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March 31, 1989 - Image 66

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-03-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ENTERTAINMENT

All That Zazz

Continued from preceding page

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66

FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 1989

sideration"in the Pulitzer
Prize competition's feature=
writing category, Zaslow had,
by that time, earned several
awards in journalism. Dick
Martin, his Wall Street Jour-
nal editor, who considered his
employee a first-rate reporter
and excellent writer, warned
that the job was beneath him.
Still, somewhere along the
way, the story became his
own. He wanted this job.
Always an outgoing person,
Zaslow enjoyed this new in-
teraction with the public. He -
loved the fun and attention.
He played it up to the hilt,
milked it for all its worth, pos-
ing for a People magazine
photographer, a bouffant Ann
Landers wig perched atop his
head.
One might have thought
Zaslow emphasizes a point in a recent Shaarey Zedek speech.
the seven finalists had ap-
plied to the FBI.
monthly replaces that with
school job there so he could be
"The Sun-Times asked
straight essay columns.
with her at dinner.
what kind of homes we lived
At first readers didn't quite
Then there is the lighter,
in and they hired a private in-
know what to make of the
more humorous side of the
vestigator to look into our
new column, Zaslow explains.
business, like Zaslow's sug-
lives. (They asked) a million
"One day I'd give advice to
gestion to a woman who
questions. I think they did a
Elvis Presley in heaven and
wanted her husband's face et-
better job on us than Dan
the next day I'd write about a
ched into Mt. Rushmore:
Quayle."
reunion of reform school
"Maybe you can get the local
The Sun-Times wanted a
girls." He plays Jeopardy with
deli to name a sandwich after
contemporary approach to the
his readers — he supplies the
him instead."
art of modern-day problem
question, they, the answers —
Wedding etiquette remains
solving. Zaslow's plan was to
and runs "I Owe You One"
the number one problem for
establish a unique advisory
contests, with readers writing
readers, but Zazz, as the men
board. Instead of professional
in to thank people for advice
in his family are called,
experts, he would appoint
that saved them.
prefers responding to mother-
"common sense"advisers from
"I am the only advice col-
in-law dilemmas. A reader
all walks of life to answer one
umnist in the country who
complained that when her
question every three weeks.
makes housecalls," he boasts.
husband's mother visited, she
They would all be called
Well, maybe not exactly
asked the price of almost each
Joes or Josephines and would
housecalls but he does accept
item in the house. Next time,
include hairdressers, con-
one dinner invitation per
just say "it's not for sale," she
struction workers, bartenders
month from readers — he
was advised.
and cab drivers. In addition,
brings the wine.
One of Zaslow's textbooks is
he would issue a lifetime
His favorite housecall? The
The Bintel Brief which in-
guarantee with his advice. He
time he dined with a deaf
cludes letters that appeared
promised to be "off the wall
family who signed, through
in the column of the same
and on the mark." As proof of
interpreters, explaining how
name in the Jewish Daily
this promise, he offered the
difficult their affliction was
Forward.
judges a sample (oft-asked)
and what hearing people
"People often ask why are
question and answer.
could do to help. It touched
there so many Jewish advice
"Is a 15-year-old girl old
him deeply. He wrote: "In
columnists, like Ann and Ab-
enough to shave her legs?" a
their world, I'm handicapped
by, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Dr.
mother asks. Zaslow's
. . . Once in my car, I listen to
Ruth and myself. The reason
answer: "Yes and she can
the radio self-consciously.
is that in a Jewish household
shave her moustache anytime
Then I turn it off and drive
people talk, they argue, they
she wants."
home in silence."
discuss, they meddle; it's
In June 1987, Zaslow and
When Zaslow was inter-
more natural. The traits of a
Massachusetts attorney
viewed for the job, the media
Jewish mother are needed in
Diane Crowley, whose
questioned the compassion
an advice column.
mother, Ruth Crowley,. was
and wisdom of a 28-year-old.
"Ann Landers and Abby
the first Ann Landers, were
At the time, he quipped, "I'm
Van Buren aren't exactly
notified that they had won.
28 with the wisdom of a
Jewish names," he points out.
Zaslow would write his own
29-year-old." But the truth is
"I don't mind telling people
daily column, "All That
that wisdom and compassion
I'm Jewish. I often bring it up
Zazz." Crowley's would be
are natural components of his
in the column."
called "Dear Diane" and the
makeup.
One woman wrote in and
two would be featured in the
When his 87-year-old pater-
said: "I know Jews make
"Daily Double," writing
nal grandfather became men-
great chicken soup. Does
separate answers to the same
tally incapacitated from
anyone in your family have a
question.
Alzheimer's Disease, he wrote
good recipe? Sure enough, the
From the onset it was clear
a moving story of "Tillie and
next time he visited his
that Zaslow had not only his
Alex," about his grand-
parents, Harry and Naomi
own style but endless in-
mother's devoted struggle to
Zaslow of Broomall, Pa., a
novative concepts. He still
care for his grandfather at
Philadelphia suburb, he took
employs the traditional
home. When his maternal
copious notes over his
question-and-answer format
grandmother entered a nurs-
mother's shoulder as she
but at least seven times
ing home, he took an after-
cooked the soup for him.

w-

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