Based on a book and stage play by Carl Reiner, about his early days and entry into show business. He’s utterly hopeless at first, and Jose Ferrer misses no opportunity to tell him so, with scathing wit. Reiner is played by Reni Santoni, who does a pretty good job of showing that stage fright can be an almost fatal condition. They are supported nicely by the great Elaine May and the always whining Shelley Winters. It’s a standard story, I guess, but well-told and obviously from the heart. His first job entails him paying Ferrer to perform, as if it were acting lessons, while at the same time doing all the scut work. But even in these reduced circumstances you can see the attraction of a life on the stage … or I can, anyway. And I might have run away to join a traveling troupe myself if my stage fright hadn’t been fully as bad as this boy’s. But I still have had a lifelong fascination with the stage and the screen … and hell, the circus, the carnival, dance, concerts, anywhere that artists, good or bad, put their hearts out there and invite them to be trampled. Goes with the territory, and it’s a glorious land if you can live there.