Michael Macrone
Articles & Essays
The NewPaper, October 27, 1982
Video Week story

Vidluxe Mailbag

Edited by Michael Macrone and The Mad Peck

Sorry, folks, no column this week. If you want to know why, well, we just didn’t feel like writing anything. Tough luck. Instead, let’s dip into the VidLuxe Mailbag, shall we?

Dear Sirs:

I can’t help but rejoice at the continuing quality of your Video Week pull-out section available exclusively in The NewPaper. Much is the pleasure and edification you have given my family and me, as every Wednesday we each curl up in our favorite chair to marvel over your deathless prose (even little Billy, God bless him, only five and already learning to read, thanks to your column). A copy of Video Week nestles by each of our TV sets, even weeks after its issue!

I think I must be representative of the many thousands in your demographic target who enjoy your work. I hold an advanced degree from a prestigious university and currently earn $50,000+ with great promise for advancement in my firm. I certainly enjoy the comforts of the goods and services offered by your broad range of sponsors, as do my wife, my married son Ernest (age 25, currently positioned in middle management), my acquisitive teenage daughter Cindy, my parents, my wife’s parents, and, of course, little Billy.

I think your paper’s advertisers as well as those in power throughout the local media should be very proud of Video Week, as I make a habit of pointing out to them. By God, they should show their gratitude and arrange a small jaunt to Europe, all expenses paid, for you and your staff. And let me be the first to put my money where my mouth is: enclosed with a check renewing my subscription to The NewPaper is a modest donation to further the cause of maintaining such a high-quality product as Video Week. God bless you.

Bache Ford, Newport

(That’s Video Week, c/o The NewPaper, Box 2393, Providence, R.I. 02906.)

Dear “VidLuxe”:

Bitch, bitch, bitch, moan, moan, moan. Who is this “Charles Dexter Ward” character, anyway? His columns in your rag are just more of the sourpuss, weak-kneed excuse for criticism that seems to be the staple of the “papers” in this burg. I have the funny feeling I’ve read his ramblings somewhere else but I can’t place it because you all hack out the same trash.

Speaking of trash, the stuff you run regularly is about as accurate and informative as The Star (let me point out your confusion of Fawlty Towers’ weekly rebroadcast, which is Fridays at 11 p.m. on Channel 36, not Wednesdays). All we get is one overwritten, self-indulgent screed after another. I’d lay a week’s pay five-to-one that you people don’t even watch TV, but sit around the night before deadline and figure out what you can whip-off or rip-off and palm off as a feature.

The only things worse than your “pieces” are the graphics, which almost never make sense and which, again, look like something whipped off at the last minute to fill space.

Shit, the only reason to read your paper anyway is for the comics.

One Pissed-Off Reader, Providence

(Ah, um-well: ahem! Eds.)

Dear VidLuxe:

I’m feeling terribly improper about something and I wish you would enlighten me on how to behave.

I have a young nephew who makes periodic “visits” with his mother. The problem has something to do with the fact that he has to be dragged along, and as a result makes for awful company.

The first thing the boy does when he arrives is, without asking permission, turn on our television at full volume, bolting for the fridge at the first commercial break and proceeding to prepare himself a “little snack” of all our best imported cheeses and smoked meats, and not infrequently helping himself to large portions of what was to be that night’s dinner.

For the whole visit he slumps in our expensive plush recliner, wiping grease on the fabric, dropping brie on the rug and guffawing (with his mouth full) at Yogi Bear and Casper the Friendly Ghost (the boy is 23).

I’m at a complete loss as to what to suggest to this person or to his mother, and silently suffer no little embarrassment. Tell me, kindly, what should I do?

A Gentle Reader

Gentle Reader:

This social retard causing you so much grief is obviously a pig and a snot. So why don’t you just work up the guts and tell him, “Boy, you’re a pig and a snot, not to mention a social retard. You and your mother are a disgrace to the family and I wish you would leave.” If this fails, stop wasting your money on snobby imported cheeses and start buying frozen dinners, which would be too much trouble for the freeloader to prepare. And while you’re at it, break the TV tube, there’s nothing worth watching these days anyhow.

Dear VidLuxe:

Which do you think is funnier, my acting or the way we always talk to one another on our bikes without raising our voices? I was thinking about it one time and I started laughing so hard I fell off my chopper and broke three ribs.

Erik Estrada, Beyond the Pale


I mean, I really can’t believe what I’m watching on the tube right now, some stiff show about two guys and a car that does most of their thinking (hah), with a soundtrack that sounds like Hee-Haw and this thing looks a lot (really) like a bad cartoon, but I’m too burnt to get up and turn it off, and it wouldn’t have been on in the first place but I blew a number and lost control, y’know? Anyway, don’t mind the mayonnaise spots on the stationery, the only paper I had handy was what I ate dinner on. So what’s doing? Figured you guys might want to hear from us “real people,” seeing as you must be totally gonzo out-of-it from so much TV. I mean, was that intentional printing this last TV section inside-out? No sweat, man, I really dug that, flipped me out.

Fred “The Head” Howard, Woonsocket

Dear Experts:

A friend and I have a bet that we’d like to settle, even though I’m positive that I’m right, but she’s a real wonk so we figured we’d take it to the experts. So I say that the guy who played Manoleeto on High Chaparral was Mike Darrow, not Henry Darrow like she says, and she says Mike Darrow wasn’t even an actor but was a game show host on something called Wet Dream. I think she’s full of it, though, and another thing that she’s really stupid about is when Donny and Marie had the Disco Dozen on, she says 1978 and I think it was earlier, like when they had on the Ice Vanities and Paul Lynde before he went into retirement and we haven’t heard from him since. I don’t even know why this woman is my friend anymore, and I’m certainly not going to have her over to watch TV with me ever again, especially when she tells me that Virginia Curtis isn’t married to Bob Curtis, which is obviously a lie, since they were both on The Adventures of the Champion in 1965, but I’ll keep her as a friend until get her money.

Sippy Snookhorn, Cranston

(Sorry, but you’ll both be eating a little crow. As everyone knows, Victor Sen Yung played Manolito on High Chaparral, while the Darrow brothers made sporadic appearances on The Fugitive, alternately playing Fred Johnson, the One-Armed Man. And because you’re so ignorant, I stopped reading your letter in the middle, so why don’t you just look it up? Besides, I get the funny feeling this might be a prank letter, since it was mailed from Brown University, which is nowhere near Cranston.—Ed.)

– 30 –

First published in the Providence, RI alternative weekly The NewPaper (October 27, 1982)

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