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Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story

Cover: 'Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story'

Staff Review: "Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story" by Chris Nashawaty

★★★

Nearly 40 years after its theatrical release, the film Caddyshack has an established spot in the history of pop culture through memorable quotes (“Did somebody step on a duck?”) and memorable characters like groundskeeper Carl Spackler, played by Bill Murray. Author Chris Nashawaty sets out to share not only the history of how the film was made and how it was received, but he also dives into the history of the people who made it happen and events that led to the making of Caddyshack.

Much of that history revolves around Caddyshack writers and actors who either came up through the famed Chicago improv troupe Second City or National Lampoon (which started as a magazine and moved into movies such as Animal House and National Lampoon’s Vacation.) Even though the origin stories of Lampoon take up nearly half of the book, it is definitely entertaining and provides some crucial background on how all those people put their comedic talents (and their penchant for booze and drugs) to bear on Caddyshack.

It’s hard to imagine a film like Caddyshack being made these days because it really was a loose set (the film was director Harold Ramis’ first), where so much dialogue was improvised and so much of the cast and crew spent so much time loaded on a variety, or combination, of intoxicants. As Nashawaty and his subjects explain, it was closer to a 12-week party that resulted in a movie rather than a typical Hollywood production with a rigid filming schedule and dialogue that stays on script.

Nashawaty doesn’t really break new ground in telling this story: A 20th anniversary DVD edition of Caddyshack included a documentary on the making of it, and anyone interested in the National Lampoon story can watch the 2015 documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead. Still, Nashawaty covers a lot of ground to share the stories of some of the funniest writers and actors of the past 50 years – people who in their own ways did break ground in the world of comedy and came together to make a legendary comedic film. And if you haven’t guessed already, this book is definitely for adults.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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