From the early sixties until the late seventies Willem Duys was perhaps the most appreciated host of Dutch talk shows on TV. The 2-DVD box "Een vuist vol veranderingen" (released in 2006 and again in 2010) presents highlight from his show "Voor de vuist weg" (in English: "Offhand". English talk shows are probably brief). His hallmark is the fish bowl on the table. In the first years of the show television sets were still rare in the Netherlands. It felt strange, and this also holds for the guests, who often do not know how to behave themselves. Condequently Duys helps by acting as spokesman, and the guest reacts with short answers ("Yes", "Indeed", "You can say that again", etcetera). They are performers, not public personalities. One popular singer even starts to complain about the gossiping in the media. Riddle: why do journalists wear shirts that don't need ironing? Freedom of the press. In the late sixties all this changes, and the episodes of the show become less formal and censorious. In retrospect this change of attitude is fascinating, both with respect to the guests and Duys himself. The DVDs contain more than just interviews. At least half of the highlights consists of performances of then famous artists. Most of them are Dutch (Johnny Jordaan, Conny Stuart, Wim Sonneveld, André van Duin, Willy Walden en Piet Muyselaar, etcetera), but some are international stars (Anita Kerr Singers, Adamo, Woody Herman). Joke: what happened to the star who lost her watch? She became a timeless beauty. It is delightful to see those celebrities of my own childhood once more, many of whom have since then passed away. The world seemed a friendlier place then. The 2-DVD box deserves an unconditional recommendation to my contemporaries. We were hip. Now nothing is left except hip replacements. Which hips.
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