MAILBAG/CHARO AND THE TV GAME SHOW HALL OF FAME

I received a very entertaining letter from the Charo camp after I joked about her in an Oct. 19 column, which was about the new TV Game Show Hall of Fame in Vegas. In the column, I imagined roles at the museum for various game show figures of the past, including Charo, who once was a regular on “Hollywood Squares.”
Here’s the delightful letter I received, from David Nash, and my response to him …

Hi John,

Your article about the new “Game Show Hall of Fame” is a hoot! I sure hope the exhibit finds just the right permanent home.
The story popped up on my “Google Alerts for Charo”, which I monitor as a friend and fan of Charo’s. I try to help her keep in touch with the on-line world among other things…

Your quote and comment:

“At the ‘Hollywood Squares’ exhibit, guests will sit in stacked vertical grids and trade quips with a Charo robot.

Oh, wait, maybe that’s the real Charo. She’s pretty available these days.”

So funny, so true — and not something I am very happy about.

And yet it is not quite accurate….

Charo is actually not as available as I would like her to be…

Charo spent about 4 months this year with Andy Williams in Branson at his Moon River Theater where she still is, as I write to you…. or out at sea with Royal Caribbean or hopping around the country from one Indian Casino to the next.

Sadly this “on the road” schedule makes it often impossible for Charo to accept TV offers.

She recently had to pass up a guest spot on the Tonight show spoofing
her Geico ad with the previous night’s “American Idol” loser.

I did get her booked twice on the Martha Stewart show last year…
but a follow-up appearance on the Today show went instead to Barry
Manilow. Again Charo was tied up in Branson with Andy Williams… so they got
Barry Manilow instead.

It is a tough call for Charo — and bugs me big time — that she is so
tied up here and there bringing home a paycheck — which sets in
motion a “catch 22.”

Too often lately Charo is not very available or visible on the Tube
– where she needs to spend a lot more time. So many people under age
35 or 40 are becoming less and less aware of who or what a Charo was
and still is!

A conversation and touchy subject that, as a good friend, Charo and I
recently rehashed.

I will forward your article to her sister Carmen.

She will get a big laugh… and a few things to think about.

Then hopefully Carmen will shred the copy of your story before Charo
returns from Branson and reads it. You so hit the nail on the head.
It might hurt Charo a bit to see it in print.

Otherwise, Charo is doing great! She has not gained a pound in more
than 30 years. Her sister absolutely will not adjust the patterns
for her costumes — so Charo has no choice but to go with the program.

Charo’s awesome guitar playing, her comedic talents, wit and energy
continue to amaze and delight me.

I hope hearing from me may at least slightly amuse you.

Good work John…!

Please keep Charo in your thoughts!

David Nash

David: Thanks for your very endearing and entertaining letter. I thought a long time before I chose Charo for that joke. My first intention was to use Charles Nelson Reilly, but I remembered he is no longer with us. Many, in fact, of the old guard of stars who appeared on “Hollywood Squares” have passed on to that great game show in the sky. Many others are little-remembered. I finally chose Charo because she is very much still with us, and because EVERYBODY knows who she is.
That’s what I call true fame.
I hope she won’t cry if she reads my column. I hope she will be at least a little bit flattered.
If people are still joking about you, you’ve still got it goin’ on.
I’m glad to hear about all the work she still is doing. Next time she performs in Southern California I’ll try to catch her show.
And maybe I’ll be able to give her an out-and-out plug the next time I mention her in print. I will be happy to do so, not only because of who she is, but because she has such a valiant champion looking out for her. I am speaking, of course, of you.
Thanks again for writing.
John.