“Time To Thank” by Steve Guttenberg Tugs at the Heart

 

Actor Steve Guttenberg’s new book Time to Thank was released on May 21.

Actor Steve Guttenberg has written a new nonfiction book Time to Thank (PostHillPress) that was released on May 21, it is a poignant tale of a father-son relationship.

He writes, “Maybe you’re like me, someone who loves and cares for aging parents. And maybe, like me, you’re reluctant sometimes to remember that they aren’t still the strong and vigorous people who brought you up.”

This is a sad, funny story of growing up with his father, who also became his best friend. Steve’s dad is one those men who can strike up a conversation with anyone. It becomes obvious Stanley was a storyteller. When Steve is arrested by law enforcement on his regular drives from the Palisades Highlands to Arizona to give his father dialysis, the State Trooper won’t let Steve answer his phone, but does instead.

Steve’s father Stanley is calling and starts chatting with the Trooper. Steve writes “I watch as he and my father talk. My father was regaling this man with stories of walking the beat with his grandfather, nearly seventy years earlier.”

Once they hang up the policeman said, “Your dad worked with my grandfather in the city.”

As the trooper undid Steve’s handcuffs, he said. “Your dad did a good job. He was on the job when it was really hard. He must be a strong man.”

To which Steve replied “He is. And still soft on the inside.”

With this book Steve has proved, like his father, he’s a storyteller, too. This book feels intimate as if the author is chatting with the reader about how he made it in Hollywood, how he was supported by his parents as he navigated into his adult life and then how he learned to give his dad dialysis.

Although the book starts with “My father has kidney failure,” this book is a celebration of life, love and of course, stories.

The book is sprinkled with the encouragement his dad gave him. When Steve received his first role in “The Boys from Brazil,” he wasn’t so sure acting was the life he wanted: inconsistent and the anxiety that comes from a freelance profession.

He spoke to his parents and then went to bed. “I woke up the next morning with my dad sitting at the foot of my bed. “Anything, Steven?”

“I want to do it, Dad.”

“Good choice. And let’s see what happens next. That’s the excitement of life—what’s next.”

Steve said, “I’ve lived that way ever since.”

Stanley was a fitness buff, who lifted weights and could do handstands for hours. When Steve was 13, he complained to his dad that everyone at school was bigger than he was.  Steve wrote about his dad, “He looked like Hercules; I looked like Howdy Doody.”

His dad started working out with him every night. They did arms, chest and back on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “We curled and benched and strained until I couldn’t push the iron anymore. Legs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday: running outside, sprints and sidesteps. Night after night he trained me.”

Steve said that after three years, “I gained fifty pounds of muscle. My arms were no longer sticks but bricks of flesh. . . .And it was my father that did it. No one else – he did it.”

Stanley told Steve “Dream, and you can do it, son. Always remember that.”

What lengths do fathers go for their sons? When Steve was making The Ferret, directed by Blake Edwards, Stanley came along to watch. Edwards explained that Steve would jump about 30 feet, onto an airbag.

Steve did not want to disappoint Edwards, but it was clear this wasn’t something he wanted to do. Then dad stepped in and said, “I’ll do it, Mr. Edwards. “I’ll try it out for Steven, and if it’s safe, as I’m sure it is, he’ll do it after. Deal?”

“Mr. Guttenberg, have you ever jumped from thirty feet?” Edwards asked.

“‘No, I haven’t,’ Stanley said. Everyone, including Mr. Edwards, sighed. ‘But I have jumped from fifteen hundred feet. I’m a Ranger.’” Stanley served in the Army in the 82nd Airborne in Korea.

This is such a delightful story, it should be read in its entirety, this reviewer won’t spoil it.

Steve wrote “More important than individual items was the powerful sense he carried with him: everything was going to be alright. . . .”

Steve writes “I’m happy and so grateful that I had my life with my dad. But for me, it was too short. I would have liked an eternity with my dad. He was that kind of guy. He had a long, good life – it just wasn’t enough for this son.”

Stanley Guttenberg died on July 11, 2022.

Guttenberg, a former Palisades Honorary Mayor, is known for his role in films including Diner, Police Academy, Short Circuit , Three Men and a Baby , and television shows including Ballers and Veronica Mars . He has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He wrote and performed in the play, Tales from the Guttenberg Bible this past summer. His previous books include The Guttenberg Bible (2012) and the children’s book The Kids from DISCO (2014).

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One Response to “Time To Thank” by Steve Guttenberg Tugs at the Heart

  1. M says:

    WONDERFUL! Can’t wait to buy the book.

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