updated 09/09/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/09/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Some readers were fascinated by the private Johnny Carson (PEOPLE, Aug. 19); others took us to task for looking behind the TV screen at the talk show host's complicated personal and business relationships. Other notable letter getters: an article on animal-rights crusader Becky Sandstedt, and our Up Front story about irate franchisees who had invested in Olivia Newton-John's Koala Blue clothing company.

So accustomed have we become to having celebrities spill their guts that we feel cheated if an entertainer like Johnny Carson erects appropriate boundaries around his personal life. He has seen me through long nights of nursing my babies, periods of unemployment and grad school study. What I know of him is all I need to know as an appreciative member of his audience: He is respectful of old people, he likes animals, and he makes me laugh.

So many emotions ran through my mind as I read your recent article on Johnny Carson. Having been a very close friend of Rick's for a couple of years in New York City in the '70s, I feel that I had a fairly good insight into the Carson family. Mr. Carson did keep in frequent contact with Rick by phone, but for the couple of years that I knew Rick, he never came face-to-face with his father. Rick idolized his father; he wanted so badly to be more a part of his life. I knew there was lots of love in the Carson family, but it seems to be that nobody knew how to share it.

Why all this criticism of Johnny's parenting? He was there for his sons more than many fathers are nowadays. He supported them financially, giving them a good home and sending them to good schools. Unfortunately not only for Johnny but for millions of other families, there is a trade-off between financial security and family.

I've always enjoyed The Tonight Show. While I like Jay Leno very much, no one will ever take Johnny's place. He must know how much he will be missed.
PAULA CARARISTI, Sacramento, Calif.

All I can say is, "Grow up!" Business is business. The licensees went into this with their eyes open, with all the facts and figures in front of them. Is Olivia Newton-John recession proof?
TERI BROWN, Canoga Park, Calif.

I was struck that these people who invested in Koala Blue shops lost their children's college funds. I was appalled that they would risk something so important on what is always a risky venture, a retail clothing business. All blame Olivia for their troubles. These people need only to look in the mirror to see who got them into trouble. Don't risk what you can't afford to lose.
DONNA STINSON, Huntington Beach, Calif.

I'm thrilled to see my favorite singer, Aaron Neville, finally be given his due. Maybe now I won't get questioning looks when I ask others if they've heard his solo album, Warm Your Heart. Thanks, Aaron, for sharing your wonderful gift. And thanks, Joel, for recognizing your husband's talent and sticking by him in the rough times.
JOYCE FAUST, Meriden, Conn.

As a ranch wife, it saddens me that many people may view these tragic incidents as the norm in cattle production. I couldn't be more proud of the job my husband does. It's ironic that present-day ranchers, who still live the back-to-nature life that the movie Dances with Wolves glorifies, are denounced by many animal-activist groups. I'll gladly work with activists to correct actual cases of abuse like the downed animals in the South St. Paul Stockyard. But I'll fight like heck to counter the many false accusations that could destroy family farms and the quality and care our animals receive.
HAZEL R. GRAFF, Hondo, Texas

Making sick and dying animals suffer more than they have to is just plain wrong. I eat meat and wear leather shoes, but I assure you that if the Beef Council and their ilk want to keep me as a consumer, they better do something significant in regulating the handling of their livestock.
JANE STERN, West Redding, Conn.

As a recovering alcoholic, I have some advice for Robert Goulet: Get yourself to an AA meeting. If he still has an occasional beer or glass of wine, he is not recovering from his alcoholism. Alcoholism is a progressive disease. If Mr. Goulet continues to have a drink once in a while, it is only a matter of time before he is drinking as much as he was before.
LISETTE SWANN, West Chester, Pa.

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