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Issue Date: October 2004 Issue


A Welcome Romp

Thank you for the honor of being a part of your cover and feature story in the August issue ["Where Are They Now?"].

It still amazes me that there are so many adults who remember "Romper Room." It was a most enjoyable job and being reminded of those days gives me great pleasure.

The afternoon spent being photographed was a new experience — live television was less exacting!

All the best. May your magazine continue to thrive.

Barbara Plummer (aka Miss Barbara)
South Euclid

Imagine my excitement when I saw the August issue of Cleveland Magazine featuring Miss Barbara from "Romper Room" on the cover. Having grown up in Cleveland, I watched "Romper Room" every morning. I was a "Romper Room Do-Bee"!

"Romper Room" was a great tool for teaching children safety rules and social skills, as well as pre-kindergarten readiness during the 1960s. I have been teaching pre-kindergarten for the Euclid City Schools for the past 20 years and I have to believe that "Romper Room" and Miss Barbara influenced me in my career choice.

I still treasure my "Romper Room" Do-Bee Ring and a signed letter sent to me from Miss Barbara. Miss Barbara and her magic mirror brought children much happiness over the years. Thanks, Cleveland Magazine, for the memories!

Robin Benvenuto

I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Where Are They Now?" However, I would have enjoyed it that much more if one of my favorites were included in the article: Mr. Bob Wells, aka Houlihan of the "Houlihan and Big Chuck Show." Some of my fondest memories as a child growing up in late '60s, early '70s, was watching Houlihan and Big Chuck every Friday night. My sister and I never missed a show! No offense, Li'l John — I like you, but you're no Houlihan!!

Cheri Brown

We enjoyed the "Where Are they Now?" feature. It was great to read about and see photos of some important parts of our past. It was always special if Miss Barbara would "see" you and say your name when looking through that magic mirror.

Your readers might be interested in the status, and photos, of other former Clevelanders such as Mike Douglas and Houlihan the Weatherman. They can be found at www. in the People/Where are they Now section.

Debbie Hanson

It was nice to see some of the old familiar faces of Cleveland yore ["Where Are They Now?"]. The only thing that struck me was that if they loved Cleveland so much, then why did they all leave the city?

Nathan Wright

Why Not?

I am a native Clevelander who loves the city and continues to suffer as I watch incompetent leadership drive it to further desperate levels. I was recently back again for a visit and felt compelled to answer your invitation for a marketing program ["No Plums Allowed," August 2004].

After reading the other campaigns, none of which I felt had the correct positive spin or answered questions which are critical in a company's decision to locate in the city, I decided to give what I believe is a true and sellable approach: Why Not Cleveland?

First, you interview a prospective business owner or company search team and go through the litany: So, you're looking for trained employees, a low-cost environment, mass transit, low-cost housing, city tax incentives, first-class law firms and corporate service, an airport hub (600 miles from Chicago and 700 from New York — talk about proximity to where 2/3 of the U.S. population resides), trucking lanes and easy access, office space at reasonable rates. Then, you say after each question: "Why not Cleveland?"

Then, do the same interview for a young family or student. Go through all the assets accordingly: museums, sports teams, hospitals, Little Italy, Coventry, West Side Market, et cetera. Repeat low-cost quality housing, schools -- and then say, "Why not Cleveland?"

After you get them asking and testing the factual basis, you have a good chance of getting them. This approach hits everyone and without a gimmick. It talks to business, families and young people looking for a new vital life.

P.S. — I am planning on moving from what most consider Shangri-la (Chicago/Hinsdale) back to Cleveland, as it's my home and where I want to be for all the above.

Jordan Rahal
Oak Brook, Ill.

Raw Responses

After reading Jessica Schickel's boring account of her experience at the Spencer Tunick photo shoot ["Our Naked City," August 2004], I couldn't help but wonder if she and I were at the same event.

While I, too, was disappointed that the crowd was "mainly white" and wished that more people of color had come, I take great exception to her opinion that "The only prevailing unity of the Tunick crowd seems to be our ignorance about how it will work, and the logistics of the thing." Because I read all the articles in the newspapers prior to the event, I knew exactly how it would happen, and so did the people with whom I spoke.

Her assessment that "there isn't really an identifiable singleness of spirit to the occasion" is astounding. All she had to do was talk to a few people to learn that the opportunity to participate in the making of art history in our beloved Cleveland and work with a brilliant young artist drew over 2,750 of us to the Ninth Street Pier on this unseasonably brisk morning at such an early hour.

Too bad she "can't take it" and had to run for the warmth of her car and missed the rest of the event. My companion and I … both agree that this is one of the most memorable things we have ever done in our lifetimes. We smiled and giggled all the way home with the knowledge that we may be in a museum someday.

I'm afraid the only thing "finally not that interesting" about the day is Ms. Schickel's attitude and article. I guess she just didn't get it.

Lucy Cesar-Jedacek
Brunswick Hills

An assemblage of an uninhibited multitude should arouse — no Freudian slip here — the psychological and sociological curiosity of your farflung readership. Could it be that so many among us are given to vulgar exhibitionism?

Photographer Spencer Tunick offered civilized women and men an exceedingly rare opportunity for collective artistic expression, transcending the chattering teeth and goose bumps. Perhaps the bare participants were able to shed straitlaced anxieties along with their garments; perhaps people en masse simply do absurd and silly things.

"Nothing is more chaste than nudity" reflected artist and novelist George DuMaurier. "Venus herself as she drops her garments and steps on to the model-throne, leaves behind her on the floor every weapon in her armory by which she can pierce to the grosser passions of man." That is, even Aphrodite appears sexier in a bikini than she does stark naked.

William Dauenhauer

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