DOWN THE ACADEMY

I would like to thank the academy for limiting Oscar acceptance speeches to 45 seconds, thus enabling a billion people to hear the Interminable Willie Nelson Medley featuring the Worst Guitar Solo of All Time.

Perhaps if speeches had been eliminated entirely, they could have heard Willie sing "Jambalaya" with Dr. Haing S. Ngor or maybe--sorry, my 45 seconds are up.

Hit it, Willie and Milos!

NEAL McCABE

Los Angeles

I have heard two reasons for why the producers turned down Phil Collins offer to sing his Oscar-nominated song "Against All Odds" and instead invited Ann Reinking to perform:

One, the producers wanted someone who was a stage performer and could dance. Judging from the performance by Reinking, I would think it would have been a much better idea to have Collins sing as the dancers danced. Two, which is even more ridiculous, the Academy is more interested in celebrating the motion picture industry and not the music or television industries.

Why, then, did both Ray Parker Jr. and Deneice Williams perform? At least Collins has acting experience both on film and on London's West End.

Collins was treated shabbily by the academy. Reinking did an incredible job of totally destroying a beautiful song. The best that can be said about her performance is that the stage set was nice.

SUSAN ALEXANDER

Sherman Oaks

I can't believe that Gregory Peck and company would begrudge record companies the exposure their artists might have gotten if they had all sung their own songs on the Academy Awards telecast.

Phil Collins was good enough for "Against All Odds" the film. All of a sudden he's not part of the film industry and shouldn't appear on the awards telecast?

Imagine "Footloose" or "Amadeus" without the songs. Unlike the Academy Awards telecast, they'd suffer greatly from the loss.

JACKIE FOX

West Hollywood

Convicted criminals should be punished by making them watch the Academy Awards.

EVELYN & ADAM KUCIA

Canoga Park

OFF KEYES

According to my sources (which are numerous), the movie "Mrs. Mike" had a release date of 1949, not 1950 ("Very Close Encounters With Oscar," by Evelyn Keyes, March 24). Keyes (a nice lady) will have to find another reason (excuse) for not being nominated for an Oscar (Academy Award). She cannot blame the producer.

And although the 1949 group of nominees--Olivia De Havilland (the exception), Jeanne Crain, Susan Hayward, Loretta Young and Deborah Kerr--was not as formidable as the 1950 group (Judy Holliday, Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Eleanor Baxter and Gloria Swanson), they were all better than Keyes (my opinion and apparently that of the academy).

Methinks the lady put too much faith in gossip columnist Louella Parsons (a common mistake in those days) and not enough faith in the public's ability to remember (a common mistake these days). She should have known better (I did).

By the way, aren't our (Keyes' and mine) parentheses cute? (I don't think so either.)

REGGIE WILSON (a nice guy)

Los Angeles

THEM FOR AFRICA

I'm so appalled every time I see or hear the "U.S.A. for Africa" appeal I could almost throw up.

I understand that all of the royalties from sales of this obviously quasi-humanitarian gesture are going to help Africa, but I guarantee you that if Kenny Rogers, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and all of the others on the video really wanted to do such a good work they could collectively donate 10% of their combined earnings for 1984 and feed Africa on their own without having to resort to such propagandizing on the airwaves.

E. ESPINOSA

Chatsworth

Some people have all the talent. Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson have written one of the most inspirational, albeit habit-forming, songs in years.

Unfortunately, before I was able to commit the lyrics to memory, I contracted Weird Al Yankovic Syndrome and began wrongfully singing these words:

WE ARE THE WOOL

There comes a time, when you need a virgin lamb

Just to raise and sacrifice for its coat.

You could go synthetic, or try out something else,

But who wants a suit that's made out of goat?!

You'll come to find there's no substitute for wool,

When you seek what's chic as well as what's warm.

Don't forsake le mouton ; he stands for quality,

Unless you really want to buy the whole farm.

Chorus

We are the wool, we are the mutton

We are the sheep that make a sweater great; ask E.F. Hutton

There's a choice to make here, and surely you'll agree

That wool will make a better suit for you and me.

A.I. COLLINS

Laguna Beach

Exegesis anyone? BIG-TOP RELIGION?

