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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 Television City (2)


All In The Family


As I mentioned in a previous post, I worked at CBS Television City in Los Angeles as a young man.  The years were 1969 through 1972.  During that time, many very popular shows taped there, including Carol Burnett, Glenn Campbell, Jim Nabors, Merv Griffin… and All in the Family.

I remember the buzz surrounding All in the Family when it was in rehearsal.  We heard that it was ground-breaking television and it would keep the censors busy.

At first, it seemed unlikely that CBS would air it, as CBS had canceled The Smother Brothers Show just a few years before because they were too “edgy.”  Now came All in the Family.

I sat in the studio and watched some of the rehearsals for All in the Family and became friendly with Jean Stapleton who played the “dingbat”, Edith Bunker.  She told me privately that CBS had only ordered three episodes of the show and she didn’t think the network would dare to actually put it on the air.

The day of taping, CBS staff members had to go to The Farmer’s Market next door to recruit audience members.  No one had ever heard of Jean or Carol O’Connor, who played her husband, Archie.  And the network was trying to keep the show under the radar until it decided if it would actually air it.

I stood through the taping of the first episode, and heard the audience laugh in disbelief.  NO ONE had ever heard any language like that on network television and people were absolutely incredulous.

I too was incredulous.  But to CBS’s credit… the show DID air… and it made television history.


Do you think any network would attempt a show like that today?  Don’t you wish they would?


Carol Burnett - CBS Television City


At the tender age of 25, I found myself employed at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.  That made me an observer to history in the making.  During my years of employment, numerous TV shows were videotaped there and as an employee, I was able to watch rehearsals and watch the tapings themselves.

One such show was The Carol Burnett Show.  Anyone going to YouTube can find clips of the famed comedienne’s shows.  But I had the privilege of being able to sit in the studio as Carol, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence went through their skits without an audience.

Without having to censor themselves, the cast members just let it all hang out.  Many of us are aware of the pure joy of watching Tim Conway cracking up Harvey Korman whenever he could.  But trust me, the shackles came off in rehearsals, and Tim would do and say things he could NEVER get away with on the air.

And the spirit of fun was infectious.  Even the crew got involved.  The men’s and ladies’ rooms for the cast and crew were directly off the stage to the left.  During a break in rehearsals, Harvey Korman went to the men’s room to pee.  The Director had a camera on a long boom push through the men’s room door and then he “punched up” the shot of Harvey at the urinal on all the monitors in the studio.

And let me add that Carol Burnett, even at the peak of her stardom, was the nicest, most down-to-earth performer I have ever met.  I only wish they would re-run her shows today.