Randy Baer

  • America's luckiest guy? The real story behind the most important man in the lives of Michelle Pfeiffer and Ally McBeal. I love Ally McBeal, says one female fan. "She's gorgeous, she has a great job, men are crazy about her, and she's still unhappy! Well, if Ally can be unhappy then I can be unhappy too."
    Is that what the popularity of Ally McBeal is about? Misery loves company? Only partly. The dialogue is scintillating, the characters peculiar, the stories -- and not just those fantasy moments -- are creative and surprising. But most of all, Ally McBeal is about romance. First-date kisses. Lost chances. Jealous suspicions. Raging desire. Wattle fetishes. As Shakespeare and David E. Kelley know, these are everyone's favorite topics. How did David Kelley, the man behind Ally McBeal, become one of the most exciting writer/creator/producers working in television today? How did a young lawyer with almost no writing experience end up scripting some of the best episodes of L.A. Law? And go on to create Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, and The Practice? And then marry Michelle Pfeiffer? And create a female character named Ally who would become so popular, so loved and reviled, that she would end up on the cover of Time? Depending on which newspaper columnist or public commentator you ask, Ally McBeal is either destroying the American feminist movement or revealing the secret hopes and desires of women across the country. In Ally, David Kelley has captured the spirit of our times. And he's having fun doing it, too.
    Find out how, in David E. Kelley: The Man Behind "Ally McBeal."


  • What went wrong with WCW?

    In 1997, World Championship Wrestling was on top. It was the number-one pro wrestling company in the world, and the highest-rated show on cable television. Each week, fans tuned in to Monday Nitro, flocked to sold-out arenas, and carried home truckloads of WCW merchandise. Sting, Bill Goldberg, and the New World Order were household names. Superstars like Dennis Rodman and KISS jumped on the WCW bandwagon. It seemed the company could do no wrong.

    But by 2001, however, everything had bottomed out. The company - having lost a whopping 95% of its audience - was sold for next to nothing to Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment. WCW was laid to rest.

    /> How could the company lose its audience so quickly? Who was responsible for shows so horrible that fans fled in horror? What the hell happened to cause the death of one of the largest wrestling companies in the world? The Death of World Championship Wrestling is the first book to take readers through a detailed dissection of WCW's downfall.

  • WrestleCrap: The Very Worst of Professional Wrestling examines some of the ridiculously horrible characters and storylines that pro wrestling promoters have subjected their fans to over the past twenty years. Why would any sane person think that having two grown men fight over a turkey was actually a reasonable idea? Was George Ringo, the Wrestling Beatle, really the best gimmick that a major promotional organization could come up with? And who would charge fans to watch a wrestler named the Gobbeldy Gooker emerge from an egg?

    In an attempt to answer such questions and figure out just what the promoters were thinking, authors Randy Baer and R.D. Reynolds go beyond what wrestling fans saw on the screen and delve into the mindset of those in the production booth. In some instances, the motivations driving the spectacle prove even more laughable than what was actually seen in the ring.

    Covering such entertainment catastrophes as an evil one-eyed midget and a wrestler from the mystical land of Oz, not to mention the utterly comprehensible Turkey-on-a-Pole match (a gimmick which AWA fans might recall), WrestleCrap is hysterically merciless in its evaluation of such organizations as the WCW and the WWF. This retrospective look at the wrestling world's misguided attempts to attract viewers will leave wrestling fans and critics alike in stitches.

  • Girl Show

    Randy Baer And R.D. Reynolds

    Girls! Girls! Girls! The carnivals, the girls, and the scams - a journey back through time to the glory years of traveling adult entertainment. Many of these photos have never been seen before, and no one has published a book exclusively devoted to the women (and men) who performed in Girl Shows. Picture yourself at a carnival in the 1950s. It's summer, and after you wander through the midway, you head towards the sideshow area. There, on stage in front of huge banners, is Tirza -- The Wine Bath Girl. A crowd has already gathered, and the talker is describing the pleasures to be found inside, but only after you've bought your ticket. "See the beautiful Tirza, in the altogether, taking a full bath -- in wine!" Interested? Unfortunately, you can't attend these Girl Shows anymore. The last performances occurred in the mid-1970s. But you can see 200 photos from 1900 onwards in A.W. Stencell's book about this cultural phenomenon. And you can read about their European origins, their American developments, their heyday after World War II, and their ultimate demise in the face of men's magazines, strip clubs, and x-rated videos.

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