Sam Gennawey reviews two interesting books for Disney fans today.  First up King of the Jesters, the Danny Kaye biography from David Koenig.  And after that is New Media For Designers + Builders by Stephen Mouzon. Let’s see what Sam thinks!

DANNY KAYE: King of Jesters

Kaye Dust Jacket Layout_Layout 1

David Koenig


303 pages

$27.95 Bonaventure Press


I am a big, big fan of Danny Kaye. So the idea that somebody of David Koenig’s talent tried to capture his life in a biography was something that I had been looking forward to. I was not disappointed. David does an incredible job bringing to life this brilliant entertainer.

The book is a comprehensive review of Danny Kaye’s work. Every film, television show, audio recording, and cameos are documented in great detail. But it is Koenig’s sharp clear style that moves the story along. You learn of Danny Kaye’s complex personal and  professional relationship with his wife Sylvia.

Of course, Danny Kaye has become part of the Disney theme park story as well. The Kraft Salutes Disneyland’s 25th Anniversary television program aired March 6, 1980 on CBS. He also hosted EPCOT Center: The Opening Celebration on NBC, which aired on October 23, 1982.

In the Disneyland show, Kaye portrayed fourteen different characters as he toured about the park. The show was such a success, Disney brought him back for the EPCOT Center grand opening show. According to Koenig, Kaye was upset that there were always tour groups milling about getting in the way and it was very, very hot. After the taping, Kaye was asked to return for the actual grand opening. He was very hesitant and was not a happy camper during the event. Disney executives vowed never to have Kaye work for the studio again.

Well written. Detailed without being overwhelming. After reading the book I just wanted to (and did) revisit many of Kaye’s film with a fresh pair of eyes. To that end, my awe for Kaye has not diminished.

I purchased the book from the author at a recent Disneyana sale.




Stephen A. Mouzon


If you work in the architecture, engineering or urban planning trades, you realize that the past few years have been miserable. In fact, according to the author more than half of the people working in the field in 2005 have left to work in other industries. With the industry devastated and the world around it changing, Mouzon has come up with a formula on how we professionals should communicate with one another, how to partner on projects, how to market ourselves. It is a very compelling message.

Mouzon says of the industry, “We’re not selling widgets online; our business is more bricks and mortar than clicks and orders.” However, that does not stop him from reviewing the entire array of communications technologies. He cautions, “Today, nobody wants to be treated like a military target. And we don’t want to be talked to…we want to have a conversation.” That is because we are in “the Age of the Idea.” To succeed in this business, the author suggests that your firm’s prime virtues have to be patience, generosity, and connectedness.

For older geezers like myself, it is a straight forward inventory of the tools available, their features, advantages, and benefits. Mouzon takes advantage of the e-Book format with links and discussion boards. Major points are presented in red font for a quick read. The book is meant to be updated frequently.

Is the book relevant to people outside the industry? I think so. I think that anybody who sells ideas for a living will find a great deal of value from the book. Those who are trying to sort through all of the tools to see which ones make sense for them will find the book very helpful. I was so inspired I have started to use my own personal blog, Samland’s Disney Adventures, differently.

I received a pre-publication version of e-book for free in exchange for the purpose of this review.


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Sam Gennawey is an urban planner who has collaborated with communities throughout California over the course of more than 100 projects to create a great, big, beautiful tomorrow. Sam is a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Regional Planning History Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving municipal, county, and private sector planning documents from throughout Los Angeles County. Sam is the author of Walt and the Promise of Progress City which you can find on Amazon.