The Seductions of MTV

By Helen Dudar The Wall Street Journal September 26, 1983 Most of my friends can be seduced by a tedium of journalists gnawing over the week’s news or by the exquisite boredom of Brideshead Revisited, but my television tastes run to junk. Family Feud, Entertainment...

Mr. Mike’s America

By Paul Slansky Playboy March 1983 It was a time when people walked the nation’s streets with orange-foam pads clamped to their ears and antennae bouncing above their heads. The newspapers of the day told of several thousand men and women who had allowed themselves to...

The Post-Celluloid Tristesse of Raquel Welch

By O’Connell Driscoll Playboy February 1977 It is the day before the Academy Awards. There is a small crowd of people standing in a light rain outside the stage door entrance to the Music Center, in downtown Los Angeles. The rain has been falling all day, and now, at...

Death in Venice

By Steve Oney Los Angeles Magazine May 2005 “The boardwalk squeaks and out come the freaks,” declares Ian McShane, plainly including himself in the assortment of street preachers, panhandlers, and body builders gathered at Venice Beach on this foggy spring morning....

Shandling Agnosites

By Gerri Hirshey GQ February 1997 Garry Shandling is worrying a piece of plain chicken (no skin, no sauce, no guilt) with a plastic fork. The tines quiver with indecision (eat? talk? eat and talk and risk having a meteor of thigh meat land on those dry-cleaned jeans …...

Eddie Murphy Is on Top of the World

By Peter W. Kaplan Playboy January 1983 Eddie Murphy, a man of 21 years, has a check for $45,000 in his back pocket, a manager with tinted sunglasses standing near the bar, a producer from a Hollywood studio watching him from the door, a sound-and-video crew recording...

Annie’s Second Childhood

By Bruce Buschel Philadelphia Magazine June 1977 Act I East Haddam. Connecticut: June, 1976 Scene 1: Auditions The scent is reminiscent of nothing. Though it is uniquely theatrical, few stagehands have ever had their nostrils filled with this odor that visits the...

The Risible Fantasies of Gilbert Gottfried

By Peter Mehlman GQ July 1987   “Gilbert, my God, you look great!” “Jesus, Gilbert, that suit looks amazing on you.” “It’s the suit they gave him on the Cosby Show!” “Gillie! I got hold of the Cinemax special—it’s, it’s … beautiful!” “Gillie, who’s doing your...

David Letterman, the Vice-President of Comedy

By Peter W. Kaplan Esquire December 1981 I have no troubles that I can’t tell standing up and to several million people at once.—Jack Paar When David Letterman enters a small club, other young comics make way for him, and although he moves among them, he is separate....

Sellavision

By Bill Zehme Playboy June 1987 Ralph Kramden, a bus driver from Brooklyn, was the father of TV home shopping. He called it Better Living Through Television and hatched a portentous scheme from which an unstoppable movement has followed. For $200, he had acquired 2000...

Jimmy the Greek: The Living Dead

By Peter Richmond The National Sports Daily April 13, 1990 His words break the silence of a breakfast conversation that has wound down to nothing. They are as soft and insubstantial as rust flaking away, so soft that at first you think you might have heard him wrong,...

The Chinese Gourmet Club

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader Here’s something fun. From Kenneth Tynan’s lavish 1977 New Yorker profile of Mel Brooks (available online only to New Yorker subscribers though you can also find it in Tynan’s wonderful collection, Profiles): After separating from his...