Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Late night nostalgia

Well, this sure puts my blog to shame...

People ask me all the time if I'd been happier had I been born a generation before my time. The short, simple answer is yes.

Honest answer, though, is no. I feel like I get the best of both worlds -- plenty of nostalgia, but with modern technology and convenience. I'd hate to think about putting together our newspapers without desktop computers, for example.

Anyway, to my point. Discovered last night while looking for something else classic clips from Dick Cavett's old late night ABC television show. Very quickly for those who don't know, Cavett was ABC's early '70s competition to Johnny Carson's beloved, ever-popular NBC program. Cavett was intelligent, quirky, and tended to attract eclectic guests -- everybody from Norman Mailer to John Lennon.

Found out, too, that Cavett writes a funny, erudite blog for the New York Times. It can be found at http://cavett.blogs.nytimes.com. Treat yourself to it for a few minutes.

A few days after the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman died, TCM played an entire interview Cavett did with him in the early '70s. I think it was Bergman's American TV debut. Happened to catch it one night when I couldn't sleep. It was fascinating stuff, light-years away from the drivel you'd get on Letterman or Leno.

Surely there's room for such intelligent talk on TV today. Oh, I think Charlie Rose comes close, even if he doesn't ask hard questions and lacks, or at least doesn't display, Cavett's offbeat sense of humor. But you'll never see anything like this (or even what's on Charlie Rose's engaging show) on the Big Four, at least not in the late night time slot.

Take a few minutes and perform a "Dick Cavett" search on YouTube if you get time. If you're a movie buff, be sure and watch the interviews with Orson Welles. That guy was a genius, I don't care what anybody says.

OK, that's enough for now. Peace out. Gotta get back to work.

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