Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. Notre Dame Coach Digger Phelps said, "I used this book as an inspiration for the biggest win of my career when we ended UCLA's all-time 88-game winning streak in 1974."

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. Click the Book to read the players telling their stories in their own words. This is the book that UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan tried to ban.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information.

Hairspray (3/10)

by Tony Medley

If you want to see an entertaining musical, one with pretty girls and tuneful songs and great dancing, avoid Hairspray. While this is supposed to be a simple story of a fat girl, Tracy Turnblad (4-foot, 10-inch Nikki Blonsky), who wants to dance on The Corny Collins Show, an American Bandstand- type TV show in Philadelphia in 1962, a great musical it is not.

While it is true that there are many fat people who are light on their feet and are very good dancers, Blonsky isn’t one of them. Although trained as a singer, she really has no background in dance, and it shows. This is puzzling casting because the character loves to dance. But when Blonsky dances, it’s embarrassing.

And the story of the fat girl trying to get on the show, which is what the Broadway play was about, has been sublimated to a story of racial equality and civil rights. The movie has elevated what was the slowest part of the play into the central story of the movie, the idea that Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer), the owner of the station (who wants her daughter, Amber (Brittany Snow), to be the lead female dancer on the show) wants to end “Negro Day,” the one day a week the show devotes to black dancers, entirely. Tracy comes to help them. This turns the play on its ear, as in the play it was the blacks who came to Tracy’s aid to get her a slot on the show.

This leads to the worst part of a bad movie, a march in the street, not to get Tracy on the show, but to get the blacks on the show, singing a dirge-like “I Know Where I’ve Been.” Director Adam Shankman’s march is so amateurish, it had me thinking of Nelson Eddy and his compatriots marching to battle singing Sigmund Romberg & Oscar Hammerstein’s song, “Give me some men who are stout hearted men who will fight for the right they adore,” a scene that has become a fatuous cliché. At least the Romberg-Hammerstein song was tuneful with good lyrics. I can’t say that for the music of Marc Shaiman and lyrics of Scott Wittman and Shaiman.

The color is very good in this movie. The cars are vintage 1962. I’m straining here to find something good to say about it. That’s about all I can think of.

This flunked the watch test in spades. I was looking at mine at least every five minutes.

At best, the music is forgettable, except for the last number, “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” which wisely sends the audience out the door remembering the only good thing in the film. The choreography is less than compelling, mostly people just jumping around, except for the last number.

Poor Michele Pfeiffer is but a shadow of her former self. She looked to me as if she has an eating disorder, so emaciated is she. Christopher Walken, who is an accomplished actor, has a role that is devoid of meaning or content. Why an actor of his stature would accept such a role is puzzling.

John Travolta plays Tracy’s mother, Edna Turnblad. This role was played by Harvey Fierstein on Broadway and he played it as a transvestite. I didn’t see the show, but apparently he carried the play. Lord knows, it needs something to carry it. Alas, Travolta doesn’t play it that way. He just plays it as if he’s an ugly, fat woman. I could see no reason for a man playing the role the way Travolta chose to play it. Travolta adds nothing to the film, except for his star appeal and that he’s playing a woman. That novelty wears off fast. Better they cast an ugly, fat woman.

This is another film that clumsily bangs you over the head with political values that were not in the play. You just can’t keep Hollywood down; it must preach and preach and preach. If only some of them knew Western Union’s telephone number, maybe we wouldn’t have to endure their simplistic messages, and pay for the privilege, to boot.