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Lou Grant: Hollywood (1979)
The best that television ever had to offer
The "Hollywood" episode of "Lou Grant" is, in my opinion, the best piece of television I've ever seen. The story is wonderful, the background theme music still rings in my years 25 years later.
I'm a journalist, a Los Angeles historian and a teacher. I've been using that episode as a journalism learning tool for all of these years. One of the most delicate and wonderful aspects of the episode is when Animal, the sort-of hippie photographer, takes on the task of winning the trust of a recluse widow who lives above the abandoned Baby Duarte's Cantina. His sensitive and disarming interview is a classic.
"What's that?" Mrs. Polk says when he takes out a small machine. "A tape recorder," Animal replies. "It makes it easier to listen." "Oh," she says, hesitatingly. "If you ask me how it works, I'm up a creek," Animal says. "Oh no. Mr. Polk once tried to explain radio to me and all it did was ruin our dinner."
Another wonderful thing is that when the staff of the Tribune goes looking for Hollywood people from the past, they first look at old photos of them. What's cool is that the photos are old stills of the very actors they'll eventually find and interview.
I'm so pleased that I was able to record a copy of this great story with a most wonderful ending.