Are you a fan of the funny man, Steve Martin? If so, Bob Moyer has the book for you.
Reviewed by Robert P. Moyer
NUMBER ONE IS WALKING. By Steve Martin. Drawings by Harry Bliss.
Celadon Books. 256 pages. $30.
One of the funniest men on the planet, Steve Martin has made 40 movies ( five of which he claims are good ones), including The Jerk; All of Me;, Little Shop of Horrors; Roxanne; Planes, Trains and Automobiles, etc. He’s worked with a lot of people, had a lot of experiences, and he subsequently has a lot of stories to tell. This book collects a batch of those stories with cartoons by Harry Bliss, known for his offbeat comic strip Bliss. Some might call this a collaboration, but it’s more like a riff between friends. The format is simple — Martin tells the stories to Bliss, who draws what he considers the highlight of the episode. Bliss renders himself as well as Martin, along with pictures of everyone from Jerry Garcia to Jackie Onassis as Martin rambles on. Bliss also adds in his dog Penny, who makes comments in cartoon bubbles that add to the story, or clarify what’s going on… . In a normal memoir, most of what she says would be footnotes. Here, they are more like pawnotes.
The book is short, and therefore a little pricey. The movie memoir part is only less than half the book. The rest of the book consists of cartoons that may or may not be a dialogue between the two buddies. Sometimes it’s clearly a combo, sometimes it might just be Bliss. If you’re a Martin fan, you won’t mind the price; if you’re not, you can probably read it over a cup of coffee at Barnes and Noble. Either way, you’ll be entertained.