has an impressive record in public
office. As a state representative in
1973 and 1975, JOE PENTONY
• Supported national and state
ERA and opposed efforts to
• Supported increased funding for
day care centers.
• Supported Texas Rape legislation.
• Hired a woman or a minority
person as his top aide.
Harris County Democrats
Texas State Teachers Association
Paid for by Joe Pentony Campaign Committee.
No Matter What's Your Bag:
Dance, Drama, Music,
Business, Sports Of All
Sorts, Languages, Art,.
Cooking or Personal
j In our current schedule, which you I
jean receive by calling 721-7299,1
I we offer a wide variety of classes.
I Some classes are free and registraj
Ition is easy.
Cookies and Chimps
NBC's Today: looking more like yesterday
BY GABRIELLE COSGRIFF
ABC's Good Morning America
is Whipping the pants off NBC's
Today in the ratings. Which,
according to AP television writer
Peter Boyer, accounts for the fact that
Today is shedding its urbane, serious
look in favor of a more entertainment-
oriented image. "In television," says
Boyer, "capitulation is imitation."
Ron Hendren, one of television's
first TV critics, was fired last month
from Today. Hendren, says Boyer,
criticized "junk wherever he found it,
which was often on NBC." In fact, he had
been known to advise viewers to turn
their sets from NBC to avoid a particularly offensive program. NBC is now
looking for a replacement in the mold
of Good Morning America's gossipy
Rona Barrett, admitted a network source.
The same day that Boyer's piece appeared in the Houston Post (April 14)
I switched to Today just in time for a
four-minute segment on chocolate-chip
cookies—a big batch of free advertising
for a New York cookie-maker—followed
by at least another minute of follow-up
cookie chatter back in the studio.
Another irritating feature of Today is
that Phil Donahue appears three times a
week. Where would daytime viewers
be without him, or vice versa? (See cartoon.) In fact, Donahue could be called
the gynecologist of the airwaves—women
are his business. His Today appearances
are simply culled from his regular Donahue program.
DOONESBIJRY/Iy Garry Trade&a
and a pair of puppets.
"There are no puppets or chimpanzees
in sight just yet," concludes Boyer,
"but it's been rumored that Bunny
Rabbit and Mister Moose are playing out
their contracts on Captain Kangaroo.
fithin 72 hours of the
Jonestown tragedy in November, 1978, Washington
Post reporter Charles A.
Krause, wounded at the airstrip, signed
with Berkley to write his eyewitness
account, Guyana Massacre, and CBS
had bought the rights to the book for a
If the haste to capitalize on Jonestown
was unseemly, the message was obviously
worth recording, and CBS did a superlative job when Guyana Tragedy: The
Story of Jim Jones finally aired recently
(April 15 and 16).
It was four hours of gripping, terrifying television, but it was more than
television. Janis Parks, in a splendid
piece for the Houston Post, quoted
the program's screenwriter Ernest Tidy-
man, who hoped that Guyana would
encourage people to "question the
quality of the manner of solutions to
our problems. All leaders are suspect.
But a skeptical society is a healthy
The question remains though, as with
all dramatizations, how much truth there
the mistake of staying tuned to the local
news program on those two evenings witnessed a pair of the silliest, most unprofessional local newscasts ever—even for
Ch 11's gaggle of gigglers (Steve Smith
and Amanda Arnold, anchors; Dan Patrick, sports, and Alexis South, weather).
On April 15, Patrick, who labors under
the delusion that he is a wit, wasted
several minutes of valuable air time on
a heavy-handed satire of the Oscar
awards involving local sports figures
(the rest of the news team seemed to
enjoy it). Then, even more humorous,
Alexis South's weather map malfunctioned, sending everyone into paroxysms of mirth.
The next night, Dann Cuellar did a
piece on male body-builders at a local
club, the latest in his saga of free advertisements for commercial establishments. Patrick played it for laughs
again (he's obviously going to keep
doing it till he gets it right) with a story
on chicken mascots and their legal
foul-ups. (By the way, lest anyone fear
that Patrick has forsaken Christianity
in sports for the life of a clown, he had
soccer star Pele on his sportscast April
14, witnessing for Christ.)
The highlight of the hilarities was yet
to come, but it was worth waiting for—
a replay of Alexis South's zany map
misadventure of the previous night.
Then—try to control yourselves—the
weather map appeared, flanked by two
bikini-clad body-builders, which so un-
WE'tB TALKING VZBKB
BRBNNBR, THB YOUNG
WITHOUT W. W'RB
IS ALL ABOUT.
Television has more "begats" these
days than the Bible, and Donahue is running a serious risk of overexposure.
Literally. Several months ago he appeared
clad only in a pair of white shorts to do
a show on weight-reduction. A woman
covered him in Saran wrap and he
sweated out the rest of the show lying
on a table, microphone in hand. That's
On another Today at the close of the
Donahue segment, Tom Brokaw spent
several minutes plugging Donahue's book,
Donahue, my own story. It's ail slightly
So Today sells Donahue, Donahue
sells his book, Brokaw sells Donahue's
book, and everybody buys chocolate-
As Boyer notes: "the morning
network hours have very nearly come full
circle, bound back to the early days
when Today featured J. Fred Muggs
(a chimpanzee) and CBS countered with
its original Morning Show, featuring
Charles Collingwood, Walter Cronkite
is in the reconstruction for TV of the
forces that make a Jim Jones possible.
As Parks noted, ". . . if you consider
Guyana as a factual retelling of how a
small boy from Indiana succeeded in leading 900 people to their deaths, then
things get sticky. Too many people are
involved, and too many of them dead, to
even begin to guess at the accuracy of
Guyana could have been an excuse
for sensationalism—it certainly had all
the ingredients—or it could have been
a soap opera like Holocaust. But, with
a fine cast and sensitive writing, Guyana succeeded, in Parks' words, in making
"the events of two years ago in Jonestown, Guyana, seem irreclaimably comprehensible."
nerved the blushing weathercaster that
she presented her forecast with her back
to the charts. You should have been
The closing segment of the program
was a cute little story (what else?) on
naming a mutt for the SPCA. Amanda
Arnold's final words summed it all up:
"I think this station's going to the dogs."
here was one unfortunate byproduct of Guyana though, one
for which CBS cannot be held
responsible. Viewers who made
|dward Albee has written a
stage play of Nabokov's Lolita
-the classic story of an older
■man's obsession with an 11-year-
old girl. Scheduled to open in New York
later this year, the play stars Donald
Sutherland as Humbert Humbert. The
part of Lolita has not yet been cast.
"The girl has got to be a real 11-year-
old," Sutherland told Hollywood reporter
Roderick Mann, "not a pretend 11-year-
old. . . they can't even start looking for
her yet. Otherwise she'll be too old by
the time the play gets going."