Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED by Richard Roberts

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Michael J Hayde
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Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED by Richard Roberts

Postby Michael J Hayde » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:25 pm

James Neibaur chimes in with a very positive review of PAST HUMOR - PRESENT LAUGHTER:

http://www.examiner.com/review/new-book ... dM8gG.gbpl

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Richard M Roberts
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Re: Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED

Postby Richard M Roberts » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:25 pm

Oh, well, great, we were all waiting with baited breath to find out what Jim Neibaur thinks of the book (if one is willing to fight through all the popups that attack you when you hit the link.).

So he whines about typos and there only being "192 pages of prose". A 192 pages of an 8.5 x 11 book in which the type font was reduced to drop the book from 741 pages to 522 and keep it affordable. There more prose in those 192 pages than in three of Neibaurs books put together. His books may have less typos, but they are basically valueless in terms of actual historical information, unless you want to know what Jim Neibaur thinks of the latest DVD release of some Comedians films. He has never written one of his weekly books that is worth one millionth of any page of anything turned out by any of the Silent Comedy Mafia. His work is meaningless to me, as is his review, good or bad.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

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Re: Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED

Postby Richard M Roberts » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:47 pm

So, I see over at Nutrateville that ol’ AzJazzman has joined in with Neibaur to try to take some swipes at the book. No surprise again there, as said before Az Jazzman has been stalking me on various newsgroups since I cut off all personal contact with him in 1998, and for someone who claims he actually cut off contact with me at that time and he pays no attention to what I do since, he seems to be keeping pretty close tabs and doing what he can to slam me at every opportunity, even over a decade and more later. Since he has gone off on many here and elsewhere over various things over the years, I know no real explanation of him is needed, but since I know he is reading this, I’ll just say that for all his venomous criticism of my or anyone elses work, he has never, nor ever will on the long-ago best day of his life ever do anything that could ever come close to kissing the hemline of what we do, and his only and extremely forgettable contribution to our community is nothing more than pathetic and meaningless venom.

Yeah, I spared no words about Neibaur either, but we have disliked each other for years. I have no respect for his work or opinions, and he dislikes me for having said it in print. As a reviewer, this actually disqualifies him for writing a review of my work, if his opinion really mattered, and the “positive” review that he wrote is so designed to take as many backhanded swipes at me and my writing as he can dare make without looking a total fool compared to the general reception of the book. I say once again, it is a meaningless review.

Now, for the record, yes, there are indeed two Errata pages inserted in the book. These return text that was removed in the editing and layout that I did not want removed and it is essentially extra text that you get for free and if it bothers you, throw them away. If they bother you so much that you can’t read the book, so be it, don’t buy it, but understand that there will be no different edition of the book published and in fact, when the print run that has been made is sold out, the book will most likely be out-of print. This was a labor of love folks, there is no money to be made writing film books, and we worked hard to get it out there in a good quality and affordable form, which it is. The good reception has so far outweighed the frankly jealous sniping by a few sad characters (gad, Jim Lanes truly positive review was indeed humbling, he’s a fine and genuine authority on film and certainly owes me no favors), so it has been a worthwhile venture, but we ain’t gonna go broke doing this. Take it or leave it Folks.


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Re: Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED

Postby Richard M Roberts » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:09 am

Well, I see that over on Nutrateville that Neibaur’s trying to defend his review in a sort of practiced but “protesteth too much” sort of way that I'll bet he rehearsed as he wrote the review in fear I would call him on it, which means, dammit, I’m going to have to waste my time with Slapsticon two weeks away and much better things to do having to take a look at his meaningless review again and show it up for what it is.

Well, to begin with, Neibaur has a dilemma, he’s going to have to review the book written by someone he dislikes and take some shots, but the problem is, he runs the danger of dissing my co-researchers, Rob Farr and Joe Moore, whom he hopes he might be able to get research from at a future date for one of his weekly film books, as well as running the risk of looking like a petty fool when a lot of the rest of the folk seem to like the work. So, he has to do some very tactical praising and very surgical back biting. Here’s what he does:

First, he sets up a Straw Man in the first paragraph making big mention of Brent Walkers wonderful Mack Sennett book, calling it “comprehensive” mostly so he can say my book is “not a comprehensive study in the same manner”.

Yeah? So? I never said it was a comprehensive book on Hal Roach, in fact, I refer to the book in the Introduction, the back page summary, and the publicity as “The Worlds Longest Footnote”. In my Introduction, I resolutely state that I will not be covering any of Roach’s stars that have been well covered by other Authors, including Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, Our Gang, Thelma Todd/Zasu Pitts/Patsy Kelly, and the Boyfriends, all well covered in other volumes by Leonard Maltin, Randy Skretvedt, Annette D’Agostino and others. So complaining about their lack of inclusion is completely fatuous and pointless, and only designed as a dig at me for somehow forgetting them and leaving them out.

Neibaur then refers to my “thumbnail” chapters, inferring that they are not thorough, and saying that they run from one to fourteen pages. The only Chapters running single pages (and again, these are single pages of an 8.5 x11 book with very small type, these “single” pages ran several typewritten pages and were even shrunk down in the layout to a single page when we were trying to make this book as few a pages as possible to keep it affordable) are a Chapter on the “Skinny” comedies, a short-lived series that ran a total of seven films, and the Chapter on Beatrice LaPlante, whose series only lasted five films, and this is a chapter Neibaur later praises for having so much information on such an obscure series. How much more “comprehensive” could one be on these little obscure series?

