WNPR

An Hour With Dick Cavett

Dec 30, 2016

Clive James called Dick Cavett one of the great intellectuals who shaped the 20th century. Cavett combined wit with serious discussion for ninety-minutes each night as host of  The Dick Cavett Show, welcoming a staggering roster of cultural icons that spanned the worlds of art, culture, literature, music, and politics: 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. Even today, no one comes close - not even Stephen Colbert.

American television in the 1960s and '70s wasn't entirely comfortable with Cavett's style. He was interested in ideas, not just being funny, even though his roots in late night grew from his gig as a gag writer for superstars like Jack Paar, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, and for "two glorious weeks," Groucho Marx. Everybody wanted to be on Cavett. Even those who otherwise shunned interviews would often reveal deeply personal stories to the man who listened - and occasionally offended. 

Today, we speak with the formidable Dick Cavett.

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Colin McEnroe and Jonathan McNicol contributed to the show.