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This Is 'Family' No. 2

May 06, 2000

The "American Family" pilot is not the first on television about an East L.A. household ("Is It Prime Time for a New 'Family'?," by Dana Calvo, May 2). Way back in 1976 we did 15 episodes of a Latino family entitled "Viva Valdez" on ABC.

Although the show was a comedy and not a drama, as the new one is, our Valdez family's Boyle Heights home consisted of a father, mother, three sons and a daughter living, learning and laughing about life's struggles, as I'm sure the current one will do. Unfortunately, one of the lessons the Valdez family learned was not to be on TV opposite "60 Minutes."

The critics and the Los Angeles viewers, together with viewers in large cities all over the country, loved us, but the rest of the country was not ready for such ethnic "material" even though the family's lives were presented real, honest (Carmen Zapata, who played the mother, saw to that) and, above all, what a comedy should be--funny. I hope this show makes it.

HOWARD ALBRECHT

Former story editor

Sherman Oaks

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