Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:
Bob Blankfeld, Baltimore: I was recently watching the movie "Continental Divide" in which the late John Belushi plays a newspaper columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.
In one scene, which takes place at a local reporters' hangout, I thought I caught a glimpse of you sitting at the bar. I thought you gave a very realistic performance, and you could have a viable second career in case this newspaper thing doesn't work out.
If I'm correct, several questions come to mind:
1.) Was this the bar where you used to hang out with Roger Ebert?
2.) Did you just happen to be there when they were filming or did they recruit you for the movie?
3.) Did you have to do a screen test?
4.) What was it like working with John Belushi?
5.) Did you have any scenes with Blair Brown?
6.) Have you made any other films that I can check out on video?
COMMENT: Yes. Yes. No. Swell. Yes, but the censors cut them out. No, but in "Conan the Barbarian" I was Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double.
David Letterman, The Ed Sullivan Theater, New York: I was glad we had a chance to visit through the miracle of technology. Thanks for the interview. Take care and enjoy the rest of the summer.
COMMENT: Even though I know you have merely affixed your signature to a form letter, I appreciate it nonetheless. Allow me to explain:
In 1976, during the presidential primary in New Hampshire, I interviewed Walter Cronkite on what it was like to be the most trusted newscaster in America, etc., etc.
Then, four years later, when he was retiring, I interviewed him again while he was doing his last election-night broadcast from New Hampshire. And the first thing he said when I walked into the studio was: "Roger, what a pleasure to see you again. I believe we last spoke four years ago on this very spot."
I did not believe for a second that Walter Cronkite remembered me from four years ago. Nor did he expect me to. He knew and I knew that he had a really good staff that kept track of all that stuff.
But he also knew I would appreciate it if he pretended to remember me, which I did.
And the same goes for you, Dave. Even sending out just a form letter indicates a certain level of caring.
And I just want to say how much I appreciate it. Best of luck in all your future endeavors.
(Form Letter No. 176/Response to Form Letters.)
G. Robert Hillman, Washington, D.C.: Somebody has stolen one of your newspaper boxes and dumped it in the middle of the street near the Capitol. I thought you'd want to know.
COMMENT: That was no theft. It is part of The Sun's new "News from the Sky" program.
For the next 90 days, we are air-dropping newspaper boxes out of C-130 cargo planes in an effort to increase our circulation.
These drops are about as accurate as the Air Force's smart bombs, which are good, but not perfect.
The newspaper box you saw in the middle of the street near the Capitol actually had been targeted for Helen Bentley's office.
Glenn Tucker, Aiea, Hawaii: If you want a story, I have one for you and I was wondering if you could come down here to Hawaii to see me. It is about my case. I am in prison for something I did not do. I can tell you the whole story. I'm being framed for this and the one that did it is still out on the street. But if you want to
know more just come to Hawaii to the prison and I will tell you more.
COMMENT: I get letters from prisoners all the time, but I rarely investigate them because everybody in prison claims to be innocent and it always makes me wonder where all the guilty people are. (Actually, I know: Congress.)
But your letter, Glenn, has touched my heart. Maybe it has something to do with its poignancy.
Or the fact that your prison is on the island of Oahu about 15 miles from Waikiki Beach.
And even though I have a whole stack of letters from guys in Maryland prisons, I think I should give your case top priority.
So until I get there, hang loose.
And if you could have Don Ho meet me at the airport, I'd appreciate it.