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Reviews and News

The latest review of SWING is by Yahoo! Contributor Mary Beth Magee.

If you have Amazon Prime you can now 'borrow' the Kindle version of SWING for FREE!

Here's another book review, by Scott Eyman of the Palm Beach Post.  

The list of positive reviews for SWING continues:

I highly recommend this book. I usually listen to audio books, but this is one book in print that I couldn't put down. Don't even think about it. Just read it! This is a good one.  

"SWING" is a great read, and a more than impressive, heartfelt, first novel from this author. Bravo!  

A great read about perseverance and acceptance and a trip to the world of Swing.

Here is my recommendation...buy it for your IPad or eReader, download some Louis Prima songs, put your earphones in, turn up the volume and enjoy it.

Alan Gerstel's Blog
headshot of Alan Gerstel, author


Click here to buy the book on Amazon.

It is also available as an ebook.


Entries in Joey Bishop (1)




As I reflect on my life, I find that I have been blessed on so many different levels.  I have a wonderful, loving family.  I have had a series of satisfying careers.  And just a few weeks ago, my doctor told me, “you know, Alan, you are in excellent health.”

If you have read my other blogs, you also know that I have worked and rubbed shoulders with a cornucopia of stage and screen stars.  One of my favorite occasions was the bar mitzvah of Buddy Hackett’s son, Sandy.

I was living in Los Angeles in 1970 and working for CBS Television City.  My aunt and uncle lived close by and directly across the hall from Esther Cohen, Buddy Hackett’s mother-in-law.  I knew her quite well from my many visits to my aunt and uncle.  And one day, she told me that her grandson, Sandy, was being bar mitzvahed.  She also told me that she had a niece named Helene who lived in Brooklyn and was flying in for the bar mitzvah.  The problem was… Helene didn’t have a date.  Would I be willing to be her date?

It was an offer that was too good to be true.  How could I refuse?  I wasn’t invited to the actual bar mitzvah at the Temple.  But I WAS invited to the gala party that Buddy was throwing for his friends and the bar mitzvah boy wasn’t even going to be there!

I was woefully unprepared for the event.  Being somewhat of a child of the 60’s, I had no real “dress” clothes, so I had to rent a tuxedo for the occasion.  I made an appointment with a hair stylist. I also bought flowers for my blind date, and was pleasantly surprised when I picked her up.  Helene was a very attractive young lady and we seemed to hit it off right away.

The bar mitzvah gala was like no other party I had attended before or have attended since.  Helene and I sat at a small table in a private room above a Beverly Hills restaurant as we watched Hollywood’s A-List stars celebrate with their host.  I cannot remember everyone who was there, but I do remember that I was in the presence of Lucille Ball, Milton Berle, Don Rickles, Joey Bishop, Phyllis Diller, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior and a host of other big names.  I even recall that while he was making moves on the dance floor, Joey Bishop ripped his pants from his crotch to his knee to the glee of all the comedians in the room.

For hours, I was dazzled by all the luminaries… but then, like Cinderella, the party was over, and so was my taste of Hollywood star power.  I took Helene back to her hotel.  We said good night.  And I never saw her again.

But the memory of that night lingers on.  And since we know this is such a small world…wouldn’t you know that my sister, Lena, is friends with Sandy Hackett?  Some things are just meant to be.

If you have never seen Buddy perform… take a look at this classic clip.