Happy Friday! Time to welcome the arrival of reader mail.
"Good Morning Mr. Potempa: I really enjoyed your column earlier this week about Jerry Bishop aka Svengoolie. When our sons were young, we would sit and watch his spooky movies show. So sad he has passed away. When you write about local TV names and stars, it is among my favorite topics. National celebrities are all over the news, however, information about local favorites is what hometown newspapers are all about. Please write more columns about Chicago newscasters, weatherpersons, sportscasters, since they are in our homes more often than South Bend TV people. Reading recently your update about Sylvia Perez leaving WLS-TV was an eye-opener. I didn't realize she had left the station. By the way, what happened to Susan Carlson on Chicago CBS, who did the early morning news? Your column is the second item we read in The Times, right after the funnies. Thank you for your informative, interesting column. How do you do it 7 days a week? Rose Faitak, Chesterton"
Thank you for your letter Rose and for reading The Times. And to answer your question about Chicago news anchor Susan Carlson, she was dismissed from WBBM-TV CBS Channel 2 back in May, after a 10-year tenure with the station. I'm told she still had two more months left on her existing contract, but station management opted to make their changes sooner, rather than later.
The early morning newscast you refer to Rose, has suffered from extremely low ratings, so it must have been time to move some personalities around.
Carlson, 42, is originally from the Windy City and graduated from Loyola University in 1991 with her Bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism/English. After working in radio, her first TV stint was in 1995 as a traffic reporter on WGN-TV.
But don't worry, it hasn't taken too long for Carlson to find a new gig.
You can now find her working at NBC 5 WMAQ-TV, where she began contributing her reporting expertise back in July, helping fill time for the station's new expanded weekend morning newscasts.
Following her leave from CBS, Carlson also returned to her radio roots over the summer, doing news on WLS for "The Roe Conn Show with Richard Roeper."(She was hired to replace the retiring Jim Johnson.) Previously, she spent four years from 1998 to 2002 also doing news and traffic for Conn's (and at that time, Garry Meier's) afternoon radio show on WLS-AM.
Thank you to reader Mary Kucia of Chicago, who read my Thursday column about the silly stage musical "Spamalot" coming to Northwest Indiana in January.
Mary asked me to alert readers about an even earlier ticket opportunity to satisfy audiences hungry for an even earlier taste of Monty Python's curious humor.
Marian Theatre Guild in Whiting, located at 1849 Lincoln Ave. with theater doors located on 119th St. at Lincoln Avenue, is also presenting "Spamalot," and their run, which starts next month, even includes some Saturday night dinner theater options.
Directed by John E. Buranosky and Shelley Segraves Crosby, the run is Nov. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17. Saturday curtain times are at 8:15 p.m. and Sunday afternoon's performances are at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $12 for students and seniors and $15 for adults. The Saturday night dinner shows are $25. The box office just opened Monday for ticket sales and is open from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Patrons can call (219) 473-7555 for reservations. I'm told you can also contact Dolores Banik in Valparaiso to arrange for tickets by calling her at (219) 548-1498.