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LOU GUZZO, 1917-2013
July 3rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

kiro-tv

Known for decades as a cranky reactionary political commentator, you might find it hard to believe he’d started as a Seattle Times art and theater reviewer.

There, and later as managing editor at the P-I, he regularly advocated for the “fine arts” as a civilizing force, a means toward furthering the region’s progress from frontier outpost to respectable conservative community.

When the Seattle World’s Fair ended, Guzzo famously editorialized that the fair grounds (to become Seattle Center) should be devoted entirely toward arts/cultural pursuits. He specifically did not want any amusement-park rides there. He lived to see them finally removed.

One of Guzzo’s closest allies in this education-and-uplifting ideology was Dixy Lee Ray, who ran the Pacific Science Center. He later worked for Ray at the Atomic Energy Commission and during her one term as Washington Governor.

After Ray was primaried out of a re-election bid in 1980, Guzzo became a regular commentator on KIRO-TV. That’s where, in 1986, he delivered a blistering attack against greasy-haired, anti-social punk rockers. (The motivation was the infamous Teen Dance Ordinance, which Guzzo supported.)

In response, a local hardcore combo called the Dehumanizers released a blistering attack on him, in the form of a 45 entitled “Kill Lou Guzzo” (which began with a sample of Guzzo’s original commentary). Guzzo sued the band and its record-label owner David Portnow. Portnow responded by pressing more copies.

After retiring from KIRO at the end of the 1980s, Guzzo started a “voice of reason” website and self-published several books.


2 Responses  
  • Norm Gregory writes:
    July 3rd, 20132:27 pmat

    I have stifled myself since I heard of Mr Guzzo’s passing a couple days ago.

    But now I am breaking my late mother’s advice that if you haven’t got anything nice to say about a person don’t say anything . . . especially about a person who has passed on.

    In the 1950s through the ’60s, Guzzo was relentless in his outrage over Top Forty radio specially and rock ‘n roll music generally. If any event or person even had a hint of that “noise” he went after it.

    As a sometimes target I grew very weary of his blistery attacks.

  • John Ned writes:
    July 4th, 20137:25 pmat

    Wow, a fascinating bit of local history, particularly to transplant like me.


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