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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Sherman Memories to Spare

August 23, 2003

Re "The Boy at Camp Granada," Aug. 16: Like Paul Lieberman, I share memories of Allan Sherman and his family. My father, Allie Singer, was the other producer who teamed with Sherman on "Your Surprise Package." In addition to collaborating on that show, the two found time to parody Broadway shows and perform for friends and family. One unpublished but classic example was "My Fair Sadie" ("My Fair Lady") and the triumphant "With a Little Bit of Lox" ("With a Little Bit of Luck"). I recall how excited the neighbors were when Allan came to visit our Great Neck, N.Y., home in the early '60s. He signed cocktail napkins and wished the local kids well in a very unassuming way. Your article helped me recall what a wonderfully funny, personable man he was, and his ability to strike the resonant chord of Jewish humor. I'm glad to hear his son is well and putting his talents to good use, despite that tumultuous first summer at camp.

Ben Singer

Seal Beach

*

I still remember when we had all of Sherman's albums in the house and how I played them to death. The inside jokes and Catskills humor were screamingly funny -- Westchester Hadassah to "Winchester Cathedral" and Harvey and Sheila to "Hava Nagila." Nobody had a way with parody like Sherman. When a song gets stuck in my head, a parody pops into my mind. I can't finish it, so I wonder, where is Sherman now that I need him? I did get started on a takeoff on a Beatles record: How does it feel to be one of the goyishe people? Now that you don't want to be a Jew, what are you gonna do?

Grace Hampton

Burbank

*

Robert Sherman, Allan Sherman's son and the inspiration for "Camp Granada," was my boss at Mark Goodson Productions. The boy who read his letters of misery to fellow campers at Lake Champlain grew up to be a most original, brilliant and funny adult, having all of his dad's amazing talent and humor without the self-destruction.

Robert let his misfit employees have free rein but motivated them to turn out some of the most creative TV game shows at the time. He brainstormed and pitched concepts for extreme reality and game shows that no TV network would touch at the time but were the basis for some of the most-watched shows today. And inspired another shy loner to be "constantly amused."

Sharon Jones

Studio City

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