Happy Birthday, Dick Cavett

Friday, November 19, 2010

The logo for his show was groovy, but he was often not. Dick Cavett lacked Johnny Carson's shtick and spark, but he managed to interview some of the biggest music stars of their time and make them feel at ease. Today is his birthday, and I've been celebrating by watching a bunch of video clips from his 1970s talk show. Actually, a talk show hosted by Cavett has existed in one form or another for four decades now and is currently running on Turner Classic Movies, but it's his ABC version that ran from 1969 to the mid-70s that most people associate him with. Even though he was a bit before my time, I'm familiar with the interviews he did with John Lennon, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few. Never before have I seen such a mild mannered host conversing with these cool cats, and they usually seemed too happy to oblige. Joplin, in particular, seems to have been a favorite of his, appearing on his prime time show three times.

Here's some memorable clips from his programs...

The bemused members of ABBA attempting to sing "Don't Fence Me In" with Cavett's prodding.

The best line in this Jimi Hendrix clip is the last one:

Gloria Swanson sharing the same space as Janis Joplin. She wants "to do" Cavett's head:

Gina Lollobrigida steals interview time away from Woody Allen and Ruth Gordon, neither of who appear very happy about it:

Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal have a bad case of the bitchies. Even the rock stars didn't behave this badly. Have to say this is remarkably respectful compared to on-air feuds today.


  1. Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal are both jerks. Who is the lady?

    I remember Cavett from from when I was 12 or 13. He did a series on HBO about the decades of the 20th Century. One show for the 20s, one show for the 30s etc. I liked him.

  2. Loved the Gloria Swanson part. What a great movie STAR!

  3. Know of his show - but never watched it. I was just a YOUNG child when that one came out....heehee.

  4. Dick Cavett is on GSN's re-runs of the $25,000 Pyramid this week! Nice timing!

    He was rumored to have had a TORRID affair with Janis Joplin. I don't know how true it is, but I've read about it several places. It's such an odd, and wonderful, match-up!

    Also, someone DIED on his show. He was some sort of health nut who said he'd never felt better in his life and then had a heart attack. I wrote about it here:


    Those clips are awesome. Thanks for this!

  5. @Amanda - wow, really? Talk about strange bedfellows. I'll have to Google that one...

    I'll check out your post about the guest who died.


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