Mail from our readers
Your tribute issue to Johnny Carson was the absolute best I have ever seen. I enjoyed seeing the time line of events, which brought back many for-gotten memories.
Allen Park, Mich.
I applaud you for your excellent article on Johnny Carson’s farewell! He’s the king of comedy and he’ll be deeply missed.
There is only one thing I cannot forgive Johnny Carson for — he wasn’t there that night in May 1968 when John Lennon and Paul McCartney dropped by.
The special reason I bought the Carson issue was the comic pages. They added a real dimension of diversity missing from the knee-jerk quotes even a usual member of The Tonight Show audience would render. Brent Tozzer
EDGINESS AT PBS
Even Ken Tucker’s barbed review of PBS’ Edge lets public television off too easily. The cultural imperialism of PBS programming appeals to an increasingly small percentage of taxpayers — the rest of us are being forced to subsidize astonishingly boring, Anglophilic programming in an age of exploding entertainment choices. Given the quality of work available on Bravo, A&E, and at the video store, it’s time for the federal government to pull the plug on public TV. Besides, I’d be glad to pay cash money to shut up Bill Moyers.
Ken tucker may not lament the passing of Edge from the PBS lineup because he found Edge all too safe, but what other TV-magazine format gave viewers half as many wittily self-deprecating and refreshingly untelegenic correspondents? What other series allowed so many pompous ”culture makers” — from Jeff Koons to Steven Bochco — to skewer themselves so cleanly? This may not amount to edginess, but maybe this fine program was merely misnamed.
AT ‘COURT’ SIDE
I am frightened by Ken Tucker’s ”Farewell to Night Court: A Closing That Gets No Argument.” In an era where good television is almost impossible to find, he seems to take an awfully long time to tear apart one of the funniest shows that has ever been on. Goodnight, Night Court. We’ll continue to watch you in syndication for years and years. Mr. Tucker, get a sense of humor. The joke’s on you.
Canoga Park, Calif.
‘L.A. LAW’ REBIRTH
Regarding your article on L.A. Law, I was surprised to see that the show has signed actor A Martinez as a regular. I recall that Martinez had a one-show stint (on the season finale) two years ago, in which he played a man we see executed in the California gas chamber. Maybe this once-dead cast addition will give the dying L.A. Law a second life.
In Susan Stewart’s article about world music in the Kids section, she says that listening to world music ”increases a kid’s tolerance, broadens his knowledge, and helps him understand his heritage.” I’d like to tell her that using the male gender pronoun to mean kids of both genders increases intolerance, because it implies that girls and women are not as important as boys and men, and keeps future generations maintaining their sexist heritage.
Amy L. Taipale
In your review of Music Classics: Volumes 1-3, you use the phrase “pop sugar candy” to describe a performance by Gene Austin, an immensely popular entertainer from the 1920s. Austin made hundreds of records between 1924 and 1942, and they varied from country to blues to pop tunes of the day. His singing style, a crooning tenor voice with just a touch of Texas drawl, sounds more “hot” than “sweet.” A cross between Gene Autry and Rudy Vallee is a better description. Austin is but one of many performers who have faded into obscurity, only to be rediscovered after digging through layers of big-band, post-big-band, and rock & roll-era nostalgia.
STILL KING OF POP
As a fan of Michael Jackson, I follow his career rather closely. As a result I can assure you that Dangerous was Billboard’s No. 1 pop album for four weeks beginning Dec. 14. And it took over two years for Bad to sell 6.5 million copies in the U.S. and 18 million in the rest of the world. You report that Dangerous has sold 5 million in the U.S. and 8 million abroad in only four months. Sounds like a hit to me!