Just a note to thank you for the fine piece on Ken Berry [“A Joy To See Him in Action,” Dec. 4, by Robert Lloyd]. I interviewed Ken in the early 1970s for a magazine. He was one of the nicest celebrities I’ve ever met. He spent about a half day with me, answering my questions and just talking. It was as if we were longtime friends, rather than having just met each other. A true gentleman.
Thank you for your thoughtful remembrance of Ken Berry. I’m especially glad that you mentioned his “Wow” television series. Though it was short-lived, and is rarely mentioned, it remains one of my all-time favorite television shows.
I remember going to see “Herbie Rides Again” and “The Cat From Outer Space” in theaters as a kid. I always enjoyed Mr. Berry’s performance. My favorite remains “F-Troop” though. May he rest in peace.
I enjoyed your column today on the late Ken Berry, a talented and often overlooked performer. It’s interesting that you mention Jerry Van Dyke, but you omitted Mr. Berry’s charming recurring role on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” playing the choreographer for the fictional “Alan Brady Show.” He will be missed.
My gratitude for your poetic appreciation of Ken Berry. His grace and gentility have rarely been recognized with such respect.
Robert Lloyd’s appreciation mentioned Buster Keaton, who honored Ken’s long, clumsy (artful) walk in the first “F. Troop” show by coming over, with ingredients, and making him a lobster bisque.
Please mention that in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.
Editor’s note: Joseph was married to Berry from 1960 to ’76.
Divided over Fox Nation
“Fox Nation” sounds like Fox News on steroids [“And the Verdict Is ...,” Nov. 29, by Lorraine Ali]. What genius came up with the idea that America really needs Fox Nation to dream up more ways to divide, enrage and conquer our already seriously divided body politic?
Brilliant and farsighted journalists like Edward R. Murrow were terribly naive. They actually envisioned television could succeed as a majestic vehicle to inform, educate, unite and make better citizens of the American public.
I have to wonder how your assessment of a streaming platform for CNN or MSNBC would be described. I’ll bet that it wouldn’t be full of divisive, condescending and acidic narrative like the one on Fox Nation.
“While the Fox Nation agenda is clear — enrage, divide, placate, repeat — the execution of the media giant’s new platform is a more muddled and confusing affair.”
Replace “Fox Nation” in the above sentence with “Los Angeles Times” and the article reads the same. Pure hypocrisy.
Hearty welcome to a maestro
Regarding “A homecoming for L.A.-Infused ‘Playthings’” [Dec. 3]: When Michael Tilson Thomas was principal guest conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic back in the ’80s, one of the last performances we heard was Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” overture. It was a remarkable, powerful performance that we will always remember. Following that, it seemed he went into exile or was banished.
Happily, as Mark Swed observed, we have finally had his homecoming, and it’s about time. Last Sunday, we heard him lead our magnificent orchestra in his own work, “Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind,” in which he displayed a remarkable gift for orchestration as well as composition. Then the Tchaikovsky 6th, as beautiful and dynamic a performance as one can ever hope to hear. Welcome back, maestro.
A fine review of a fine book
Regarding the review of Tyler Malone’s review of “Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters 1542 to 2018” [“Angles on the City of Angels,” Dec. 2], how could this book be any more wonderful than this blissfully delightful review? Thank you so much for this Sunday treat in the form of a book review.
The Central Park Five case fallout
Regarding “Writer’s Past Not Worthy of Award” [Nov. 29]: I was disappointed that The Times allowed a mystery writer (apparently a non-practicing attorney) to pronounce an unsubstantiated legal opinion of prosecutorial misconduct about a career prosecutor.
No court, bar association, legislative body or any other entity has ever found prosecutorial misconduct in connection with that case until this newspaper mistakenly did so.
Stephen G. Wolfe
Linda Fairstein’s role in the Central Park Five prosecution is soul-staining and her legacy. The Mystery Writers of America did the right thing when they withdrew their honor from her.
I am surprised that the editors published this “hit piece.” As an avid reader of Fairstein’s mysteries I fail to see what a case from almost 30 years ago has to do with recognizing her talents as a writer.
Ira M. Landis
A near-perfect ‘Green Book’
Regarding “A Road Trip Into the Maw of Racism,” film critic Kenneth Turan’s review of “Green Book” [Nov. 16]: We went to a Saturday morning screening of the “Green Book.” When the movie ended, we all applauded. And as we were leaving people were still sitting in their seats watching the credits and wanting more. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali were at the top of their game, the re-creation of the early ’60s and soundtrack spot on, and this movie sends a message to Trump and the Americans cheering at his race-baiting rallies. The “dream factory” delivers a movie as near to perfect as one can hope for.
Undeserved faint praise
I was dismayed by Charles McNulty’s review of “Come From Away” at the Ahmanson [“Grounded Then Uplifted,” Nov. 30]. As a teenage theater enthusiast, I am lucky enough to have seen the show in New York, and I feel that McNulty’s review got a lot of things wrong and possibly misrepresented a truly touching and witty show.
The songs are not “low-key,” as described by McNulty; some are touching and tear-inducing (I cried multiple times when I saw the show in New York), and some are upbeat and catchy.
McNulty dismisses the cod-kissing ritual (part of becoming an honorary Newfoundlander) as a “kitschy” attempt at comedy, when it is an actual ritual, one that both the real come-from-aways and their Broadway counterparts have gone through. The show is grounded in much more fact than society has come to expect from anything that is “based on a true story.” Much of the book and lyrics are based on interviews conducted by Irene Sankoff and David Hein when they visited Gander on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Another misconception in the review is that the non-English-speaking characters in the show are “dismissed as soon as they’re introduced,” which is simply not true. The Swahili-speaking Muhumuza provides one of the most moving emotional climaxes in the show, along with the basis for a touching, heartfelt moment.
While not a review, Barbara Isenberg’s piece [“The Kindness of Strangers in Song,” Nov. 27] provides another, more positive perspective and a look into the bonds formed between the casts and the real people.
A comic strip treads the boards
What an unforeseen treat to see the timeless wit and humor of Gilbert and Sullivan revisited in a modern comic strip [starting Nov. 26]. Can’t wait to see where the “9 Chickweed Lane” story line goes. Thank you, Brooke McEldowney.
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