On May 27th,1994 The Arsenio Hall Show aired it's last segment. It will be (almost unbelievably) 15 years this coming May. It really seems like a few days ago to me but then again, used to record the show. (Not all of them but more-so depending who was the musical guest). The sad thing in seeing them now is realizing all the guests that are now gone. To see Luther Vandross then and then remind one's self he's not with us anymore,makes it bittersweet.
I was viewing some of the shows the other night for the first time in a great while and still found it funny and entertaining. The serious points of the show....some are still very relevant. There is still gang violence in the street,there is still AIDS and despite having an African-American as President,there are still race issues. ..but I'm not here to get political.
I've read the reviews here and some seem to take this just a little too seriously and one reviewer just made some things up to make their review seem factual.
Example : Saying the OJ Simpson car chase or trial happened while Arsenio was on the air. This happened June 12th,1994 nearly 3 weeks after Arsenio's last show. This has nothing to do with it's cancellation at all nd is an outright ignorant statement.
The important thing to remember about the show if you really loved watching it was that it was a breath of fresh air in late night TV. 1989 especially,which was one of the worst years in TV and music history. America,not to mention America's youth,needed something that wasn't the same old thing in late night or even TV itself.
I loved Johnny Carson's show too but it's no secret that The Tonight Show and Letterman tended to shy away from having the hip-hop culture on their shows. Arsenio gave a forum to these acts and to other kinds of culture as well.
I don't understand why people call Arsenio being congenial with his guests "*** kissing". It's a late night talk show people. Johnny,Jay,Dave & all the others did the exact same lip service,so how was Arsenio's dealing with his guests any different. If you wanted something deeper with celebs,then that's why you watch Oprah.
Now,I'm no fan of hip-hop but it was still interesting to watch and at least try to understand more about it. This is something else Arsenio highlighted on his show was,not just being the kind off talk show for celebrities to talk about their movie or upcoming album,but also to talk about relevant issues in our country. Being recorded in L.A. in the early 90s,it would've been a poor choice to act like nothing was happening.
Arsenio had great talents on in the short run of his show,not just the acts of the day but the long established acts like Sammy Davis Jr. , James Brown,Mary Wilson,Stevie Wonder,The Temptations and more. I know a lot of critics and Paramount themselves told him "Arsenio,your show is too black." A great demonstration of ignorance on their part.
This is what really sets the stage for the ultimate cancellation of his show. Being that the show was syndicated,local TV stations could put it on when they chose to,so he got pushed back the the early A.M. hours. The other factor is that Paramount never really expected him to succeed as a talk show host.
On the final show Whoopi Goldbeg reads from show business trade magazine,an ad in which Paramount says about Arsenio's end,"We are speechless". As if they find it a surprise he's going off the air,since they are the one's who set it in motion. They wanted his show to end. It's an easy thing to do to say "Oh,his show is losing ratings". You put a show on at 1 or 2 in the morning,just how many people will stay up for it?
The last show is great,you have Whoopi,James Brown many celebrates in the audience and some quick-flashback clips of the craziest & most serious moments. Topped off at the end by James singing, "Say it Loud,I'm black and I'm proud".
I'm not black but I do know that Arsenio wore that credo like a badge of honor. It would have been simply wrong for him to do any less. Here's to hoping those 6 seasons gets out on DVD. Woof-woof Mr. Hall! (End)