she noted, “There he is making everyone else laugh, but he had such feeling.”  And, then we moved on to more amusing topics.

James shared a story relating a chance meeting between Clark Gable and William Faulkner on the MGM lot where they were both working in the 1930s.  Clark Gable knew who William Faulkner was, but Faulkner couldn’t return the compliment.  Ah, writers.  What would the movies be without them?

As screenwriter Joe Eszterhas has noted: “Screenplays are a bitch to write.  One man wrote War and Peace.  Thirty-five screenwriters wrote The Flintstones.” Ah, Hollywood.

If you want to hear more, here’s the link for your listening pleasure:


July 21, 2013

Susan Marg

Betty Jo Tucker is a movie critic extraordinaire, currently serving as editor/lead critic of ReelTalk Movie Reviews and hosting “Movie Addict Headquarters” on BlogTalkRadio. An author herself of Confessions of a Movie Addict and Susan Saradon: A True Maverick, she took time out of her busy schedule to review Hollywood or Bust.  Her review, posted on, is reposted below.

 Hollywood or Bust Book Review

By Betty Jo Tucker

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013

Happiness for movie fans like me is reading “Hollywood or Bust” by Susan Marg! I love all the quips, quotes, and off-the-cuff remarks from some of my favorite actors and actresses that are included in this fascinating anthology. So, of course, I found Marg’s revealing, star-studded book impossible to put down once I started it.


As someone who has had a longstanding love affair with the cinema for over fifty years, I was surprised to find so many delicious surprises in Hollywood or Bust. For example, why did Mel Brooks start out as a drummer? What did Sandra Bullock learn from directing a film? How does Harrison Ford define a movie star? What did Elizabeth Taylor have in common with the critics?  Why did Michael Caine want to win an Oscar?  And that’s just the tip of the show-biz iceberg.

The complete title of this entertaining read is Hollywood or Bust: Movie Stars Dish on Following their Dreams, Making It Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown. And “dish” they do — from the price they pay for stardom and what they think about acting as a career to their feelings about each other as well as about directors, writers, studio executives, agents, and the Oscar. According to Marg, their observations “are caustic, critical and cynical on the one hand — but they are also eye opening, amusing, inspiring, and in some cases, even endearing.” Most of all — to me — they are extremely readable.

Marg calls herself a writer, a reader, a television watcher, a moviegoer, a theater attendee, and a museum visitor. She is also the author of Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis and the Complete Chapel Guide, published by Harper Collins. To read more about Marg, go to her interesting popular culture blog “The More Things Change” at


July 4, 2013

Susan Marg

Reviewed by Gayle Colopy for  on July 2, 2013


Hollywood or Bust

By Susan Marg

Publisher: Cowgirl Jane Press

ISBN: 978-0-578-11882-6


Hollywood Or Bust is a collection of celebrity quotes from actors, producers and other notables in the film industry. The quotes are grouped in chapters loosely based around the quest for recognition and fame, the up and downsides of having achieved it (or not), and the inevitable downhill slide once the public has moved on to newer, fresher flavors of celebrity. The book covers a wide time span, with quotes from studio heads of the “Golden Age” of motion pictures to contemporary luminaries like Lindsay Lohan and Quentin Tarantino.

The path to stardom begins with a vision. (Hilary Swank: “I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.” Each has their own definition of what stardom means. (Harrison Ford: “Stars are people who sell a lot of popcorn.”) There are ruminations on the effects of stardom. (Clint Eastwood: “It’s like waking up with a hooker – how the hell did I get here?” Robert Mitchum: “I’ve still got the same attitude I had when I started. I haven’t changed anything but my underwear.”)

There is a price to be paid for success. (Bette Midler: “The worst part of success if to try to find someone who is happy for you.”) Artistic ambitions may take a back seat to other considerations. (Charlton Heston: “The trouble with movies as a business is that they’re an art; the trouble with movies as an art is that they’re a business.” Michael Caine: “You get paid the same for a bad film as you do for a good one.”) Disillusionment may set in. (William Faulkner: Hollywood is a place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder.” Marilyn Monroe: “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”

Eventually, there is a fall from grace. (Michael Medevoy, producer: “This is a business that eats its elders instead of its young.” Joan Collins: “The problem with beauty is that it’s like being born rich and getting poorer.”) The stars may come and go, but that entity known as Hollywood lives forever, a force unto itself. (Michelangelo Antonioni: “Hollywood is like being nowhere and talking to nobody about nothing.”

The collection is a slim, breezy read, something one could knock off during a long waiting room visit or a very short flight. Like junk food, there’s not much nutritional value here, but for those with an interest in stars talking about stardom, Hollywood Or Bust may prove to be irresistible.


The reviewer Gayle Colopy:  Gayle is a semi-retired veteran of various governmental, non-profit and commercial enterprises, and is now a freelance writer based in northern California. His literary preferences are Beat-era American literature, classic erotica, and fiction writers who blossomed in the Sixties, including Joseph Heller, Donald Barthelme, Ken Kesey, Kurt Vonnegut, William S. Burroughs, Terry Southern, and Hunter S. Thompson.