Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Tab Hunter Confidential"

Welcome to Hollywood, circa 1950, the end of the Golden Age. A remarkably handsome young boy, still a teenager, gets "discovered by a big-time movie agent. Because when he takes his shirt off young hearts beat faster, because he is the picture of innocence and trust and need, he will become a star. It seems almost preordained. The open smile says, "You will love me," and soon the whole world does.

The young boy's name was Tab Hunter—a made-up name, of course, a Hollywood name—and it was his time. Stardom didn't come overnight, although it seemed that way. In fact, the fame came first, when his face adorned hundreds of magazine covers; the movies, the studio contract, the name in lights—all that came later. For Tab Hunter was a true product of Hollywood, a movie star created from a stable boy, a shy kid made even more so by the way his schoolmates—both girls and boys—reacted to his beauty, by a mother who provided for him in every way except emotionally, and by a secret that both tormented him and propelled him forward.

In Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, Hunter speaks out for the first time about what it was like to be a movie star at the end of the big studio era, to be treated like a commodity, to be told what to do, how to behave, whom to be seen with, what to wear. He speaks also about what it was like to be gay, at first confused by his own fears and misgivings, then as an actor trapped by an image of boy-next-door innocence. And when he dared to be difficult, to complain to the studio about the string of mostly mediocre movies that were assigned to him, he learned that just like any manufactured product, he was disposable—disposable and replaceable.

Hunter's career as a bona fide movie star lasted a decade. But he persevered as an actor, working continuously at a profession he had come to love, seeking—and earning—the respect of his peers, and of the Hollywood community.

And so, Tab Hunter Confidential is at heart a story of survival—of the giddy highs of stardom, and the soul-destroying lows when phone calls begin to go unreturned; of the need to be loved, and the fear of being consumed; of the hope of an innocent boy, and the rueful summation of a man who did it all, and who lived to tell it all.

My Thoughts...

I always kinda enjoy reading these autobiographies of the old time movie stars that were famous when I was a teen-ager, Tab was one of those stars. I am from the 50s era so when I was 14-15-16 years old was when Tab was at his most famous. (I am 74 at this writing.) 

As a youngster I always enjoyed reading the movie magazines to see what the stars were doing and what movies I could look forward to seeing. As a naive teen-ager I believed everything I read about my favorite stars. In the 50s things weren't out there in your face the way the famous peoples private lives are now. It was a much more innocent time growing up in the 50s. Always new movies to see each week and on the week-ends. I loved my simple (naive) life way back then when movies were fun, not the blood, guts and beer movies that are so famous today...enough said!

I found this an interesting book to read. I think to enjoy it you probably should be familiar with the movie stars of the 40s, & 50s, when life was easy, fun and innocent. It was nice seeing Tab through Tabs eyes, and not the false stories that the tabloids are so famous for publishing....I no longer read the Movie Magazines of today, I've grown-up in my thinking, knowing that almost everything written in them is probably not true anyway. 

This book is a part of my Nook library and I enjoyed it enough to award it 3 "Confidential" stars. 

1 comment:

  1. Very nice review, Gigi Ann! I remember the actor's name but not his work. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this book on your Nook.