Picks and Pans Review: Dear 60 Minutes
edited by Kathleen Fury
During 1982 and 1983, more than 150,000 letters were sent to CBS-TV's 60 Minutes. A few of them led to stories, a few more were answered by the show's on-camera staff and most went to the six CBS employees whose sole job it is to send form-letter replies to the program's correspondents. A lot of those viewers' letters were dull or obscene. Fury, a free-lance writer unconnected with the program, has included none of those. Many letters, however, were funny, insightful and/or intellectually provocative, and there are plenty of them in this entertaining little book. It is evident that there is some passion in Viewerland after all. Two examples: The program that drew the most mail during the period was a show critical of the National Council of Churches. That was natural enough. But the second highest volume of mail came after a segment about the small town of Polo, Ill. shutting off the water service of one resident. "All the people interviewed that had anything to do with cutting off the water at the home of Susan Stitzel—I hope they all contract syphilis and are allergic to penicillin," wrote a St. Louis viewer. After two programs comparing the talents of operatic tenors Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, Mrs. John Karpin of Keewatin, Minn. wrote, "I love opera. I love Domingo. He is the top tenor in my book. Send Fatso back to Italy!!!" (Fireside, paper, $4.95)
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