Ken Levine Publishes Memoir of Growing Up in 1960's
Emmy-award winner Ken Levine, whose writing credits include some of television's most iconic and revered series, has written a hilarious and affectionate memoir about growing up in the 1960's, the most turbulent decade of the 20th Century. Entitled The Me Generation... By Me (Growing Up in the '60s), the book recounts Levine's personal journey from adolescence to his birthday's exalted position of #4 in the draft lottery during the Viet Nam war era, while providing a loving travelogue of the land of palm trees and endless summer.
Choosing the hysterical rather than historical approach, The Me Generation... By Me (Growing Up in the '60s) is the first book by an award-winning comedy writer about the often-chronicled 1960s that is a first-person account of growing up in that exciting and confusing era. A graduate of Parkman Junior High, Taft High School and UCLA, Levine grew up in Woodland Hills in what was termed "over the hill" from Los Angeles itself. He opens his chronicle with descriptions of the glamorous Kennedy era and weaves his tale from there. Yes, there are references to the touchstones of the era-bomb shelters, bomb drills, Beatlemania, dress codes, acne, the Monkees, the Man From U.N.C.L.E., Batman, Hanoi Jane, Mr. Clean, Mr. Ed, Ed Sullivan, Love Ins and Laugh In as well as the author's hormone-infused adventures in teen sex, or lack thereof.As Levine so aptly puts it: "The Me Generation... By Me (Growing Up in the '60s) is a candid journey through those years as told by that weird guy from high school you wish you were nicer to in later years."
Rather than romanticizing the era, Levine takes the approach that 99.9999% of the largest generation the world has ever known grew up in the '60s and did not attend Woodstock, move to Haight-Ashbury or protest the war by burning banks or their bras. Those same baby boomers will recognize the key events of the era, triggering their own special memories of watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, the assassination of Robert Kennedy and the first time they saw Sonny and Cher. The Me Generation... By Me (Growing Up in the '60s) is the life story of 76,000,000 people, that 99.9999%. Ken Levine happened to be the one to write it.
Levine, whose early job experience behind the counter at Wallich's Music City in Topanga Plaza is documented in the book (he regularly threw a stoned Neil Young out of the store), parlayed his love of music into a post-graduation career as a radio disc jockey, spinning the hits on local rock stations as well as stations as far afield as San Francisco, Detroit and New York City. He moved on to film and television, writing over 200 and directing more than 40 episodes of network television a 30 year span. He was head writer for MASH, won an Emmy as producer of Cheers, was creative consultant on Frasier and Wings and co-creator of three original series. Yet despite such lofty credits, he says of The Me Generation: "This is the most personal thing I've ever written....and the most honest. For once, I couldn't hide behind fictional TV or movie characters. It's a lot easier to write Hawkeye and Sam Malone! But the more I researched the period and immersed myself in the era, the more I fell in love with it all over again. For all the angst and confusion, I do believe we had more fun back then than kids today. We really believed we could do anything, that the world was ours, and best of all - it was all still stretched out ahead of us. Who wouldn't want to re-live those glorious emotions?"
In addition to his television and film work, Levine also managed to marry two of his great passions-radio and baseball-by hosting the Dodger's post-game Dodger Talk program on the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network for eight years and doing radio/TV play-by-play for the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres. Ken is currently a play-by-play announcer for the Seattle Mariners.
He has published two other books: IT'S GONE!...NO, WAIT A MINUTE, a daily diary of his year as a play-by-play announcer for the Baltimore Orioles, and WHERE THE HELL AM I? TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED, a compilation of humorous travelogues from around the world. It continues to be one of Amazon's top selling travel books. Ken also writes a popular daily blog, "By Ken Levine" (www.KenLevine.blogspot.com) which was named one of the 25 Best Blogs of 2011 by Time Magazine.