From Our Listeners

Letters: Flops, Thanks for the Merman

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A listener takes exception to a series on flops. Others wrote in to say the sentencing of convicted serial killer Dennis Rader didn't deserve airtime. And a listener leaves a musical tribute in thanks for a story on Ethel Merman.


Time now for your comments.


In response to our series about flops in showbiz and the arts, many of you told us about your favorite flop. Roberta Lazar of Adelphi, Maryland, writes, `Your story about films that flopped in the US featured "Hero," which went on to become a hit in Europe. It aired this weekend on a local channel, so I was able to find out what a treasure I'd missed.'

(Soundbite of "Hero")

Ms. GEENA DAVIS: (As Gale Gayley) Everybody thinks of you as a hero, Mr. Bubber. How do you see yourself?

Mr. ANDY GARCIA: (As John Bubber) I think we're all heroes if you catch us at the right moment.

INSKEEP: Roberta says, `"Hero" is wonderful and should have received an Oscar instead of being relegated to the vaults of obscurity.'

MONTAGNE: Our story about insurance company Aetna's decision to disclose how much it pays doctors in Cincinnati for office visits and other services brought this from Harris Meyer of Hollywood, Florida.

Mr. HARRIS MEYER (Listener): Contrary to what free market ideologues say, consumers will never be able to comparison shop for health care the way they do for cereal and other products and services. First of all, when people are sick, they are in no position to deliberately shop and compare. Second, patients generally don't buy discrete services. They typically need a package of care for their condition. Knowing the price of the initial doctor visit alone does not tell the patient what the true cost of care is going to be.

INSKEEP: That's Harris Meyer of Florida. Now some of you objected to a word used on this program to describe Cindy Sheehan. She's the California woman whose son was killed in Iraq and who wants a meeting with President Bush. In a conversation, Cokie Roberts described Sheehan as unsophisticated. Listener Rick Kornfeld of Denver writes, `Ms. Sheehan's manipulation of both the White House and the national media suggests that she is anything but unsophisticated.'

MONTAGNE: And some listeners objected to our story on convicted Kansas serial killer Dennis Rader. Jane Durch of Arlington, Virginia, writes, `The feature story contributed no worthwhile information to the listening public. It served only to pander to those with a taste for sensationalist stories.'

INSKEEP: Finally, Susan Stamberg's story about a re-release of the recordings of singer Ethel Merman inspired words and song from Rachel Winslow(ph) of El Dorado, California.

Ms. RACHEL WINSLOW (Listener): I drove to work this morning grinning like a kid. As Ethel Merman sang "Small World," I belted out the familiar tune right along with her. (Singing) Funny, I'm a stranger myself here. Small world, isn't it?

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. ETHEL MERMAN: (Singing) Small world, isn't it?

Ms. WINSLOW: My mother would often tell me that I belted too much like Ethel Merman. Thanks for sharing the story with me.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. MERMAN: (Singing) ...traveling, rather than settling down.

MONTAGNE: And if you have a note of your own for us, please go to Click on the button that says `contact us.'

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. MERMAN: (Singing) to go traveling, small world, isn't it? We have so much in common, it's a phenomenon. We could pool our resources by joining forces from now on. Lucky, you're a man who likes children. That's an important sign. Lucky, I'm a woman who has children. Small world, isn't it? Funny, isn't it?

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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