Item description for Wheeling the Deal: The Outrageous Legend of Gordon Zahler, Hollywood's Flashiest Quadriplegic by Chip Jacobs...
Paralyzed from the neck down, Gordon Zahler rose from his deathbed to a fast-talking, Hollywood entrepreneur/idea man who traveled the world, lived hard, married, fantasized about water-skiing and chased his dreams to create one of the largest independent postproduction shops in Hollywood. While this is Jacobs story about his coming to grips with his deformed uncle, himself and his mother, the silent victim to Gordon s recklessness, Wheeling the Deal is also a tip of the hat to the man who turned his back on the notion of I can t.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.3" Width: 5.5" Height: 1" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Feb 15, 2008
Publisher Behler Publications
ISBN 1933016477 ISBN13 9781933016474
Availability 0 units.
More About Chip Jacobs
Chip Jacobs is a freelance writer and award-winning journalist. Specializing in investigative, environmental, and political journalism, Jacobs has reported for The Los Angeles Times, The Daily News of Los Angeles, LA Weekly, and CNN, among other outlets.
Reviews - What do customers think about Wheeling the Deal: The Outrageous Legend of Gordon Zahler, Hollywood's Flashiest Quadriplegic?
A book to sink your teeth into... Sep 4, 2008
This is one of those books that will take you a good week or so to read through (if you are an avid reader - if not, maybe a little longer). It's a big book, in more ways than one. You will want to sink your teeth into this one, savor it, roll it around in your head. I have so much I want to say about this book, but I don't want to give too much away, so I'll do the best I can...
There are so many sides to Gordon in this book, to the free-living child with mischief on his mind, to the depressed man with little to no time to live, to the man who wants to live life to the fullest, and there and back again and every shade in between. I'm not sure I really liked any of the Gordons presented in this book. It wasn't about me liking him or not, it was more about who he was and a feeling of "wow, he really did all that" and "wow, he was supposed to be dead a couple of decades ago". Heh, reminds me of what we used to say about certain family members - "too mean to die". I usually have a hard time reading a book when I honestly don't like the main character, but the writing of this really made a big difference for me.
I never could reconcile Judy for myself. The author speaks very low of her when she is introduced, but I found myself feeling sorry for her at times. Yes, I know, she didn't always have the best intentions, I'm sure, but I dunno... something about her still bugs me and I can't figure out what it is.
I think I felt the worst for Muriel. I know, everything turns out like it should, but I felt like she was so... pushed aside. In some ways, perhaps the author felt the same way with his brother. It just seemed like Muriel's life got derailed more than it should have. Then again, this WAS the 1940s, so... it was what it was, right?
I also wish there were more splashes of the author's side of the story in here. I felt like I was cheated a little bit because the common lines were very subtle. Probably on purpose, but I still wanted more of what was going on.
Having said that... this author is one to watch. The writing is beautiful and grabbed me from the very start. But more than that, it felt honest. When he's at the fire with his family members, I was there with him. I felt that heat.
Good book. Grab it, toss it on your bedside table and savor it.
A Remarkable Tale! Jul 18, 2008
A Remarkable Tale!
Wheeling the Deal is a tale of "paraplegic conquers adversity." At first blush this seems like a cliché. After all, we live in an ADA, blue-parking-space, curb-cut world where public policy offsets such handicaps with a cornucopia of government programs and grants. But, wait! This was in the 1940s, when people in that condition didn't even survive, let alone strive. Gordon Zahler should be dead, not the subject of a biography a half century later. And yet, against all odds, he clung to life after his sports field accident, and after a black period of depression and self-pity contrived a plan for economic survival which turned him into an entertainment industry icon. It really is a story worth the telling, and his story is told by a gifted Southern California journalist and kinsman, Chip Jacobs. Jacobs tells the story poignantly and eloquently in a book well worth a night stand berth.
