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CBS (ended 1967)

JOHNNIE RAY TALKS ABOUT DOROTHY in 1981

  • Avatar of The1Factotum1i1

    The1Factotum1i1

    [1]Jun 9, 2006
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    An interview with Ray with Joe Franklin can be seen by going to the YouTube.com  site and searching for "Kilgallen". It's offered in four small chunks.  He was very close to Dotty, so it's interesting that he wanted to talk about the Lee Isreal book. He mentions a possible movie being cast based on her book.

    Joe Franklin's show was done at WOR, channel 9 in New York. I think he had some small syndication at one time, and he was famous as being one of the most inept interviewers in history. This was very frustrating to anyone who cared about his guests, which were mainly personalities of yesteryear. Some might say, has-beens, but  sometimes he'd have someone like Bing Crosby, too. Joe's specialty was nostalgia. His show for many years was called "Down Memory Lane".

    But I can't tell which was worse, the questions he didn't ask, or the ones he did! I have a November 1979 episode where he has two of Laurel & Hardy's one time costars, two ladies named Anita Garvin and Rosina Lawrence. One of  Mr. King of Old-time memories was actually " Which one was Stan, the fat one or the skinny one?"

    Fortunately on this spot, Johnnie Ray goes into his story and opinions without need of prompting.

    Here are the links to the 4 videos:

    Part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbobzDRDYRc

    Part 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_2UoH78n6I

    Part 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51pjQe2umJ8

    Part 4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gxmQMRgdr0

    Edited on 07/15/2006 1:12am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of outoffog

    outoffog

    [2]Jun 9, 2006
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    Perhaps Joe was being facetious {sic} when he asked that question, 'factotum'. I believe that was his way of starting an interview- with a joke- probably to get his subjects "at ease" and open up more. I remember when he had Carol Serling as a guest when "The Twilight Zone" magazine was launched in 1981- he asked Mrs. Serling one or two questions about it and the series, and promptly turned his attention to his other guests on the couch, and never said another word to her. That's Joe Franklin....TV has outgrown him and his little "side show". There's really no future for him on the small screen these days. His chances of making a TV comeback are about the same as getting ANYONE to film a TV movie on "The Life Of Bing Crosby"...as Kathryn Grant Crosby tried to do, with Joe and his partner Richie Orenstein as her "allies".  
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  • Avatar of The1Factotum1i1

    The1Factotum1i1

    [3]Jun 9, 2006
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    I'm sure Joe had no sense of humor or ever had the slightest idea what irony was. But for watching (enduring?) his programmes for many years, one couldn't really tell one way or another, because he never had more than one facial expression, or did his voice change it's monotone in all that time. I met him once. he was just as stiff and oblivious in real life too. He was also about three feet tall! A very strange guy.
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    Fat-tote-bag

    [4]Jun 9, 2006
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    But he doesn't talk for very long.  Mr. Ray's stroll down memory lane lasts approximately the same length as his soundbite for Entertainment Tonight in July of 1983.  That's not online, but the TV Land channel has repeated it in its semi - regular repeats of old Entertainment Tonight segments.  You can see and hear Mark Goodson recalling Kilgallen's feud with Frank Sinatra.

    As for Joe Franklin, many New Yorkers in the TV business noticed that his short attention span and shallowness ON camera were the tip of the iceberg.  The New Yorker profiled him in 1971, noting an appalling pack rat mess in his West 43rd Street office.  I know somebody who visited him in the same office in 2000.   The mess was horrifying.  You literally had to injure yourself to see an old concert poster for Judy Garland or an ancient Playbill.   One thing you could determine:  none of it was electronic or magnetic.   It is most likely that almost every second of the Franklin Show in the 1950s and 1960s is gone.  That includes Barbra Streisand at age 20.  (A still photo of her appearance exists. Her hair looks like Jackie Kennedy's.)  Whatever remains from the 1970s and 1980s is not in that dangerous room, thank Mr. Christ. 

    My friend was even more horrified when Mr. Franklin shook hands with him but never commented in any way on the fire hazard.  My friend would reach for some evidence of Liza Minnelli in "The Fantasticks" or Mayor Jimmy Walker's soft - shoe routine, and Joe paid no attention despite the risk of an injury or lawsuit.  He just kept smiling and trying to get a phone call on the air during an octogenarian radio talk host's lunchtime show.

    Joe Franklin's 2000 visitor is a typical New Yorker in that he doesn't speculate on whatever character flaw or mental disorder might make somebody behave so destructively over a period of thirty years.  You know New Yorkers.  They can separate the lost people from the dangerous people.  I don't call Mr. Franklin mentally ill because at least he made a positive contribution to American society for such a long time.   Maybe 99 percent of what he did during his first fifteen years on the air is gone, but in his old age he feels the satisfaction that New Yorkers absorbed it when he did it.  

    Erased videotapes and missing kinescopes may be gone, but at least the people who participated in the TV shows made positive contributions to American society.  If only everybody would !

