Average Americans weigh in on the writers’ strike

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

A few weeks ago we headed out to average America’s favorite LA gathering spot -- Hollywood and Highland -- to see just how much a regular person cares about the proposed writers’ strike. There among the handprint gazers, the picture posers and the bucket drum listeners, we learned that most Americans, or at least the ones who travel to L.A., were aware of a brewing strike. How much they cared though, was up for debate.

“What came first, the chicken or the egg?”

The first of the average folks we encountered was Adam England, a 26-year-old accountant who lives in the San Fernando Valley and his 22-year-old friend Robert Dawson, visiting from Missouri.

England had heard about the strike on the radio. “I think I heard the [writers] want more money. I know every one wants more money and the writers have every right to bargain for it,” he said.

Dawson, who works in customer service, had not heard about the strike, but listened thoughtfully as a reporter explained the situation.

So what did he think? “I think it’s a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg,” he replied.

No TV for the grim reaper.

A masked grim reaper stood outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, gliding around in black robes and clutching a scythe. When asked what he though of the writers’ strike he seemed to think it was some sort of sports team. “I’m not from here. I root for my own teams,” he said.

Upon further explanation, he said he didn’t care either way. Apparently the grim reaper does not own a television.

“I thought they went through that already.”

Lytle Allen, 68, a mustachioed, retired Lt. Col. for the U.S. Air Force, was in town from Montgomery, Ala. He had heard a bit about the strike on the evening news back home and believes that writers should receive a percentage of residuals. “I think it’s fair,” he said.

But he also seemed a little frustrated that his favorite shows -- “ER” and “Cane” might go off the air.

“I thought they went through all that just a few years ago,” he said.

“We’ll stockpile it.”

Garry Erck, a network engineer for Intel, also knew about the strike but hadn’t given much thought to it one way or the other. He feels that writers should be paid on their merit and if they are good, he doubts they will have any trouble getting paid.

As for what he’ll do if his favorite shows go off the air -- “The Office” and “My Name Is Earl” -- he didn’t seem too concerned.

“We have Tivo so we’ll stockpile it,” he said.