In the new Fordham Observer series, Office Hours…, we take a closer look inside the offices of deans, professors and advisors to get the full scoop on the stories behind some of the favorite items hanging on their walls or scattered along their desks. Featured this week is Communications and Media Studies professor Michael Tueth, S.J., who shows us some of his favorite classic TV shows and tells us about his friendship with one of the most familiar-faced actresses you’ve probably never heard of.
“I’m big on sunbursts or sun faces; I like sunbursts a lot. One I have is bronze, and the other one is from Santa Fe, New Mexico.”
2. Doctoral Diploma
“My Ph.D diploma from NYU.”
3. Award from Regis College
“I was ‘faculty member of the year’ out in Regis College one year.”
4. Marianne Muellerleille
“This is a dear friend of mine. I’ve known her for 40 years. She’s an actress and does lots of work. She never became really famous but she’s been in every sitcom at one time or another. But the one thing she’s remembered for is the soap opera ‘Passions’ where she played this woman, Norma, who went around killing people with a hatchet. It was way over the top and just ridiculous. The one time she came to visit me, we were on the elevator and one student just kept staring at her. He said, ‘I know who you are! You’re Norma!’ She goes to me, ‘I’ve done Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams but this is what I’m going to be remembered for!’”
5. Gregorian Chant Sheet Music
“Professor Jackaway gave me this. She was cleaning out her apartment years ago and she found these and said, ‘I don’t know what they are.’ And I said, ‘They’re Gregorian chants. It’s probably from a very old monastery where they used to chant every day.’ In some monasteries they used to have huge books for the psalms. But they are two different pages—on one side references to the Jews and on the other is more Christian.”
6. 1995 New Yorker issue—Babel cover
“I love this. This is a cover of ‘The New Yorker’ back in 1995 when I first came here. On the cover is New York as the Tower of Babel where everyone speaks different languages. It has all these different ethnic groups on it in the form of storefronts.
7. 1970 New Yorker–Television Set cover
“A friend of mine who is a professor of communications at Loyola University in Chicago gave me this. When my book came out on television comedy, my thesis was that television comedy is distinct because it comes into the home whereas everything else is in movies, comedy clubs or theater. Therefore it has to be a certain type of comedy. The cover is from 1970 with a home built like television set.”
8. Waterford Crystal Cross
“I do get religious on occasion (laughs). I got it from when I was on the Board of Trustees at Loyola University in Chicago.”
9. Comedy Pictures “I’ve got three comedy pictures on my desk. One is the famous Charlie Chaplin when he’s on the machine from ‘Modern Times.’ Another one is ‘Church Lady’ from Saturday Night Live. The other is Lucy (from ‘I Love Lucy’). One of students of mine sent this card to me with a recording of Lucy doing the ‘Vitameatavegamin’ skit.
10. VHS Tapes
“I started this collection many, many years ago before we were doing DVD at all, but the bottom shelf is all movies for the TV Comedy class. It goes all the way back to Milton Berle to ‘I Love Lucy’ to ‘Brady Bunch’ and ‘South Park.’ I keep it somewhat in historical order. I tried to replace as many things with DVDs as I can but it’s a lot of money. A lot of it is stuff I taped years ago.”