When I asked to review Mark Bailey and Edward Hemingway’s book “Of all the gin joints : stumbling through Hollywood history” for LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program I needed a light, entertaining read. Bailey’s book is exactly that, it is a collection of stories of alcohol inspired bad behavior among Hollywood’s biggest names mixed with the background of some of their favorite “watering holes” Divided into four eras, silent cinema, the studio’s, post-war, and “modern” by which they mean 1960 to 1979 there is a lot of overlap and many names keep reappearing. It was revealing to see that a silent screen actress used the same hangover remedy they featured in the movie “Flight”, an 8-ball of cocaine. This was a fun book that is easy to read a bit at a time.
There were many illustrations, caricatures of the celebrities and drawings of the bars, restaurants, and hotels mentioned and, as the cover claims, over forty drink recipes are included. This is where I was disappointed with the book. I would have rather seen photos of the old buildings than drawings but I understand the expense in licensing and printing photos. However whoever did the layout of the drink recipe needs to take a class in technical writing. At least that is where I learned not to use a background that interferes with reading the printing. With the red and white striped background the white letters is very hard to make out when the print is small, as when there are fractions in the recipe.
It was a fun book to read although I have to agree with the authors that he silent era seemed the most fun. That era of sex and pranks gave way to generations of nasty violent drunks that were more disappointing than entertaining.