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July 12, 1978 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-12

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Page 6--Wednesday, July 12, 1978--The Michigan Daily
'America 2 Night' gets the ax

By OWEN GLEIBERMAN
The cancellation of late-night talk-
show satire America 2 Night must be
chalked up as a devastating blow to the
seldom celebrated cause of mediocrity.
Although 99 per cent of television is cer-
tainly pure drivel, America 2 Night was

the only show to revel in it; the
program stood firm, looked garbage
square in the eye, and said "I love it!"
Like Andy Warhol, with his Campbell's
soup cans and Brillo boxes, America 2
Night did its darndest to redeem the
banality of American bad taste, and for-

REC ORDS
By MIKE TAYLOR
I first fell in love with Bruce Springsteen three summers ago when I
bought The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle. I realized then I was
listening to the most powerful, original rock and roll voice I had heard in a
long time. No one else seemed capable of spinning such wild tales of life in
urban America, let alone producing the spiritual fervor of songs like "Kitty's
Back" and "Rosalita."
I rushed out to buy Greetings From Asbury Park, his first record, and a
week later, Born to Run came out. I remember playing that album for frien-
ds, proudly proclaiming that Springsteen was indeed The Next Big Thing.
AND HE WAS. At least for a while, as 'he made the covers of Time and
Newsweek in the same week, and gave those who crowded Hill Auditorium
that fall a concert they'll never forget. Now, following an ugly and prolonged
lawsuit that kept him from recording, Springsteen is back, and as far as I'm
concerned he sounds better than ever. It's a new Springsteen, faster and
more streamlined, but then after three years it's only natural that he sounds
a little different.
The music is catchy, hook-laden rock and roll; clearly Springsteen, like
Elvis Costello, has learned that nothing beats a simple pop tune. Clarence
Clemmons' sax appears on only three of the ten songs. In place of Clemmons
is Springsteen, who now engages in incredible pyrotechnics on guitar, bur-
ning breathtaking leads song after song.
Now if you're a middle-to-upper class college student like most folks
around here, you might find Springsteen's new lyrics a little offensive at fir-
st. Or perhaps you'll hope he's only kidding.
Darkness At the Edge of Townn
Bruce Springsteen
C.-b . ,53t/n8
YOU SEE, Darkness at the Edge of Town is a record about revolution. Not
revolution in some abstract political science textbook sense, but revolution
now, in the streets, in our hearts.
Springsteen chronicles the despair of the working class in two listless, yet
urgent songs, "Factory" and the title track. The sense of loss, loneliness,
and hopelessness if horrifying until one realizes that something can be done,
even though that might mean violence. As he points out at the end of "Fac-
-tory," "somebody's gonna get hurt tonight."
From despair comes action, revolution, as he explains in "Adam Raised A
Cain," a pounding, haunting fury of a song:
You inherit the sine, You inherit theflames,
Aatam raiseda Cain.
TWO TUNES, easily the record's most tightly constructed rock'n'roll ef-
forts, "Badlands" and "The Promised Land," show wha revolution looks
like to the young guy whorealizes for the first time that it's the only way out.
With menace in every syllable, Springsteen spits out in "The Promised
Land":
Gonna be a twister to blow erernthing dwn
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground
Blot away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leare yeo ntothing but lost and brokenhearteel
I beliee in a promisedland. ..
Or take the feisty young man who screams at the end of "Badlands," "I
wanna spit in the face of these badlands."Of course, one can escape from
despair without revolution, but such escapes always come to an end, and
then the world is just as soul-crunching at it ever was.
You can escape by car, as Springsteen tries in "Something In The Night"
and "Racing In the Streets," two eloquent ballads that capture well the en-
nui of the road, but you'll just simply reach a dead end. In the first tune,
Springsteen and his lover are left with nothing, "chasing something in the
night." In the second, not only will you never get anywhere, but you may end
up destroying the one you love.
You can escape by falling in love, as Springsteen does rather successfully
in "Candy's Room," a dark tale greatly influenced by the Velvet Un-
derground, but even then, he confides, "To get to Candy's room, you gotta
walk the darkness of Candy's hall." In "Prove It All Night," the lovers seem
happy enough, but you can't help wondering if their desperate encounters
ouldn't be a little more pleasant ina nicer world.
Darkness At The Edge of Town is not a concept album. It is just one man's
view of the world and what to d about it, but a highly perceptive view, I
think. Go ahead, ignore the lyrcs, sitback and listen to the great music -
that's easy enough to do. But 4yu 'e ding think abut the things
{ Springsteen is tl p4$ pbt;i$ mtg enP atshakee you rih dout of

