Friday, September 28, 2007

Merv Griffin's Book of People



A bit late but I wanted to note the recent passing of Merv Griffin. Because of his later success in game show creation, Merv’s long stint as a talk show host seems almost forgotten but he was one of the best. Originally with haughty actor Arthur Treacher (later of fish and chips fame) as his Ed McMahon-style sidekick, Griffin pioneered a lighter style than Johnny Carson that would eventually lead to a feeling that one was just sitting in on some folks talking. His comfortable style even got favorite guest Orson Welles to make up on TV with his long estranged partner John Houseman in one memorable episode! The book seen here, FROM WHERE I SIT, is one of several books by Merv Griffin but this one is made up of reminiscences of some of those pleasant interviews. Orson is here but you’ll also find Jack Benny, Alfred Hitchcock, Jack Warner, Henry, Peter and Jane Fonda, Henry Kissinger, Burt Reynolds and Richard Burton. If you only know Merv Griffin from the fact that he brought the world JEAPORDY and WHEEL OF FORTUNE, go to a used bookstore and look for FROM WHERE I SIT-MERV GRIFFIN’S BOOK OF PEOPLE and settle in for a treat.

2 comments:

John said...

I have great memories of Merv Griffin. As a youngster, I used to watch it every night with my Dad in our family's TV room. I remember Charo "cuchi cuchi-ying" all over the place, Totie Fields doing her terrific, sad sack shtick, and Robert Blake coming on and dissing everyone at Universal Studios. One night there was even a cat fight on the show between Jayne Meadows and Virginia Graham. The latter kept interrupting Meadows, who screeched, "Virginia, dammit, I have the floor!!" I also remember Karen Black being on the show and she was obviously very, very high. She did the whole interview slumped wayyyy down in her chair and made absolutely no sense at all. I also remember Carole Cook being on the show one night and she had fellow guest Bonnie Franklin in HYSTERICS. I mean, Bonnie could NOT stop laughing. Ahh...the 1970s.

In later years, I remember him starting each show with a musical performance. I recall seeing Cher on there (c.1980) with her short-lived rock band, "Black Rose", and Nicolette Larson singing her great cover of Dusty Springfield's (and The Bay City Rollers) hit, "I Only Want To Be With You". The show ended in the mid 80s, didn't it?

Merv Griffin owned a horse farm next to my uncle's farm in Califon, NJ., and they often bought and traded horses from one another. I heard he was an upstanding and down-to-earth guy.

I'll have to look for the book. Thanks for the heads up on it.

John

Cassie said...

ARTHUR TREACHER!