JOHNNY CARSON: A BIOGRAPHY
"Pleasing...more replenishing than Paul Corkery's "Carson," Smith is much tighter, more straightforward, touches all the bases and nicely seasoned with that Carson wit."
"Insightful portrait." BACKSTAGE
"Anecdote filled. Like Paul Corkery's recent "Carson," Smith's account was written without the subject's cooperation, but unlike the earlier effort, it manages to be quite juicy." BOOKLIST
COMIC SUPPORT: Second Bananas in the Movies
"This book is a real sleeper: word-and-picture profiles of 170 comic supporting players, everyone from Iris Adrian and Luis Alberni to Marie Wilson and Monty Woolley. Yes, 170 of the best-loved players in movie history, most of whom never got the credit they deserved. But now they do. Ron Smith captures each one with a fine personal and career profile, plus a rare photo. And no skimping: the average profile runs about one and a half oversized pages. You get elusive birth and death dates, plus valuable extras...In short, a wonderful reading-and-reference book..."
"Full time drunks, society ladies, prissy sales clerks and silly sidekicks — they're all here from Iris Adrian to Marie Wilson, a collection of straight men and zanies long unappreciated to all except the ever faithful film buff..its good photos, trim bios and "selected film and stage appearances" recommends it...There's a certain scandal-drenched joy in these 200 profiles that give it appeal...Jack Weston's "flag desecration," Carol Wayne's drowning and Walter Catlett's "legendary drinking" — pithy comments lend notoriety to people too often blended into the anonymity of Tinseltown's various stock companies."
Films in Review
LET PEAS BE WITH YOU
"It's a treat to read...absurdly unique!"
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara
"Love the book!"
"Very good! Ron Smith's a very talented man. You'll get a big kick out of LET PEAS BE WITH YOU."
"I'll mind my peas -- the queues can still line up at the movies. NICE book!"
"Charming and fun!"
COMEDY ON RECORD
"It's intended as a reference work, but Ronald L. Smith's hefty new tome is a compulsively readable book, informative and often very amusing...Amply fulfilling its stated goal, 'Comedy on Record' lists and rates, often in considerable detail, virtually every comedy album ever released. Delightful and entertaining...a wealth of solid (and sometimes bizarre) information...Smith's judgements are on target."
LARRY KART, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
"'Comedy on Record' is a valuable reference...in addition to being a useful resource, this book is fun to read."
"In a monumental effort, Garland Publishing, Inc. has provided the ultimate book for fans of comedy records, authored by Ronald Smith. And Smith's impressive credentials in the comedy field certainly qualify him to delve into such a magnificent task. He is a joke writer, humorous poetry writer, comedy magazine editor as well as the author of "The Stars of Stand-Up Comedy" and "Johnny Carson."...Page after page...virtually boggles one's mind...truly an incredible work...a job well done."
MOVIE COLLECTOR'S WORLD
GOLDMINE PRICE GUIDE
"Movie buffs have paperbacks by Maltin and Ebert to rate films. Who have comedy junkies been able to turn to? Ronald L. Smith has come to the rescue with a meticulously researched and accessible guide to comedy albums...rates them on a four star scale and includes two prices for each album - for standard thrift stores and pricier used record stores. There's also a handy section in the back with Grammy nominees and winners for best comedy albums and other trivia tidbits..."
Philadelphia City Paper
COSBY, LIFE OF A COMEDY LEGEND
"Warm, likable bio...sincere and funny and richly human."
"...a good blend of facts and anecdotes make for an easy to read, concise biography...Smith's comfortable writing style should warrant recognition."
News & Courier, Charleston S.C.
"Chockful of interesting anecdotes and biographical information...presented heartwarmingly and with insight."
Philadelphia Daily News
"Smith successfully places Cosby's stand-up career in the context of the times: assessing his competition , tracing his influences, recounting some of his difficulties and triumphs. Best of all, he explains, with the help of quotes from Cosby's first manager, how painstakingly the two of them worked on those early monologues."
POE IN THE MEDIA
"The tome takes on the daunting task of covering all Poe-related films, music and spoken-word recordings and does so in a style that's at once thorough and fun."
NY DAILY NEWS
"Clear and concise...a fiendishly fascinating read." The Academic Library Book Review here.
THE FIGHT FOR TONIGHT
"Smith's 15th book...is a riveting behind-the-scenes account of backstabbing, bullying and network nitpicking that goes all the way back to the first successful late night show, "Broadway Open House," starring Jerry Lester, who was soon upstaged by television's first blonde bombshell, Dagmar. Throughout, the reader sees producers, agents, network executives and performers at their self-serving, preening worst. But the last are also seen at their best. Many of the great moments of late night television are faithfully recalled, and they have not lost their luster."
WHO'S WHO IN COMEDY
(Who's Who in Comedy - book cover
designed by Ronald L. Smith)
Smith, author of Stars of Stand-Up Comedy, offers this comprehensive encyclopedia. The book's approximately 450 entries, from Abbott and Costello to Zeb and Zarrow, includes well-knowns like Jackie Gleason and Lucille Ball, as well as lesser-knowns like Huntz Hall and Minerva Pious. Almost 100 years of funny people are covered. Each entry includes given name, date of birth (and, if applicable, death), brief biographical information, a historical account of the subject's career, and some analysis. There are excellent references and three appendixes: nickname and character name, catch phrase, and categorical (impressionists, dialect, TV, teams, etc.). Essential
COMEDY STARS AT 78 RPM
"A book which should benefit record collectors and vintage entertainment fans...The 89 biographical profiles are concise and include samples of each performer's routines. Real names and birth and death dates are included...Smith lists original cylinder or 78 releases, giving titles and original stock numbers...the book provides information on scores of obscure entertainers...supplies much helpful data and does so entertainingly."
"Deals with a curious but interesting mix of performers...Abbott and Costello, Nora Bayes, Fanny Brice...Butterbeans and Susie, Red Ingle and Robert J. Wildhack, Arthur Askey, Billy Bennett, Albert Chevalier, Billy Merson, George Robey and others...The author knows his subject well and provides some fascinating tidbits."
ANTHONY SLIDE, CLASSIC IMAGES
THE COMEDY QUOTE DICTIONARY Doubleday) "A hoot of a book...he has gathered together some of the brightest moments and lines from the best comedic minds of all time. Many of these bits will make you laugh out loud...Marvelous!" THE COAST BOOK REVIEW "Pick a topic, any topic, and Ronald L. Smith has a zinger for you...and among the 2,000 or so quotes, quips and jokes from this century's funniest men and women, there's nary a groaner."
LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS