Dick Cavett Show, The


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About

The Dick Cavett Show has been the title of several talk shows hosted by Dick Cavett on various television networks, including:

ABC daytime (March 4, 1968–January 24, 1969) (originally titled This Morning)

ABC prime time (May 26–September 19, 1969)

ABC late night (December 29, 1969–January 1, 1975)

CBS prime time (August 16–September 6, 1975) (actually more of a variety show)

PBS (1977–1982)

USA prime time (September 30, 1985–September 23, 1986)

ABC late night (September 22–December 30, 1986)

CNBC (1989–1996)

TCM (2006–present)

 

The Dick Cavett Show most often refers to the shows on ABC-TV that Dick Cavett hosted between 1968 and 1975 in New York. The first daytime show featured Gore Vidal, Muhammad Ali, and Angela Lansbury. ABC pressured Cavett to "get big names," even though the shows without them got higher ratings and more critical acclaim.

The Late-night talk show that ran from December 29, 1969 to January 1, 1975 ran opposite NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Cavett took the time slot over from Joey Bishop. In addition to the usual monologue, Cavett opened each show reading selected questions written by audience members, to which he would respond with witty rejoinders. ("What makes New York so crummy these days?" "Tourists.")

The late-night show's 45-minute midpoint would always be signaled by the musical piece "Glitter and Be Gay" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide. The Candide snippet became Cavett's theme song, being used as the introduction to his later PBS series, and was played by the house band on his various talk show appearances over the last 30 years.

Typically each show had several guests, but occasionally Cavett would devote an entire show to a single guest. Among those receiving such special treatment (some more than once) were Groucho Marx, Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn (without an audience), Bette Davis, Orson Welles, Noel Coward (who appeared on the same show along with Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne, Tammy Grimes, and Brian Bedford), John Lennon with Yoko Ono, Alfred Hitchcock, Fred Astaire, Woody Allen, Jerry Lewis, Lucille Ball, Zero Mostel ("on some shows I've had just one guest, but tonight I have Zero") and David Bowie. These shows helped showcase Cavett's skills as a host who could attract guests that otherwise might not do interviews, at the expense of some of the excitement that might ensue from the multiple-guest format.

In January 1973, despite a vociferous letter campaign, ratings forced the show to be cut back to occasional status, airing one week a month under the umbrella title ABC's Wide World of Entertainment. Jack Paar, who ABC had tried to recruit as Cavett's successor, insisted that both he and Cavett get at least one week per month as a sign of respect for Cavett. By the end of 1974, it was airing only twice a month.

The PBS series featured single guests in a half-hour format and was produced by Christopher Porterfield, a former roommate of Cavett's at Yale University who had coauthored the book Cavett published in August 1974. The show remained on the PBS lineup until affiliates voted it off the schedule in 1982.

On all three of the early ABC shows, the bandleader was Bobby Rosengarden and the announcer was Fred Foy of The Lone Ranger fame. The morning show was produced by Woody Fraser and the late-night show by John Gilroy. Cavett's writer was Dave Lloyd.

The Dick Cavett Show was also the name of a short-lived radio show.

 

Highlights
Dick Cavett on getting his own daytime talk show in 1968, The Dick Cavett Show
02:45
Fred Foy on doing the on-air commercials during The Dick Cavett Show
03:37
Dick Cavett on interviewing John Lennon and Yoko Ono and problems with the network
02:54
Dick Cavett on interviewing '60s counterculture and rock icons
02:51
Dick Cavett on his first morning talk show, assembling his writing staff, his monologue, and the show's cancellation after one year
06:38
Who talked about this show

Dick Cavett

View Interview
Dick Cavett on getting his own daytime talk show in 1968, The Dick Cavett Show
02:45
Dick Cavett on his first morning talk show, assembling his writing staff, his monologue, and the show's cancellation after one year
06:38
Dick Cavett on his PBS talk show
00:56
Dick Cavett on the theme song to his talk show
02:00
Dick Cavett on his PBS talk show producer Chris Porterfield
01:07
Dick Cavett on differences of having a talk show on several different networks
01:47
Dick Cavett on interviewing songwriters on his PBS talk show
02:38
Dick Cavett on DVDs of The Dick Cavett Show
05:12
Dick Cavett on the guests on the first taping of his first talk show - Angela Lansbury, Muhammed Ali, and Gore Vidal
00:25
Dick Cavett on interviewing friend Groucho Marx
02:31

Patty Duke

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Patty Duke on appearing on The Dick Cavett Show
00:50

Fred Foy

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Fred Foy on doing the on-air commercials during The Dick Cavett Show
03:37
Fred Foy on how Richard Benjamin, a huge Lone Ranger fan, was once a guest on The Dick Cavett Show and Foy announced the "Hi Ho Silver" opening as a surprise
04:49
Fred Foy on working on the Dick Cavett Show as an announcer and how Cavett was a big Lone Ranger fan: he had Zubin Mehta conduct the "William Tell Overture" once on the show
03:16
Fred Foy on meeting Fred Astaire when he was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show and getting to meet his idols while working as an announcer on that show
03:13
Fred Foy on the format of The Dick Cavett Show
01:39

Loretta Long

View Interview
Loretta Long on guest-starring on shows other than Sesame Street, and appearing on talk shows like The Dick Cavett Show
03:08

Alan Zweibel

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Alan Zweibel on learning to write jokes by watching shows like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Dick Cavett Show
03:52

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