"My father was in the hospital and every night when I visited him, I read aloud to him. James Thurber. And one night he said, 'You really should do that on your show,' and I said, 'Dad, it’s a television newscast. I’d love to, but how could it possibly fit?' And he said, 'How often have I ever suggested anything for your shows?' And I remembered that he never had. But I also reminded him that there were things like copyrights and bills, to which he said, 'Try it. You never know.'
"I began to read Thurber once a week on television, and continue to do so whenever and wherever I can. I’m happy to say this has sparked a mini-revival, which I hope erupts into a full-scale newfound appreciation for a man whose writings are nearly perfect. He did not intend them to be read aloud, but they are ideally suited for the task: clean, economical, vivid, full of crashes and thuds - and silences, too. And for that matter, they make wonderful tributes to memories - memories of my dad, and Rosemary Thurber’s."
—Keith Olbermann, May 19, 2011
Stories included in The James Thurber Audio Collection: "There’s No Place Like Home", "The Bear Who Let It Alone", "The Greatest Man in the World", "The Night the Ghost Got In", "I Went to Sullivant", "The Unicorn in the Garden", "How to Relax While Broadcasting", "The Tortoise and the Hare", "A Box to Hide In", "The Owl Who Was God", "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", "If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox", "The Moth and the Star", "The Dog That Bit People", "The Topaz Cufflinks Mystery", "The Little Girl and the Wolf", "The Macbeth Murder Mystery", "The Rabbits Who Caused All the Trouble", "The Night the Bed Fell", "Sex Ex Machina", "The Scotty Who Knew Too Much", "The Car We Had to Push", and "The Peacelike Mongoose".
Thrurber's oddities are thoroughly enjoyable, but may have been even more so if most had been presented by a less frenetic narrator. Olbermann did, however, have his moments, and the way he came to this was very touching...
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I had downloaded this book some time ago, and kept it as a 'buffer', to listen to when one audiobook ran out and there was no quick replacement. When I finally got to listen to it, I was pleasantly surprised. Olberman does a masterful job, and gets things out of the reading that truly adds to the enjoyment of these Thurber classics.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I remember James Thurber from high school when we did a play called "The Unicorn in the Garden". I enjoyed that so much I read some other short stories he had written like, "The Night The bed Fell" and the different fables he wrote.
All of these and more are included here and for the most part they really hold up today.
Keith Olbermann's introduction explains that he read these to his dying father in the hospital and his father told him he should do this for a living. So this selection is lovingly done with his father in mind.
I can't recommend this enough. It will have you falling on the floor laughing!
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
More Thurber in audiobook form should cause jubilation, and the 23 selections are among the most beloved of the author's writing (the cartoons are missing, of course). Keith Olbermann is therefore to be commended for undertaking the project.
One wishes, however, that the broadcaster's delivery was not so melodramatically urgent. Hard-sell punch was perfect for ESPN, and less so for his evening news/talk cable shows. With Thurber, it often creates the kind of cognitive dissonance that would occur if one was shaken awake by someone screaming, "I love you!"
One is pleased to find Audible also offers "My World and Welcome to It," read by a less-histrionic John Cullum, who allows the wit to sneak up on you rather than being shot from a cannon.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
I never realized just how much Olbermann presentation is perfectly suited to the wit and style of Thurber. He treats Thurber as I have always heard him inside my own head - with passion and excitability that makes it come alive. I shared these stories with my 14 year old daughter and we both had many laugh out loud moments. The collection feels short, but that is probably because I didn't want it to end.
Despite his self-laudatory first chapter, Olbermann is too heavy handed for Thurber's subtle understatement. Olbermann reads everything--including the news-- like he's the most important element. He's not. His overly dramatic reading spoiled Thurber. Don't waste your money on this.
The narrator's use of excessive emphasis and grunting and groaning distracts from the economy of Thurber's prose.
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
I wish the contents of anthologies were available in listings. Because unless a reviewer fills you in, you are buying a pig in a poke. This selection contains perhaps my favorite Thurber story, "The Night the Ghost Got In," but mostly consists of minor and obscure pieces. " The Secret
Life of Walter Mitty" is rightly considered iconic, but is pathetic rather than funny. Olberman's reading is enthusiastic but not that of a professional actor. Thurber doesn't need tons of expression to get across; his language is enough. And he has peculiar ideas about how Thurber's characters should sound. Ohio cops shouldn't sound like they grew up in Brooklyn.
Olbermann's own respect and appreciation for the times and tales of James Thurber and the vibrancy of his narration bring the words of James Thurber to life. Anyone in need of an escape to a simpler time will enjoy the masterful storytelling and lol fun to be heard here.
If you could sum up The James Thurber Audio Collection in three words, what would they be?
Varied, extraordinarily well articulated, top-notch Dramatic Interpretation.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The mother in the ghost story was so clearly illuminated through the entire vocalization ... nearly perfectly stereotyped franticly anxious maternal figure. It's an entirely different archetype from what I perceive Keith Olbermann's to be ... but it's obvious he was drawing from someone he's known!
Have you listened to any of Keith Olbermann’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I've listened to a few pieces by Keith Olbermann before ... he is a tremendous narrator and voice actor, and this talent really seemed to take off, be highlighted, by this vocal performance of Thurber's works ... it was ... the beginning, and I think one of his piece de resistances.
Any additional comments?
Though not written for narration, it is perfectly suited for it; I don't imagine anyone better than Keith Olbermann, himself a native New Yorker and broadcaster/media talent of a century, as was Thurber, could have brought this to life in this precise, exactly right kind of way.
The book had a good comedic yet wise feel but felt a bit sluggish at times and rushed in others if it was paced better it could score a higher rating
0 of 1 people found this review helpful