The review of the Rev. Robert Schuller's "The Glory of Easter" fit snugly in the correct section, Calendar, wherein we find theatrical reviews ("Show-Biz Side of Easter Events," by Herman Wong, March 19).

One must pause to wonder what is the image of this evangelical minister, a religious, ethical leader or an entrepreneur of theatrical ventures and attendant commercialism?

I have heard and appreciate the Fifth Dimension and Tony Bennett, but in their native habitats, Las Vegas, not as part of a projected but aborted series in what is supposed to be a religious venue.

To me, hearing the marvelous Passion Play, all six hours of it, at Oberammergau last July was an experience to always treasure. Here was genuine dignity sans theatrical overkill. I still remember the Pilgrimage Play in the Hollywood Hills with Nelson Leigh portraying Christ with resonant authority, yet with all due scriptural adherence.

Now we've come full circle with the Tinseltown Crystal Cathedral approach. I pass on this one. No thanks.

FRANK R. WYNNE

Los Alamitos

SWEET BIMBOS

Not only do I support those who criticized Connie Johnson's labeling of Madonna, etc., as "Bimbo" rock and her narrow view of women's sexuality in general (Calendar Letters, March 17 and 24), but I would like to pose the following questions:

So Madonna sings a song about a woman who has had several lovers and whose newest lover makes her feel "like a virgin" again. So what?

Considering that a recent survey shows that 80% of unmarried American women in their 20s have had sexual intercourse, I suspect the feeling expressed in this song is not only relatively common, but rather sweet.

MRS. JANICE R. STINE

Los Angeles

Kevin Sweeney (Calendar Letters, March 17) seems to wonder why he should be ashamed about preferring Madonna over Cyndi Lauper (who is less attractive).

To point out the obvious, Madonna has a vocal range of about two notes versus Cyndi's four-octave range. Since you cannot see a performer on the radio (or on a record), this difference actually strikes me as important.

For some bizarre reason, I usually prefer singers who can sing (whether attractive or not).

If Madonna or Vanity weighed 200 pounds (and still had their same weak voices), no man in the recording industry would give them the time of day, let alone a recording contract.

LAURA SMITH

Modesto

If women were not sex symbols for men, and vice-versa, there wouldn't be any.

LEO AY

San Juan Capistrano

PAPER CHASE

Thanks a lot guys.

On March 17 somebody screwed up and we didn't get the paper (in fact, our whole neighborhood didn't).

Now I find out (from reading March 24th's letters) that I missed an interview with Bono Hewson ("U2's Perilous Life at the Top," by Robert Hilburn, March 17). U2 is my favorite group! How could you do this to me?

I want restitution.

SUSAN KOPF

Glendora

The tear-sheet is in the mail and the circulation department is on the case.

SAG'S BOYCOTT, PART 2

Mark McIntire of Actors Working for an Actors Guild is mistaken with respect to the Screen Actors' Guild position on anti-blacklist (Calendar Letters, March 24).

It is a matter of record that he was present at the Hollywood Board meeting at which the enabling resolution on this matter was passed, but perhaps his attention wandered during the debate; or possibly he simply listened without understanding.

He seems also to have forgotten that he voted against the resolution in question. It follows herewith, passed by the majority of the Hollywood Board, despite McIntire's opposition:

MOTION (March 4):

Screen Actors Guild shall never condone the blacklisting of actors and/or performers by any organization for any reason at any time. Therefore be it moved:

That Screen Actors Guild go publicly on record deploring and censuring any organization which engages in the publication of a list of actors and/or performers whose effect would be to cause the named actors and/or performers to become unemployable. And be it further moved:

That Screen Actors Guild directly address the appropriate body of the United Nations with the aim of negotiating an end of the publication by the United Nations of lists of actors and/or performers deemed unacceptable to the United Nations for any reason. And be it further moved:

That our action against this injury to our members does not either contradict or rescind Screen Actors Guild's previously stipulated position of anti-apartheid. NORMA CONNOLLY

11th Vice President, SAG

Maker of the motion

A letter from Dean Santoro, 3rd vice president of SAG, made similar points and also criticized The Times for "abetting the self-serving, attention-getting tactics" of McIntire.

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