Paul Turner: Lou Grant would hate my spunk

September 10, 2018

Did you see that Lou Grant is scheduled to appear at North Idaho College on Wednesday?

I mean Ed Asner.

According to what I read Friday, he is to star in a performance of “God Help Us!” He plays God. Check www.cdasummertheatre.com for ticket info.

It would be great to meet Lou. I mean Ed. Like many of us of a certain age, I loved the Lou Grant character in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its unlikely spinoff “Lou Grant.”

One does not wish to be a pest. Still, it would be fun to show up and ask him a few questions Wednesday.

I guess I’d have to start by informing him that it has been suggested I have spunk and just what did he think of that.

“MTM” fans would, of course, expect his famous response: “I hate spunk.”

But I wouldn’t want to stop there. No, I have a number of questions for Lou. I mean Ed. So on with the countdown.

1. Wouldn’t Lou have throttled Ted Baxter at some point?

2. We know Lou had worked for newspapers before his TV career. But really, what did you think of the plausibility of him being hired as the city editor of even a second-tier Los Angeles paper after his WJM days were over?

3. Did you know that the actor who played the assistant city editor in “Lou Grant” lived in Coeur d’Alene for many years before his death last fall?

4. Did you have a thing for Betty White?

5. Do you think the “Lou Grant” series and its depiction of the economic realities of journalism should get more credit for foreshadowing some of the challenges that would beset the newspaper industry in decades to come?

6. Do you think the concept of editors defined by gruffness was dealt a fatal blow when your newspaper show went off the air?

7. How do you think editor Lou Grant would fare in a 2018 newsroom?

8. What did Mary Tyler Moore smell like?

9. Have you met real-life newspaper people? Have you met real-life TV people? Which did you like better?

10. How hideously would Lou have grimaced and retched while reading this column?

To typo is human

Something else I noticed in Friday’s paper was a headline on the continuation of a story about the candidates for the office of county clerk. It said “COUNTRY CLERK.”

Mistakes happen. And that’s not exactly up there with S-R classics such as labeling a chicken recipe in the Food section as “Honey fried children.”

Anyway, it reminded me of when I was in my first newspaper job long ago and far away. I had written a scintillating job profile of the county manager. But in the first paragraph of my story, I referred to him as the “country manager.”

First time I saw him after that appeared, he laughed and told me he appreciated the promotion.

True north

Sunday’s musings about Canada made me think about the time long ago when I was working on a story about a B-52 crew.

The roaring plane had taken off from a base in Arkansas. We were flying low over northern Alberta, simulating a bombing run. The buffeting was intense.

I never actually threw up. But for a while I was so unpleasantly woozy that the prospect of the aircraft crashing into a hillside nose-first did not seem like the worst thing in the world.

Can you recall an occasion when you felt like that?

Hair style fatalism

You know how some people spend a lot of time on their hair, especially when they really want to look nice? Sure. I suppose many of us do that.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that all that primping is pretty much a waste of time. That’s because I believe good hair days are almost totally a matter of luck.

Oh sure, you want to do your best with the comb or brush. But some days your hair just happens to look OK, and some days it doesn’t.

End note

Something else I sincerely believe is that it is not possible to see a chipmunk darting about and not think of those old “Chip and Dale” cartoons.

Remember how hilariously polite they were? Yes, the Cold War era had its downside. But there was some good stuff, too.

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