That’s the title of impressario and raconteur Jerry Weintraub’s autobiography (with help from Rich Cohen). If you like rags to riches stories, Hollywood, chutzpah, Elvis, Clooney, Dylan, the Bronx, Led Zeppelin, Rabbi Schneerson, Florence Henderson, Sinatra, The Karate Kid, Diner, Oceans Eleven thru Thirteen, then this is your book. It’s a short 300 pages and is simply one improbable and entertaining story after another.
From Rich Cohen‘s original piece in Vanity Fair (which led to his collaboration on the book):
Jerry opened a management company with Marty Kummer and Bernie Brillstein, who later became Bernie Brillstein, but was then just Bernie Brillstein. Offices in New York and L.A. Nineteen sixty-four. (It was during these years that Jerry moved west and married Jane Morgan, a singer and former client. They have four children and four grandchildren.)
“I was renting out places and putting on shows,” he told me. “The guys who ran the club rooms used to give me dead stretch in their calendars to invent: ‘A Night in Paris.’ ‘A Night in London.’ Nutty stuff. Scrap.”
Jerry calls these his Broadway Danny Rose years—years of improvisation, of shtick. Woody Allen had the office next door in New York, and Jerry wonders if the idea for Danny Rose came while Woody was riding the elevator with Jerry’s clients—the Four Seasons were the biggest, but there were torch singers, acrobats, just about anyone who came through the door.
The act that defines the era (for Jerry) is Kimo Lee and the Modernasians, “a sword dancer and two Hawaiian girls that danced like this,” said Jerry, swaying. They played the Latin Quarter, in Manhattan, for $750 a week.
“Barbara Walters and I used to sit backstage and watch,” Jerry said, “because [her father] Lou owned the Latin Quarter.”
Pick up his story about putting his hands and feet into the wet concrete in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater (starts at about 2:07):