When it comes to entertainment, Americans like their choices multiple. There’s room for Pretty Woman Julia Roberts and Hungry Man Hannibal Lecter, for the jolting In Living Color and the gentle Northern Exposure, for Mariah Carey’s unplugged voice and Michael Bolton’s electrified hair. Okay. So much for fairness. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, right? Thus, our second annual survey of the nation’s tastes in entertainment. We asked 600 Americans what makes them swoon (Mel Gibson), snooze (TV golf), shriek (Rebecca De Mornay), and smile (nobody more than Tim Allen). For more about all of them, read on.
Would you rather be a superstar actor or a world-class athlete for a day?
Men would rather walk a mile in Michael Jordan’s shoes than Michael J. Fox’s, but women are torn between being Julia Roberts and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Nonwhites are the only group that would choose the actor’s life over the sporting life, and — perhaps reflecting shrinking star salaries and booming ballplayer bucks — people who make more than $50,000 a year are most interested in switching bodies with a jock.
Who is Brandon Tartikoff?
Head of a bog movie studio 26%
Child movie star 12%
Award-winning novelist 11%
Pro Wrestling announcer 9%
Don’t know 31%
Who is Michael Ovitz?
Head of a Hollywood talent agency 18%
Weatherman on CBS This Morning 15%
Secretary of education 10%
Inventor of a birth control pill 9%
They’re two of Hollywood’s biggest names, but only 1 in 4 Americans can identify Paramount studio chief Tartikoff and even fewer know who CAA superagent Ovitz is. Nearly as many people think Ovitz is the weatherman on CBS This Morning as the deal-maker extraordinaire whose clients include everyone from Barbra Streisand to Steven Spielberg.
Which has done more to undermine the American family: Hollywood or Washington?
Take that, Dan Quayle! The Vice President’s campaign to defend ”family values” against the immoral onslaught of Hollywood’s cultural elite seems to be blowing up in his face. Though the 15-to-24 age group deplores Tinseltown slightly more than Our Nation’s Capital, more than 60 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds think real politicians harm the family unit more than fictional unwed newscaster-mothers.
Who has sillier hair: singer Michael Bolton or newsman Sam Donaldson?
Sam Donaldson 49%
Michael Bolton 45%
The dubious honor goes to Donaldson by a hair (although ”hair” may not be the word for his Vulcanized thatch). But bad news for Bolton: More than half of 15- to 24-year-olds say his curling-iron crimps are a tonsorial tragedy.
The Dog Ate My Ballot
And other poll answers we find a bit hard to swallow
54% say they have never rented a videotape and then returned it without watching it.
61% say they seldom or never simply sit and flip through channels on their TV sets.
68% say they have never bought a product as a result of a celebrity endorsement.
88% say they have never watched television for longer than six hours at a time.
Sure, we believe that Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts are your favorite actor and actress, and we even believe that L.A. Law is your favorite drama series — old habits die hard. But when it comes to some of your responses to questions about your personal habits, pardon us if we’re a little skeptical. We know you like to think of yourselves as active, patient, organized, responsible individuals, but give us a break! Fifty-four percent of you have never rented a videotape and then returned it without watching it? (Like you’ve never asked yourself, ”Do I really want to pay an extra two bucks so I can watch Three Men and a Little Lady tomorrow night?”) Sixty-one percent of you rarely, if ever, sit in front of your television set just flipping through channels? (And we suppose you’re baffled by the title of Bruce Springsteen’s new single ”57 Channels (And Nothin’ On).”) Sixty-eight percent of you have never been inspired by a celebrity endorsement to buy a product? (Come on, you know you wanted to spend the night in a Quality International motel after Tip O’Neill popped out of that suitcase!) Eighty-eight percent of you have never watched television for more than six hours in a row? (Who among us hasn’t sat down to watch the six o’clock news and eight hours later were fighting to stay awake through the conclusion of Bob Costas’ two-part interview with Abe Vigoda?) Really, what kind of fools do you take us for?