A brilliant and uplifting true story May 5, 2008
It's one of the most inspirational things one can see in the world - a man who is paralyzed from the neck down deciding that invalidism isn't for him and making something of themselves. "Wheeling the Deal: The Outrageous Legend of Gordan Zahler, Hollywood's Flashiest Quadriplegic" is the story of Gordon Zahler, a man who turned himself into one of Hollywood's fast talking and successful idea men who traveled the world, married, and so much more, disregarding his condition and living life to the fullest he possibly could. "Wheeling the Deal: The Outrageous Legend of Gordon Zahler, Hollywood's Flashiest Quadriplegic" is a brilliant and uplifting true story and is highly recommended for anyone in a similar position or has a relative there - to open their eyes to the possibilities.
The side of Hollywood most people don't see May 1, 2008
The thing that struck me most about Chip Jacobs' fascinating biography of his "Hollywood Player" uncle was just how un-Hollywood it felt. Certainly there is the human interest aspect, involving the tragic, early childhood injury that left Gordon Zahler bound to a wheelchair for life. Yet Mr. Jacobs wisely avoids going overly maudlin upon his audience, choosing instead to offer up the portrait of a man, so driven by the desire to succeed, that a mere physical disability could not stand in his way. Throughout the course of reading this book, I never saw Gordon Zahler as an object of pity; there were in fact times when I found him an entirely unsympathetic character. But he always came across as a human being, with all the debilitating flaws, and ennobling traits that characterize our species. And that to me is what makes a great biography. I look forward to Mr. Jacobs' next work.
Rookie of the Year May 1, 2008
"Wheeling the Deal" is a wonderful and cavorting tale about Gordon Zahler, the most unlikely of Hollywood players. His boyhood foreshadowed the rip-roaring life this soon-to-be quadriplegic would live. Every stop sign said "go." Every warning sign signaled an opportunity for a fresh surge of adrenaline. Then a gymnastics accident broke his neck at age 14.
The prognosis was death. But Zahler was both too stubborn to die and too stubborn to let the wheelchair that would become his life-long attachment keep him from living with the fullness he considered his birthright.
Cut off from the sense and pleasure of the rest of his body, Gordon Zahler lived entirely within the confines of his head. With little to do but think, wheelchair-bound Zahler rolled into Hollywood on the strength of his father's considerable collection of musical compositions. After several fits and starts, he eventually broke into Tinseltown in earnest, parlaying his father's musical collection into business relationships with the likes of horror-movie director Ed Wood.
Intoxicated by his success, Zahler wanted more influence, riches and notoriety. In time he built the most active post-production movie and TV house in Hollywood. He and wife Judy's traveled the world and hosted cocktail parties attended by the A-list likes of Sidney Sheldon, Jerry Lewis and Nat King Cole.
He also dreamed up many harebrained schemes that belly-flopped or never got off the ground.
Not all of these recollections are endearing. Zahler was a skinflint, paying his people miserly wages even as his own fortunes piled up. His parsimony ultimately drove away devoted longtime employees. Even those who handled Zahler's most basic human functions were subjected to his volcanic temper. That included his demanding and acidic treatment of his care-giving mother.
"Wheeling the Deal" also deals with family bonds, broken loyalties, cold-blooded murders and lost fortunes, right up to its heartbreaking finish.
Author Chip Jacobs, Gordon Zahler's nephew, bares his insecurities regarding his own membership in a chromosomal lineage that gave rise to his eccentric uncle and a retarded brother - even writing of his own accidental entry into the world.
This is the book Jacobs vowed he was never going to write, despite his mother's exhortations. Uncle Gordon's dying days were a freak show to the young Jacobs, making him about the most unsavory character he could imagine chronicling. Then the 1993 fire that swept the Altadena hills above Los Angeles turned a key Zahler family heirloom to ashes. Three years later, Jacobs covered the Malibu Canyon fire for the Daily News of Los Angeles and had an epiphany in its aftermath. A confluence of timing and events set his own imagination ablaze with the recognition of just how improbable and amazing a life his Uncle Gordon had led. The family lore was captured in newspaper clipping, oral histories, police records and legal documents that attested to the stamp Gordon Zahler put on Hollywood and the people around him.
First-time author Chip Jacobs tends to over-throttle the language in the first 25 pages, but the book quickly settles into solid storytelling with remarkable and engaging scenes, punctuated with endless bursts of energetic and artistic wordplay.
I'm already looking forward to this author's next book, which will tackle the history of smog.
There is a hot new pistol in the publishing industry, and its name is Chip Jacobs.