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Art Linkletter's House Party ran from 1952-1969 due totally to the easy going style of Art Linkletter himself. It was a half hour format airing at 11:30AM on the West Coast that featured a variety of special guests, games,and popular interviews with young school children at the end of each show.Linkletter would eventually write a best selling book about his conversations with the kids called, Kids Say The Darndest Things.
From the Forties right through to the Seventies, on radio and then on
television, middle America or what we would now call Red State America
had its own articulate voice in Art Linkletter and his House Party
Now retired and into his middle nineties, Linkletter was quite an institution back in the day. I well remember coming home from school and seeing House Party on television. My grandmother who lived with us was a devoted viewer. She also watched his night time show, People Are Funny.
Linkletter's easygoing manner and strong conservative politics made him an institution in those Republican leaning states. He even had quite a few fans in the decadent east. For the America which liked Ike, they loved Art.
Two things that stand out for me personally. Occasionally he would showcase young talent and I still remember a young comedian named Don Adams doing a stand up routine on one of his shows. This was years before he starred in Get Smart.
When the fabled Hollywood gossip columnists began losing their clout due to television, Art Linkletter provided a venue for Hedda Hopper. She must have made a dozen or more appearances a year on House Party, dispensing the latest Hollywood gossip. Her right wing politics and his meshed very well together. I remember her being on his show days before she died.
Another show I remember was Dale Evans as guest. Art Linkletter was the adopted son of a minister and Dale Evans and her husband Roy Rogers were well known as born agains. I still remember a show where Dale chided Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor for their Roman escapades on the set of Cleopatra. Dale, Roy, and Art certainly came from a whole different life experience than Liz and Dick had.
Of course what we remember the most about the show were the grade school kids. Some lucky school every day got to send four little urchins on the show, they were never more than 10 years old. Art was very good at this segment because he interviewed those kids like Edward R. Murrow would interview a celebrity. Most of the time he kept an absolutely straight face, but sometime a child who had not learned to be discreet and guarded in their answers came up with a beauty. Then Art lost it along with the rest of the audiences. Kids really did say the darndest things on that show.
House Party reflected the warmth and innate decency of its creator and host. Politics aside, I wish it was around now.
The show aired on radio for years then went to BOTH radio and TV before
it ran exclusively on TV.
Opening Line; COME ON IN, IT'S TIME FOR ART LINKLETTR'S HOUSE PARTY. The opening shot was a rectangular sign that said ART LINKLETTER'S HOUSE PARTY with "traveling" lights around the perimeter.
Music was provided by MUZZY MARCELLINO - a small music group. Muzzy was the guy that WHISTLED in the hit record, "THE HIGH & THE MIGHTY." Art often went into the audience and interviewed people.
Art's program featured the winners of the Pillsbuy Bake-off (Pillsbury was a big sponsor).
The announcer for the program was JACK SLATTERY.
The last 5 minutes of the program featured 5 primary school kids, whom Art asked questions, usually designed to embarrass their parents. This segment led to a series of books "Kids Say the Darndest Things."
I remember this show from when I was a preteen. I enjoyed watching the
children that were my own age that he would have on as guests; it was
what kept me watching what was otherwise an adult show. He would have
several kids sitting in chairs and would ask them various questions. It
was very interesting to me at that age to hear what kids from other
parts of the country had to say.
Art Linkletter had a talent as a TV host that appealed to people of all ages. House Party aired on TV and was also broadcast on the radio during its history. This show is a reminder of how television has evolved over the past 50-60 years and how it will never be the same again. Somehow, life seemed much simpler back then, as was television in those days.
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