Time Machine: THE MOST OF 1983

Monday, Jan. 02, 1984
Show Business: THE MOST OF 1983

Longest Goodbye: The 2½-hour final episode of M*A*S*H, telecast by CBS last February to unprecedented ratings, and followed by the Fastest Return: AfterMASH, unveiled just seven months later.

Most Enchanted Evening: Sept. 29, when A Chorus Line became the longest-running show on Broadway and Director Michael Bennett restaged his musical as a dazzling class reunion of 330 dancing alumni. Is A Chorus Line the best-ever Broadway musical? No. But that night it was.

Least Enchanted Ten Weeks: The Broadway revival of Private Lives, in which Resistible Force Richard Burton met Immovable Object Elizabeth Taylor, and the play sank in a wave of critical catcalls.

Sexiest Secret Agent: Sean Connery, who returned to play 007 in Never Say Never Again and easily beat Mannequin Roger Moore (Octopussy) in the battle of the Bonds.

Squeakiest Door: The homosexuality closet on Broadway, which was vividly pried open with the Tony-winning Torch Song Trilogy and the hit musical La Cage aux Folles.

Saddest Alien: E.T., who found that being box-office champ could not keep him (and his creator Steven Spielberg) from getting trampled in the Oscar race by Gandhi.

Happiest Aliens: The extraterrestrials who populated Return of the Jedi, the Star Wars sequel that took in almost $300 million at movie theaters in its first six months.

Longest War: ABC’s 18-hour The Winds of. . . brought Herman Wouk and a platoon of stars to prime time and proved that, with a $40 million budget and $35 million worth of on-air promotion, a mini-series can still snag record numbers of viewers.

Most Versatile Talent: Playwright-Actor Sam Shepard, who scored off-Broadway with his dynamo dramas True West and Fool for Love, and on-screen as the sexy incarnation of Test Pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff.

Highest Rebound: Bette Midler, who stormed back from a jinxed movie career to recover her standing as Ms. Show Biz with a 50-city concert tour, a cable-TV special, a new album, and a bestselling book, The Saga of Baby Divine.

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