Letters to the
Fuming at the TV
Re the caption to your 3 October "BU Yesterday" ("the suave man in the SPRC control booth"), a little lesson in basic logic: Smoking is not suave. The man is smoking. Therefore the man is not suave.
When we look at a photograph from the past, as we do each week with "BU Yesterday," we try to adjust for the times as we write the caption. In 1953, when that picture was taken, the notion of secondhand smoke hadn't been invented. Nor were people even aware of the health risks associated with smoking. Therefore, to be suave back then -- that is, to be blandly polite, smooth, sophisticated -- and to smoke were not yet mutually exclusive.
Congratulations on your new name and new look. It certainly is refreshing. I especially liked your articles on the John Walker show and on the Sam Waxman book collection. Waxman was a neighbor of mine in Cambridge.
Don't demote Choate
The gentleman in the "BU Yesterday" picture with Burgess Meredith (19 September) is not Dean Choate. He is Horace Armistead, noted Metropolitan Opera designer and painter and SFA professor of scene design.
Indeed he is not Robert Choate. When we telephoned George Makechnie, who served as dean ad interim of SFA from 1959 to 1961, he confirmed that the photograph had been mislabeled at some point: "Never in your life," he says, "would you have seen Bob Choate in shirtsleeves." --The Editors
The man in the muddle: Burgess Meredith with the real Robert Choate (center) and Horace Armistead. Meredith appeared at the BU Theatre and met with SFA students in 1957. BU Photo Services