Written by David Evanier this is a very well researched book about the short life
of Darin. It is well written and very respectful of Bobby's life and career. David covers
the links between Sinatra and Darin as well. He quotes almost a full page from one of
my PBRs (Pit Boss Reviews) talking about Darin coming to the Sands and his interest
in Frank. David feels I explained the admiration Bobby had for Frank very well.
I recommend this book to you. I enjoyed it very much.
February 2005 Volume 45 Issue 02
Beyond the Flick by Fred L. Gardaphe
of American culture. While the film, which doesn't claim to be an exact biography, is a beautiful vision of the performer's life. You need to get David Evanier's biography,
Roman Candle, to see the well from which Spacey's version is drawn, especially
if you're a stickler for the facts.
two decades than most singers do in five. Evanier's biography makes clear
that Darin, often referred to as a Sinatra wannabe, did things in life and music that
Sinatra never could.
small-time thug) Darin grew up with a weak heart in tough New York City
neighborhoods. Armed with a rough demeanor and a genius IQ, he learned to play
piano, drums and guitar.
One of his earliest compositions, "Splish Splash," gave him national attention and a recording contract. Not wanting to be known as a rock-n-roll artist, he began
recording standards, especially songs out of the vaudeville era. He befriends old-timers like George Burns and Jimmy Durante, many of whom become father figures.
He has a wild dating period with Connie Francis and later marries the All-American
girl, Sandra Dee, after first dating her mother.
he was invited. Instead, Darin's agent took the opportunity to have Bobby switch to Capitol Records, Sinatra's old label, becuse Bobby was obsessed with doing things
like and better than Frank. Darin once was misquoted as saying he wanted to be bigger than Sinatra, which caused a ripple through the business and led to a sitdown
between the two.
Evanier does an excellent job of investigating the many secrets of the great performer's life. He vividly recreates the era of teen dances, nightclubs, like the Copacabana,
television variety shows, and the heyday of the Las Vegas strip. We see Bobby as he struggles and succeeds with boldness and humility. Evanier smartly steps back
and lets those who knew Bobby best tell their stories, giving us many angles by
which to view the man and the star. Evanier can even be poetic, as in his description
of the album Bobby did with Johnny Mercer: "Mercer and Darin wing it together,
scatting, riffing, improvising, doing what's necessary, they're having a ball.
They slide, they glide, they dance, they fly."
criticism, Evanier takes chances that some biographer's might not, making this the book you want to read before seeing the film. At times some of the writing borders on
outright cheering, but as Evanier points out, if you loved Bobby Darin, nothing could shake it. Kevin Spacey may have captured Bobby's spirit in his film, but Evanier does nothing short of capturing the man in all his fancy and with all his faults. Black and white photos and a selected guide to his recordings are included.
Darin the 'Brain'
John Bravo, had been advised to go there by guidance counselors at Clark Junior High. Bobby faired badly, although in the long run he would find a group of friends with
whom he would bond for many years.
of the students were Jewish and from upwardly mobile homes, financially far better off than his family, and intellectually and culturally several levels above them. "These were future professional people, lawyers, doctors, scientists," Bobby said later. "Suddenly
I'm with people not pressured financially, people uninvolved with food, rent and clothing.
I went overnight from the non-thinkers to the thinkers. It was shattering and abrupt."
has a different take on his reasons for going to Bronx Science: "Bobby went there because the school system was falling apart, going out of control, and there was
so much machismo. Bobby was not a six-foot bruiser. He was the kind of guy that
could easily be bullied. I was told by his friends that Bobby went there to get away
from that tough milieu."
value was put on intelligence and returning in the afternoon to a neighborhood
where education didn't mean anything at all, infact, it was regarded as an effete pursuit.
FROM THE DEST OF Harriet Wasser
I originally talked to David a number of years ago and at that time suggested that he
I acted as consultant to the author in the hopes I was able to bring Bobby's story to light