The Dick Cavett Show

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ABC (ended 1986)

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The Dick Cavett Show

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During the late 60's and early 70's, The Dick Cavett Show was beloved by critics and hailed as an intelligent alternative to the other more frothy interview shows. In addition to the standard-fare of celebrities, he often booked controversial and opinionated guests like Gore Vidal, Timothy Leary and Georgia's segregationist governor Lester Maddox. This occasionally led to fireworks between the host and guests: Maddox stormed off when he was asked to defend his views; Cavett once said to a condescending Norman Mailer, "Why don't you fold it five ways and put it where the moon don't shine?" His late-night series also booked musical guests that shows like Tonight and Merv tended to ignore, namely rock acts. Now-legendary performers like Ravi Shankar, Paul Simon and Sly Stone appeared to sing and chat. Cavett was occasionally able to devote a whole show, or more, to one guest. This yielded memorable interviews with the likes of Groucho Marx, Katharine Hepburn, Lawrence Olivier and Orson Welles. Cavett also held the distinction of being the only show to have a guest die during it. Organic farming advocate J.I. Rodale had moved "down the couch" after his interview. Cavett, assuming he had dozed off during the chat with the next guest, asked, "Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?". Rodale had passed away from a heart attack; the show did not air. Despite the acclaim, his series were chronically plagued with low ratings, coming in a distant third place to Carson and CBS. First was a 90-minute weekday program on ABC daytime called This Morning, Dick Cavett, airing from March 4th 1968 to January 1969. This was followed by a Monday/Tuesday/Friday ABC prime-time series from May-September 1969. Next came his best remembered program, the late-night ABC series airing weeknights from December 1969-December 1972. Beginning in January 1973, that series aired as an occasional part of the network's ABC's Wide World of Entertainment, an umbrella title for various series, concerts, and specials running in late-night. His show remained in this rotation through January 1, 1975. Next came a half-hour PBS interview program running from 1977-1982. He returned to his old home ABC one more time from September-December of 1986. Cavett's theme song, used regularly throughout the years, is part of the overture from Candide.moreless
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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Q&A

    Interviewing the Interviewer: A Conversation with Dick Cavett

    We spoke with iconic talk show host about his new book, earthquakes, and the great Groucho Marx.

  • WHETHER YOU'RE LOOKING FOR CLASSIC AMERICAN FAMILY COMEDY OR QUINTESSENTIAL CANADIAN IRREVERENCE, THIS WEEK BRINGS GREAT DVDS.

    September 13, 2005 DVD Releases

    • The Cavett Show
      Innovative, charming, funny and a true legend in talk show. Dick Cavett held audiences and guests alike with his marvelous flair...
      07/11/11
      1
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    Talk & Interview