Ken Tucker
June 28, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A terrific premise resides in Steven Lance’s Written out of Television: A TV Lover’s Guide to Cast Changes 1945-1994. Here is a book that reminds you why fan is short for fanatic: Lance has tracked shifts in casting in shows both obscure (anyone remember Dr. Simon Locke?) and famous (did you know that Butch Patrick may have gotten the role of Eddie in The Munsters because the mother of Lost in Space‘s Billy Mumy didn’t want her son buried under all that makeup?). Lance is no great prose stylist, but his anecdotes about the cutthroat nature of the TV industry are frequently both funny and revealing. And I do like his idea of a footnote: ”From an exclusive telephone interview with Butch Patrick on November 15, 1991.” B+

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