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HOT NEWS : A Love Affair: Great While It Lasted, but . . .

June 26, 1988|ERIC BURNS

"Your tresses, Galla," he said, "are manufactured far away; you lay aside your teeth at night as you do your silk dresses; you lie stored away in a hundred caskets, and your face does not sleep with you; you wink with an eyebrow brought to you in the morning."

Well, not for me such spiteful carping. It is true, of course, that my woman is also composed of a good many parts unknown to nature, that the images of the world she presents bear little relation to underlying realities. But I was aware of this at the start. It is not her composition that must be called into question here, but my initial judgment.

Yet when I think of her these days, as I still do, it is invariably the good times I recall. The hopes, the joys. The laughs, the smiles. The day I fell off the stool . . .

The stool was in the studio, next to the control room, and it was wobbly to begin with; all four of its legs were of different lengths. As I was sitting on it, getting ready to go on the air with one of the last of my video reviews, I leaned too far to the side and tumbled to the floor. I bumped my head on the wall; my glasses fell under a desk.

The cameraman laughed. The sound engineer laughed. The Teleprompter operator laughed. Even I had to admit the sight must have been an amusing one.

But no one was more convulsed than The Woman. That was great, she said, just great. I didn't know you had it in you. Maybe we can salvage your career yet. She smiled at me more warmly than she had in months.

Over the intercom came the director's voice: Ready to roll tape, he said. Stand by.

The Woman said: Do the fall again.

What?

Do it again. We'll put it on the air. It'll look great. People will love it.

I will not.

Don't be a fuddy-duddy.

Is this an entertainment news show or the opening act at some kind of low-rent strip joint?

The woman laughed even harder, tears coming to her eyes and a flush to her cheeks, although whether at my pratfall or my naivete I could not tell.

Epilogue: Burns survived the affair. He went on to Fox Television, KTTV Channel 11, for which he is "entertainment commentator," giving personal nightly essays on such diverse subjects as the resurrection of Elvis Presley, Rev. Jerry Falwell's campaign to free Oliver North, the Ku Klux Klan's desire for its own TV show in Kansas City and, not inappropriately, kiss and telling.

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