|Index||5 reviews in total|
THE DICK CAVETT SHOW-was an 90 minute mixture of talk and variety that
ran for six astounding years on late-night prime time television on the
ABC-TV network from the first telecast on May 26,1969 to the final
episode of the series on August 16,1975. This was at the time one of
the most versatile performers who eventually gave us some of the
biggest entertainment acts in the history of rock,and went toe to toe
with the King of Late Night-Johnny Carson and eventually at the time
Merv Griffin for the battle of late night supermacy. However,Dick
Cavett was one of the few television personalities ever to star or host
major programs in daytime,prime-time,late night,all in quick
succession,and it wasn't about his failure to attract a large audience
with any of them,which his late night talk show brought in some of the
largest ratings ever for ABC at the time,which was well praised and
received by the critics that were generally acknowledged to be
witty,intelligent,and interesting compared to what was scheduled around
them. And this was during his basking in the Nielsen's spotlight during
his first five seasons of the show. But what killed it successful late
night format was that it was too much of the intelligence that not only
did Cavett in,but had him terminated from his job,and his talk show
cancelled from ABC. He often hesitated to bring a thought-provoking
approach to his audience,not let alone people and also show-biz types
and musical figures as guests. It was the viewers,who didn't much care
to have their thoughts provoked,but it was Cavett's wit and too much
detail in things that did him in.
However,Dick Cavett's late night talk-variety show of the late 1960's and early 1970's were essentially more than talk and music with some singing or special performing guest which Cavett brought on a array of some of the biggest artists ever to perform and two of them deserved special attention at the height of the era:Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin was at the height of her fame when she made two appearances on The Dick Cavett Show. The first was in June 25,1970 and her last appearance on the show was on August 3,1970. The other was Jimi Hendrix,one of the greatest influence artists of the 20th Century,made two appearances of The Dick Cavett Show as well. His appearances,and others on the program came at the time of one of the biggest events ever presented in musical history...WOODSTOCK. The events that were transcribed at WOODSTOCK brought in the ratings,since Dick Cavett was going for a hip-younger audience and it shows here as well. As far as the acts that appeared on The Dick Cavett Show were legendary and it consists of some of the best from the era:Joni Mitchell,Jefferson Airplane,John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Crosby,Stills,Nash & Young(which consists of David Crosby,Graham Nash, Stephen Stills,and Neil Young),Paul Simon,Art Garfunkel,B.B. King, Sly and the Family Stone,Tina Turner,Little Richard,Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger(of the Rolling Stones),Sonny and Cher and so many more.
Also during his run,the guests continued to be diverse with some of the most controversial figures ever to appear on television,and Dick Cavett had them on his show. From "Playboy" founder,Hugh M.Hefner,to the most controversial segment ever displayed which appeared in December,1971. Former Governor and White Supermacist Lester Maddox of Georgia walked off the show when challenged on his segregationist views. Guests included national and political figures as well which included at the time newscaster Harry Reasoner,Dr. Christian Bernard, to Rose Kennedy,the mother to President John F. Kennedy. Others included David Frost,David Susskind,Chet Huntley,and one segment included a young man in the audience...John Kerry who was questioning a guest member on Cavett's show about his political views on the Vietnam War. John Kerry appeared on Cavett's show on June 30,1971. Others included political pundit I.F. Stone,maverick Federal Communications Commission member Nicholas Johnson,Security Adviser member G. Gordon Liddy and philosophy professor Paul Weiss,and advise columnist Anne Landers and social commentator Rex Reed.
The others were presented as a series of one-guest shows(which ran for 90 minutes!)which featured some of the best out of Hollywood. One segment had Charlton Heston the first week,and the next week would consist of Groucho Marx,or Jack Benny or for that manner an entire segment which featured Gloria Swanson,George Burns,or Bette Davis. The others consisted of Hollywood heavyweights like Raqhel Welch, Peter Falk,Jack Lemmon,Walter Matthau,Woody Allen,Donald Sutherland, Minnie Pearl,Pearl Bailey,Lou Rawls,and Lloyd Haynes and Richard Harris not to mention sports figures as well including Muhammad Ali to novelist Truman Capote. While the show continue to received excellent reviews,The Dick Cavett Show was suffering in the ratings,and despite viewership decreasing at a alarming rate,and within the show's final season,1974-1975,the show was at the bottom of the ratings pile,and was dethroned by Johnny Carson. However,because of this,ABC pull the plug entirely in 1975,after six seasons. The first five seasons of the show were the best ever(1969-1975). Afterwards,Dick Cavett went on to do another late night talk show format,which lasted one season on CBS,and from there would move his format over to public television,where it would remain for ten years and another two years on a public cable channel.
This was an extraordinary television show and demonstrated beautifully the true potential the medium to educate and illuminate. Cavett's program was nothing less than brilliant at times and consistently excellent. Often it leaned toward the intellectual nature but never failed to be entertaining as well. There was a fascinating, eclectic selection of guests who Dick Cavett gave the time to express themselves and to many times open-up in surprising ways. It is an amazing memory now but to think that at one time a "talk show" would feature acclaimed authors, playwrights, artists, intellectuals, classical musicians, story tellers, politicians, architects, comedians, and stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood and Broadway. These were people who were not always promoting something or even themselves. While this was an era when even the Tonight Show might have Robert Frost as a guest and viewers seemed to appreciate intelligent conversation, The Dick Cavett Show was unique in tackling the hot button issues of the day, not shying away from the controversial. America has dumbed down astonishingly since this program left the air and we are unlikely to see anything like it on network television again. However, for a few bright shining years, viewers were indeed enlightened while at the same time being entertained because of an erudite and engaging host named Dick Cavett. We who spent time with the giants who appeared on our small screens will never forget what Mr. Cavett shared with us and the many fantastic moments of brilliant television we were so fortunate to experience due to his genius.
When this show first debuted, it was pretty much portrayed as the hip alternative to the Tonight Show. While Johnny Carson pretty much had celebrities that appealed mostly to older audiences, Cavett decided early on to have younger and more hip acts on his show. Artist such as Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell all appeared on the show and helped make it a cult favorite among younger viewers. Too bad it didn't last long. Even though Cavett was able to draw in plenty of younger viewers, it was still not enough to topple the Carson juggernaut. This show will always remain one of the great cult favorites of the 1960's.
I have fuzzy memories of watching this show when I was 8-10 years old when I was allowed to stay up late. I remember seeing Janis Joplin on the show and I thought she was great, a true expression of American freedom. A few years ago when my cable company offered VH-1, I taped a show that was recorded right after the Woodstock festival with the Airplane, Stills, Crosby (who I think is a reincarnation of Christ), and Joni Mitchell. What an priceless, incredible show. Recently I went to a Target store and found a DVD of Jimi Hendrix's appearance on the Cavett show with Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox. Very tempting to buy. A lot of people dis the sixties, but seeing what is going on now with all this greed and death, I think we need a revival. Peace.
The Dick Cavett Show is the best talk show. I wasn't even born when it's on
during the network run. I saw those episodes on the VH-1 Archives, the ones
with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Paul Simon,
Jefferson Airplane, Sly and The Family Stone, Joni Mitchell, George
Harrison, and More.
I was born on the same birthday as Dick Cavett's.
I Give it *****.
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