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June 30, 1985

There's one little, very important chapter to the E.T. legend that's never been printed.

The time is Feb. 12, 1983. The weatherman calls for blizzards and snow storms along the Atlantic coast. In spite of the unpredictable weather, E.T. has made promises that must be kept.

Sporting a heavy coat and armed with a small valise containing a 16-millimeter print, he tramps through knee high snow drifts en route to his first stop. It's one of many in behalf of Steven Spielberg and Universal Pictures that E.T. will make to children's hospitals without fanfare to screen the film.

It's Spielberg's contention that if any publicity leaks out, the true purpose of E.T.'s trip would be misinterpreted as promotion for the film. And so E.T. continued the journey for weeks to come, visiting children in hospitals throughout the country and Canada bringing them his "I'll be right here" message.

All through the countless screenings, including visits to the Shrine's Crippled Children's and Burns Institute, the only thing that E.T. wore around his neck was the hand prints of loving children.



The Times received a total of 46 letters on the E.T. affair, 35 of which expressed varying degrees of outrage over the drug paraphernalia in the original June 16 cover illustration by Will Weston. The other letters were in reaction to E.T.'s "own" letter sent in by the Spielberg/Universal interests or the batch of pro-E.T./anti-Times letters published last Sunday.

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