March 07, 1994 12:00 PM

Randy Newman was stunned by the public outcry over his hit single “Short People.” Perhaps listeners were displeased by the song’s blunt-as-a-hammer refrain: “Short people got no reason to live.” Perhaps they weren’t familiar with the 5’11” singer-songwriter’s ferociously sarcastic oeuvre, which has included such numbers as “Davy the Fat Boy” and “Redneck.” At any rate, says Newman, 50: “Midgets picketed my concerts, and every time I turned on the television, I saw people throwing eggs at a picture of me.” He canceled one performance because of a death threat. Would “Short People” get an even worse reception now, in a more politically correct era? Says Newman: “Some would be offended. But the majority would see it for what it was—a novelty record.”

1978

…John Irving explained The World According to Garp…

Jon Voight played a suffering vet Coming Home…

Robin Williams babbled brilliantly on Mork & Mindy…

Animal House put college students into toga mode…

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