Then he finds it “curious” that I cover Charley Chase’s Columbia shorts in the Chapter on Chase, but I do not write about Langdon’s work at Columbia as well, inferring like, this Roberts is full of inconsistencies, not giving out full information on the stars he’s writing about! Hmmm, lets see, I was writing a full career piece on Chase because what he did before and after joining Roach tied into what he did at Roach, but I wasn’t writing a book about Harry Langdon, just the year he spent making starring comedies for them (sorta like the Chapter Title, “Harry Langdon at Roach” signifies), so what does Neibaur expect? I could find it equally “curious” that Jim has just written a book only about Charley Chase’s Talkie Shorts, hey, he left out the Silents! What a piker, not writing the full story before putting it out for sale!

Where Neibaur really gets into bullshit territory is trying to portray the “prose portion” of the book as he calls it (the part written solely by me) as being a miniscule “192 pages” of the “500 page book”, like I’m skimping on my contribution to the tome by only doing 2/5’s of the page count. Well, lets take a look at those other 300-some pages: The Roach Filmography is another 180 pages, basically the other half of the main text, the other 128 pages are made up of several appendices, a bibliography, a 64 page index, and twenty pages of “Big-Time Celebrity Intros”, and a Forward and Introduction written by me which, hey, pushes my “prose portion” to over 200 pages! So what I actually wrote is more than half of the main text, apart from also extensively working on the Filmography with my co-researchers. Nice try Neibaur.

As to the “scant 25 pages” Neibaur claims I cover the Roach Talkie Era in, his grasp of numbers is apparently as shaky as his grasp of film history and what comedy is all about in general. In fact, there are 41 pages devoted to Roach’s Sound Films, apparently Neibaur forgot to count the pages devoted to Chase’s sound career in his Chapter. He also then complains once more that I did not write Chapters on the Thelma Todd teamings and the Boyfriends series, even though I had said I wasn’t going to write about them and gave good reason why in my Introduction. That’s right Neibaur, I’m such a piker! I also didn’t write Chapters on Sergei Eisenstein, Orson Welles, Sam Peckinpah, or anyone else that didn’t belong in the book. How dare I leave them out!

But then again, did Neibaur ever read my Introduction, or the rest of the book that closely? Perhaps he was too busy trying to find typos and mistakes he could mention, yep, they happen in every book, especially these days when books are barely edited by Publishers shrunken or non-existent staffs, but he wants to list as many as possible here. What a clever boy he is. I can also ruin his day by letting him know that all the photos in the book were chosen and placed there by yours truly, so oops, he raved about those probably hoping they were placed there by either my co-researchers or the publisher. No such luck Jim.

So there, I’ve wasted my time and yours showing Neibaur’s lame attempt to take some shots at me, I mean, apart from a general lacking of a sense of humor, he really isn’t that subtle, you could most likely see this for yourselves. I say no more, we have bigger fish to fry.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

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Re: Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:54 am

Even better, now Neibaur has rewritten his review to downgrade the book further, dropping it from four stars to three, removing the part where he feels the typos are not the Authors fault, and now questioning whether the book is worth $59, among other changes. And as he said the review was not about me, but the book, his credibility as a impartial reviewer has just evaporated entirely, if it ever existed in the first place.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

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Re: Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED

Postby Gary Johnson » Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:00 pm

his credibility as a impartial reviewer has just evaporated entirely, if it ever existed in the first place.

It didn't....

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Re: Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED by Richard Robert

Postby Richard M Roberts » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:02 pm

I had a good laugh today as someone pointed out to me that Neibaur's Charley Chase book, which I guess is coming out this week, costs more than my book ($70 suggested retail) and that's for a tome that's only 380 pages and a 9x6 size. Sorta brings to mind the Woody Allen joke about the restaurant where the food is bad, overpriced, and such small portions. And looking at the description, it claims to be the "first book to examine any portion of Chase's Filmography", so truth in advertising isn't an issue either apparently, but it sure illustrates one more reason why Neibaur was so pissy about my book.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

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Re: Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED by Richard Robert

Postby Gary Johnson » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:51 pm

You might get a kick out of this Richard,
Our favorite K-Tel author was plugging his Chase book today on FB when a fella posted that he is working on a documentary on gorilla-actor Charles Gemora (???......to each his own it seems....) and asked what info he has from the actor's appearance in NATURE IN THE WRONG (33). Neibauer responded by wishing the man good luck on his film and then explained that his book only assesses each Chase film and thus he has nothing pertinent on Gemora that would help.

I guess 'assessing each film' doesn't involve researching performers who appear in those films.

However, another poster came to the rescue and mentioned that there is an expert over at the Way Out West Tent who has loads of knowledge on Gemora's work on L&H films and that the filmmaker should get in touch with him.

I'm sure Neibauer is kicking himself for not finding this out earlier. He could had cribbed that fella's notes and included it in his book as his own.

(Yes.....as you can tell....not a big fan of the best selling 'comedy author')

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Re: Examiner Review of SMILEAGE GUARANTEED by Richard Roberts

Postby Chris Seguin » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:22 pm

I know this is an old post, but it's recently become a little more relevant. Listen to any 5 minutes of any of Richard M. Roberts' commentary tracks on any DVD, then the entire 142 minutes of James L. Neibaur's comments on RUNNING WILD and THE OLD ARMY GAME, and that'll tell you all you need to know. Chris


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