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This Emmy Telecast Merits A Thank-you

September 23, 1985|HOWARD ROSENBERG

I want to thank my milkman, my tailor, my bookie, my therapist, my butcher, my baker and my candlestick maker.


Letting Sunday night's Emmy winners use their own discretion on how long to make their acceptance speeches was like inviting a shark to take only a nibble.

Yet this was no Emmython. The ABC show, which lasted just over three hours (you had probably set aside five hours to watch it) was the best-paced Emmy show in years. Bravo for executive producer Alexander Cohen.

So what if supporting-actor-in-a-comedy winner John Larroquette ("Night Court") took almost three minutes to walk on stage and scratch his head, then thank his mother, his agent, his kids and tell a story about a little boy?

So what if David Letterman led an entourage of a dozen acceptors onto the stage after "Late Night With David Letterman" got the best variety or music program writing award?

So what if an impostor accepted the best supporting actress in a drama award for Betty Thomas ("Hill Street Blues") even as Thomas was entering from the other side of the stage?

The impostor accepted, and the show went to commercial, leaving Thomas with a puzzled grin on her face as the show-biz crowd inside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium gave her a huge ovation. After the commercial, she accepted the award properly, although interrupted briefly by Peter Graves, who muttered something about this being a "mission impossible," and then left. Huh?

Well, none of that really mattered if you were on the other side of the screen. It was all live and spontaneous and fun, and that was all that mattered.

The attention to TV stars past was a grand idea. And a production number celebrating past tough guys was carried out with a true sense of fun. Many movie stars come and go, but old TV stars live on, for better or worse, in syndication.

There were other goofy moments. Mr. T gets the award as most creative Emmy presenter for referring to best costume winner Travilla as "Trivia." After making the announcement, he reported that "that person" was not present to accept the award.

If there was one major disappointment in the Emmy picks, it was the snubbing of the brilliant PBS miniseries "The Jewel in the Crown" until it received the award for best limited series. How was it possible that such a remarkable production could be bypassed in the writing and directing awards?

Oh, well, that's TV. The Emmy awards are the industry's celebration of itself, with the bad often getting honored as well as the good. In fact, the entire evening reminded you of the old Bob and Ray routine in which they attach great significance to making a bologna sandwich. They describe the process--laying on the meat, lettuce, the mayonnaise--with meticulous detail. It sounds like a major achievement, but when they are finished, all they have is a bologna sandwich. What Bob and Ray could do with the Emmys!

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