The Mailbag Through the Years

While preparing this issue’s celebration of the magazine’s 35th anniversary, everyone on staff read through a lot of old issues. And one thing we continually noticed were the funny, insightful and just plain creative letters submitted by our readers. Here were a few of our favorites. Consider it a challenge. We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at

Voodoo Vail
January 1975

You may call me a [Plain Dealereditor and publisher Tom] Vail alumnus (or survivor); at any rate, I like Gary Diedrichs’ piece (“The Beautiful and The Damned,” November 1974) about the man I have adopted as my lifelong voodoo doll. I like everything except for the title, which I’m guessing might have been [Cleveland Magazine editor Mike] Roberts’ misdoing. He sure as hell is damned, and he might be beautiful in Ohio, but he’d look more than a little tawdry in California.
Joe Eszterhas
San Francisco, Calif.

1975 Editor’s Note: Mr. Eszterhas, former Plain Dealer reporter, is a senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine; he was fired from the PD after writing nasty things about Mr. Vail.

Culture shock
February 1977

Now you’ve gone too far. My 10-year-old son finished reading your December issue and decided I am an inadequate parent because (a) he has a Yankee Clipper sled, rated “C” and (b) he is a West Sider. Perhaps the federal government should begin a busing program to take him out to Shaker Square to give him a better chance for the future. Would it be possible to publish two issues of Cleveland Magazine — an East Side edition and a West Side edition? That would greatly assist in reducing the frustration faced by West Side youths, trapped in the vicious cycle of cultural poverty.
W.R. Litzler
Rocky River

Take out the garbage
April 1977

We wish to protest the obscene picture of [rock musicians Freddie] Mercury and [Brian] May on the cover of your March issue. It was an insult to have those two creatures on the same page as President Carter. Our suggestion for such photos in the future is that they be discarded in the “round file” or better the garbage can. Keep those sickening obscenities where they belong. If they are Britain’s best, thank God we’re Americans.
Mr. and Mrs. John W. Kulka Jr.
Fairview Park

Matilda 1, Lute 0
December 1982

Asking the public to help you nominate the Most Interesting People in Cleveland only confirms what I have been telling you for several years. You ran out of interesting people in 1977 and have been getting more desperate each year. ... I would like to nominate:
Name: Princess Matilda Fat Cat
Occupation: House Cat
Exact Birthday: Unknown — about 16 years ago
Most recent accomplishment: Nothing
I think Matilda is as interesting as my second nominee, [Cleveland Magazine’s] Lute Harmon. Both are somewhat overweight, eat and sleep a lot, have bad breath, lots of hair ... burp and engage in many other antisocial behavior patterns. However, on pure intelligence, I think the nod for this year should go to Matilda.
Gerald H. Gordon

Pei don’t rock
March 1987

I was dismayed to read that I.M. Pei has been chosen, or is under consideration, to design the Cleveland Rock Hall of Fame. ... Mr. Pei has designed many prominent commissions throughout the world, but he is an inappropriate choice to produce this project.
Pei has worked in Cleveland before. He was the author of the disastrous urban-renewal scheme that destroyed a large portion of our downtown area to make way for empty urban plazas and sterile glass towers. We are only now recovering from this reckless surgical treatment. ... Almost without exception, important architectural commissions in Cleveland have always been awarded outside the Cleveland architectural community.
This is perhaps an equal reflection on the self-perception of the city and perception of the abilities of local tlent.
Jack Alan Bialosky Jr., AIA

More promises of power
January 1988
Thank you for the accuracy in the editing of our wide-ranging interview, which appeared in the November issue of
Cleveland Magazine. As you know, your magazine was the first in the media, local or national, to observe this 20th anniversary of my election as mayor of Cleveland. And the comprehensiveness of your interview has caused many of your competitors to use your reportage as the benchmark of their belated coverage. The question most asked me by interviewers subsequent to your November publication is: “Were you quoted accurately by Cleveland Magazine when you said ...” I have been delighted to answer “Yes.”
Carl B. Stokes
Municipal Court Judge
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