An Hour With Dick Cavett

Aug 18, 2016

Clive James considered Dick Cavett one of the great intellectuals who shaped the 20th century. He did it primarily as the host of The Dick Cavett Show, combining playfulness and serious discussion for ninety-minutes each night with a roster of cultural icons that spanned the worlds of art, culture, literature, music, and politics.

The medium of American television in the 1960s and '70s wasn't entirely comfortable with Cavett's style. He was interested in ideas, not just being funny. This, despite the fact that he started as a gag writer for the likes of Jack Paar, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, and for "two glorious weeks," Groucho Marx. And guests flocked to his show, often revealing deeply personal stories to an interviewer who listened - and occasionally offended. 

Cavett’s roster of guests is staggering in its scope: Groucho Marx, Laurence Olivier, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Richard Burton, Orson Welles, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Noel Coward, Salvador Dali, Ingmar Bergman, Mel Brooks, Mort Sahl, Angela Davis, Marlon Brando, Katherine Hepburn, Carol Burnett...the list goes on. 

We spend an afternoon with the formidable Dick Cavett.


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Colin McEnroe and Jonathan McNicol contributed to the show.