Click your heels together three times and join author Caren Marsh-Doll, Judy Garland's stand-in in The Wizard of Oz, as she dances through her rich Hollywood life.
Caren, an original MGM doll, appeared on the silver screen, danced in Hollywood musicals, was a Western leading lady, acted on Broadway, and remains the darling of Oz fans around the world. She met gangster Bugsy Siegel, survived a near fatal plane crash, and learned about sex "near" a Hollywood casting couch.
And she's still dancing... into the 2nd edition of her award-winning autobiography. Named Best Autobiography Classic Images, this expanded edition has More rare pictures, and extra material!
Hollywood’s Child: Dancing Through Oz is an engrossing biography by dancer/actress Caren Marsh-Doll, who, as per the title, also acted as Judy Garland’s stand-in in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Doll did numerous dancing bits (Rosalie, Best Foot Forward, That Night in Rio, etc.) and feature and lead parts (Bob Steele’s leading lady in The Navajo Kid, 1945) during the 1930s and ‘40s, without ever having achieved stardom. But, unlike some from that time period who write books, seeking their belated fifteen minutes of fame, Doll actually has a story to tell – an inspiring one, it turns out.
Hollywood’s Child fully and charmingly captures Doll’s wide-eyed innocence when she first came to Hollywood in 1937. Most vivid is her first day at MGM, an expressive section that is unlike anything I’ve read. Doll takes the reader into that time period, her writing putting us in her shoes as the experiences the film making process for the first time, Wizard of Oz readers will revel in her recollections of Judy Garland and of her on-set remembrances. It’s very hard, at this late date, to hear anything new about this 1939 classic, but Doll provides.
The book’s one flaw, but part of its charm, is its disregard for a proper chronological order. She skips a period of several years in a flash, acting as if it was a natural thing to do, even though her organization doesn’t quite make sense. Some references, like songs, are also not in the proper order, but these can be overlooked, considering the enthusiasm and delight that Doll takes in telling us her story.
Doll’s private life has been less than ideal, and her candor in this area makes her story more interesting. Her story switches to gutsy, although still optimistic, prose as she deals with a devastating plane crash, in which she was one of the few survivors, and a marriage to an alcoholic. She gains much sympathy with her honesty and her spunky perseverance in the face of problems and setbacks. You can’t help but like Caren Marsh-Doll. And, undoubtably, you will like her book. It’s a good read – and the pictures are terrific. One boo-boo: no filmography. Considering all her unbilled dancing bits, a film list should have been mandatory. Order from Caren Marsh-Doll at PO box 3233 Palm Springs, CA 92263.
- BOOK POINTS by Laura Wagner
"Many thanks to Caren Marsh-Doll for sharing her priceless memories of dancing through the Golden Age of Hollywood-- and beyond."
Caren Marsh Doll today.