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April 06, 1986|Patrick Goldstein

Not everybody in America is looking forward to May 25, when Hands Across America hopes to have 6 million folks linking arms nationwide, raising dollars for the homeless and the hungry. The average temp in Arizona for that date is 95.

Which prompted a piece in the Arizona Republic, headlined:


Noon on May 25?

Does Hands Across America

Own a Thermometer?

As writer Holly D. Remy put it: "Possibly every thinking Arizonan is thinking it, but not one has said it yet. So here goes: Ken Kragen has to be kidding. . . . It doesn't take a heap of gray matter to know what Phoenix is like at the end of May. It is like the inside of a pizza oven. It is so hot that snakes stick to the ground. It is certainly too hot to hold hands."

Remy suggested "fun" diversions to keep hand-holders' minds off the fact that while they are "locking fingers, their sneakers are sinking into the hot pavement." They included: "Bunny Hopping to fan those liquefying soles" and starting a rumor about a delivery from a tanker truck of lemonade "and see if the lemonade becomes a more inebriating beverage by the time the story gets to Albuquerque, N.M."

What kind of reaction did the article get? "Well, to be honest, I found out that the raging liberals of 15 years ago are still out there," Remy told Outtakes. "I've been getting messages that I belong to the Me Generation, that I don't care about the homeless. But the Hands Across America people weren't upset. They said they were glad that someone had asked those questions. They say they want people who are self-reliant, which I guess means you're going to have to bring an awful big cooler out there with you."

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