that, it deserves a merit badge.
The show, as its die-hard cult is un-
doubtedly well aware of by now, aired
its final segment Monday night. Fans
will probably find this fact all the more
frustrating on discovering that the
show was a ratings success. Unfor-
tunately, it was an incredibly expensive
proposition, airing five nights a week
and utilizing the talents of a ten-man
writing team.
I SPOKE with Fred Willard, who por-
trays Jerry Hubbard, the quintessential
Ed McMahonish-dumb sidekick, and he
admitted the cancellation came as no
great surprise. Willard said, "I kind of
had a bad feeling about it," explaining
that the show's stars had feared its
demise for several weeks. Although he
couldn't picture doing the show for the
rest of his life, Willard said he would
have enjoyed another thirteen-week
stint. "It was different every day. I par-
ticularly liked Martin's monologue,
which he wrote with one of the writers.
Then I would say generally half the
guests I really enjoyed."
n er inerct
Willard said he was consistently im-
pressed with the proficiency of the
largely unknown actors who appeared
as guests, and rightly so. The guests,
who ranged from an overbearing child
singing "My Way" to a Salvation Army
Band doing a fife and drum version of
"Stayin' Alive," hit home to anyone
who has ever faced a show like Let's
Make a Deal, and watched contestants
do literally anything to be on television.
AS DELICIOUS as America 2 Night's
premise was, it was undeniably a "one-
idea" show, almost an extended Satur-
day Night Live sketch. And most likely
it would have run down after three
segments had the show's regulars not
clicked in their roles. As it was, Martin

Mull's smooth comic delivery as Barth
Gimble was the perfect ingredient to
mix with Jerry Hubbard's mush-
brained witticisms, and the two of them
worked together splendidly. Willard
claims, "I would have an idea and tell it
to Martin, and he would listen kind of
distracted. Then at the end of the show I
would come out with the idea, and he
would be right there with the line."
If America 2 Night differed from
other sit-coms in its incorporation of
improvisation, it was even more unique
in its attitude toward the rest of
television, an outsider's stance it
shared with Saturday Night Live.
Willard feels that 'Saturday Night
opened up a lot of things" for
television's satirical possibilities. He
said America 2 Night "cut through a
lot of the phoniness and sham on TV.
Probably just the people who should
have been watching it weren't."
WILLARD FINDS himself in the
reverse predicament, in that he is
smart enough to try and avoid
loathsome TV sit-coms. The network
has come up with some pilots, but he is
wary of falling into a show that isn't
worth its weight in television tubes. An
added problem is the rigorous hours
demanded of a weekly sit-com star. On
America 2 Night, says Willard, "You
come in at noon, you ad-lib, and it's just
like being at a party."
Still, it would seem that he's had
enough exposure to generate some
leeway in picking his roles. In par-
ticular, his cuddly, buffoonish presence
as Jerry Hubbard seemed to generate a
wave of affection among the studio
audience. Willard says of the final
show, in which he portrayed both Hub-
bard and himself, "I was sitting wat-
ching, and I said, 'I like Jerry Hubbard
more than myself.' "
America 2 Night was one of the only
shows of recent years that generally
struck in new directions, and, like most
such endeavors, it saw an early end. I
only hope that Willard, Mull and com-
pany find other means of lifting
television out of the dirt. As Mull said
on the last show, "it's goodnight, and
not good-bye."

Tisch backers failed to
file required documents

(Continued from Page i)
organization has spent or received $200
or more, Thomas said. The financial
statement must be filed by June 30.
Tisch estimated he and his wife have
given $3,000 in cash and other aid to
promoting the tax cut plan. He said he
has received $1,000 to $1,100 in con-
tributions, but has not spent any of it.
Thomas said Tisch is being sent the
letter because state officials have
reason to believe - based on
newspaper accounts and other infor-
mation - that statements should have
been filed.
BE SAID THE letter will "give him
an opportunity to clarify his situation."
Thomas also said his office is also
looking into the question of whether a
second group backing the Tisch
proposal also ran afoul of the reporting
law.
The Tisch campaign could be fined
$10 per day for'every day up to 0, days
thatthey-arelatein filing the state'nmrt
of organizattn Thomas saidL 'Afte'30
days, failur' to ' file 'becomes a

misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up
to $1,000.
THE SAME penalties apply to the
annual statement except that failure to
file after 30 days also carries a possible
jail term of up to 90 days, Thomas said.
The decision on whether to prosecute
for the misdemeanor would be left in
the hands of the local prosecuting at-
torney, according to state officials.
"Hell no, I don't think we're in
violation," Tisch said. "This isn't
anything political - it's constitutional.
I defy anybody to tell me this is
political."
"I think this law is going to be used
now to subvert the will of the people,"
he said.
"If we're supposed to file we'll be
filing when my attorneys say we should
be filing," he added, however.
Coach Chuck Knox has won Western
Divisio-i titles in the National. Con-
ferenceof the National Football League
in'eech oft is-firstfveyearsi slkpper
of theLas.Angeles Rams: .

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