Thursday, September 15, 2005
Book Report: TV Superstars '83 by Ronald W. Lackmann (1983)
Yes, I am a grown man, but I read this Weekly Reader book some two decades after its expiration date and about two decades after I should have stopped reading Weekly Reader books--heck, I am sure by 1983 I was out of Weekly Reader books and was probably already into Agatha Christie or thereabouts, but I justify my reading on the following:
  1. It's short and counts as a whole book.

  2. It's chock full of trivia about things everyone else has forgotten.

  3. The rest of the damn world feels perfectly comfortable reading a series of books published by Scholastic, so why shouldn't I read something by Weekly Reader?
The book's what you'd expect: a piece of fluff-and-puff written by early eighties PR flacks, talking about all of their clients' beginnings. Performers who played nice characters were exactly like the characters they played; performers who played the villians were nothing like the characters they played. Everyone got starts in summer stock, doing the same plays for different community theaters until their big breaks. However, only one lists a rather racy film in her repetoire. Perhaps her publicist also included The Bitch, but the author couldn't print the bad word.

Most of the superstars of 1983 television have faded to ephemera, many of their television shows unremembered. Peter Barton, featured on the cover, was in The Powers of Matthew Star. Byron Cherry was Coy Duke in that one forgotten season when Tom Wopat and John Schneider walked off of the set of The Dukes of Hazard. Most of the shows from 1983 producing this crop of superstars lasted one or two seasons. Hopefully, the superstars had good financial planners, or else some of them are panhandling in California even now.

Who could have foreseen, deep in Reagan's first term, that the superstars who would have "careers" would include Scott Baio, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, and Tony Danza?

Regardless, I found the book slightly interesting and will retain some of its trivia for use in future North Side Mind Flayers matches. Also, the book held some geneology secrets for me, as some rumor has it that I am related distantly, through a series of failed marriages, to Phillip and Nancy McKeon--both of whom were superstars in 1983 and perhaps even the spring of 1984.

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."