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Politicians Not Laughing at TV Satire

May 2, 1985

BONN, West Germany (AP) _ Two television comics spoofed President Reagan and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl as Reagan arrived for the economic summit conference, but German politicians did not find the broadcast funny.

WDR, the television network that broadcast the satire Wednesday on its ″Mai-Revue″ program, issued a statement Thursday saying it regretted that the skit may have led to ″misunderstandings″ among many viewers.

Government spokesman Juergen Sudhoff called the skit ″a smear without precedent.″

The scene was played at about the same time Reagan’s plane was landing in West Germany.

It featured American singer-comedian Don Williams and German comedian Stefan Walz giving near-perfect impersonations of Reagan and Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

The program moderator, with a telephone at each ear, ″interviewed″ the two leaders about Reagan’s West German visit schedule.

The controversial stops on the itinerary are a wreath-laying ceremony at a military cemetery in Bitburg where Nazi SS troopers are among those buried and to visit the Bergen-Belsen camp, where thousands of Nazi prisoners died.

″I just want you to know that I have changed my plans,″ said Williams, imitating Reagan. ″I will not only be going to Bitburg and Belsen-Bergen, uh, Bergen-Belsen, I will also be taking a flight to Berlin to fly over Spandau prison and wave a greeting to Rudolf Hess.″

Hess is the former Hitler deputy who has been imprisoned in Spandau since the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

Several politicians wrote letters of protest to the Cologne station about the program. Sudhoff said the show was ″a derision of our guests, whom we have to thank for our security and freedom.″

The station said in a statement that: ″In a democracy, a satirical argument of current problems and the persons who deal with them should also be allowed.″

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