A consummate collection of memorabilia photographed by Joe Pellegrini appears alongside the musings of the TV/Film industry veteran, who reflects on pop culture’s influence in the U.S. dating back to World War II; readers get a chance, and an excuse, to reminisce while taking a walk down memory lane.
In director, writer, and producer Brian Levant’s book “My Life and Toys,’ the author shares his extensive collection of toys from comics, TV, and films - placing them center stage in print. Photographer Joe Pellegrini chronicled Levant’s collection, which spans media history, starting with the author’s childhood favorite shows, The Flintstones and The Lone Ranger. From there, it proceeds to mementos collected from TV series Levant wrote and produced, including Mork & Mindy and Happy Days, and films he directed, like Beethoven.
“My Life and Toys” is a roadmap of Levant’s career, starting as a child, watching Saturday morning cartoons and the newest installments of his favorite shows. His collection includes action figures from his work, captured in detail by Pellegrini’s photographs. Levant’s narrative accompanies the images with musings on how these figures have inspired his work and their meaning in the larger pop culture thread.
The book is a walk-through memory lane, likely to appeal to readers who grew up reading comics or fighting over the television dial to watch a favorite show. A time capsule of sorts, readers get an opportunity to reminisce about the characters and stories from their childhood.
Levant’s collection serves as an archive of pop culture, providing a context for its influence in the United States dating back to World War II. “My Life and Toys” is a mirror used by the author to reflect his passions and desire to influence the next generation of writers and directors.
An entertainment industry veteran, Levant’s television credits include Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, and the Bad News Bears. His credits as a film director include Beethoven; The Flintstones; The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; Jingle All The Way; Snow Dogs; Are We There Yet?; and The Spy Next Door. In addition, he has lectured at his alma mater, the University of New Mexico, and at the University of Arizona, where he regularly speaks to and works with film students. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and four gigantic dogs.