    Edited on 07/13/2006 11:25pm
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [5]Jun 9, 2006
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    Actually, the program was called Joe Franklin's Memory Lane until about 1967 when it was renamed The Joe Franklin Show, around which time the show almost exclusively was interview-based, with the film clips dispensed with.  Prior to joining WOR-TV (now WWOR) in 1962, he had been with WABC-TV since 1950 - in his first three years with that station, its calls had been WJZ-TV.  I remember one part of his autobiography in which he quoted famed conductor Leopold Stokowski as saying (and I'm approximating here), "My name's Sto-KOV-ski, not Sto-COW-ski!  I am not a cow!!"  I also remember his recounting that at Channel 9, his show was taped right in the vicinity of the Romper Room set.

    I also seem to remember that his Joe Franklin's Encyclopedia of Comedians book (of which I have a copy) had "inadvertently" left out "King of Pies" and syndicated WML? panelist Soupy Sales - and I.I.N.M., Soupy never forgave Joe for the omission, blaming "Mr. Nostalgia."

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    Fat-tote-bag

    [6]Jun 10, 2006
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    W-B wrote:

    Actually, the program was called Joe Franklin's Memory Lane until about 1967 when it was renamed The Joe Franklin Show, around which time the show almost exclusively was interview-based, with the film clips dispensed with.  Prior to joining WOR-TV (now WWOR) in 1962, he had been with WABC-TV since 1950 - in his first three years with that station, its calls had been WJZ-TV.  I remember one part of his autobiography in which he quoted famed conductor Leopold Stokowski as saying (and I'm approximating here), "My name's Sto-KOV-ski, not Sto-COW-ski!  I am not a cow!!"  I also remember his recounting that at Channel 9, his show was taped right in the vicinity of the Romper Room set.

    I also seem to remember that his Joe Franklin's Encyclopedia of Comedians book (of which I have a copy) had "inadvertently" left out "King of Pies" and syndicated WML? panelist Soupy Sales - and I.I.N.M., Soupy never forgave Joe for the omission, blaming "Mr. Nostalgia."

    Soupy's anger probably has softened as he bides his time at his home on Manhattan's East 35th Street.  That encyclopedia probably was published before the launch of GSN.   The reruns of Soupy on the syndicated WML, though erratically scheduled, overpower every nostalgia book except Gil Fates'.   And even the Fates book doesn't reach lots of night - owl viewers who enjoy a few minutes of WML while zapping.

    When zappers laugh at Soupy saying, on one of the episodes taped on October 1, 1968, "It [a piece of cotton candy he holds up] is a Q - tip for the Jolly Green Giant," they don't care about an omission in an out - of - print book. 

    Joe Franklin never made people laugh.  Donald O'Connor was right:  "Make 'Em Laugh."  So was Marshall McLuhan:  "The [television] medium is the message."

    Regardless of the title change from "Joe Franklin's Memory Lane" to "The Joe Franklin Show," all recordings of it in the 1960s and early 1970s are gone.  Barbra Streisand's appearance from 1962 - 63 is gone.  Like it or not, her episode would have been worth millions of dollars today.  Another truth:  "Nostalgia salespeople go where the money is."

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  • Avatar of outoffog

    outoffog

    [7]Jun 12, 2006
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    I believe a segment of one of his 1962 WOR-TV "Memory Lane" shows was preserved on kinescope, and was used in a documentary about Joe a few years back, 'fat-tote-bag'. The sad fact remains, even Joe didn't know the value of the live shows he did for WABC-TV (to '61) and WOR-TV (until the end of the '60s, when he started taping in advance). He just went in and delivered 90 sparkling minutes of gab and old movies.....I remember in the '70s, on his daytime show, he would present the most obscure one-and two reel comedies from HIS personal collection. I have yet to see another outlet that's shown Benny Rubin's 1931 RKO-Pathe two reeler, "The Promoter"  [Rubin was a vaudeville comedian who used a "Jewish" dialect; later became a regular "bit player" on Jack Benny's radio and TV shows, as they were close friends, and a character actor in other projects as well]. It makes me sick to think of all that wonderful film going to waste---IF Joe still has them!

    As I was saying before I interruped myself, Joe Franklin NEVER asked the stations he appeared on for personal kinescoped copies of his shows- he just didn't think about preserving his "best moments" [not even the 90 minutes he shared with Eddie Cantor in 1958]. The turning point came when he got Bing Crosby to appear on his show in 1976. THAT hour he saved...and started to save some others as well. At least we have THOSE shows to see!! 

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    Fat-tote-bag

    [8]Jun 12, 2006
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    It's nice to hear that Mr. Franklin broadcast those ancient two - reelers on his show. Unfortunately, he suffers from the curse of the nostalgia buff: an office that is pack rat - esque to the point where visitors face the same risks as athletes. That's no exaggeration. If you visit the Franklin office at 300 West 43rd Street, make sure you know a doctor who practices sports medicine.

    If only the stuff in the office consisted of magnetic tape and cans of kinescope film. Then you could organize neat piles and you could prevent injury.

    When my friend visited West 43rd Street in 2000, he also noticed that Mr. Franklin has two younger assistants helping him. Whether they get paid was unclear. Both younger men had some issues, and they weren't related to substance abuse. Let's say they weren't the type of Generation X - ers who could scan a single item in the room with a scanner. They seemed like they would have trouble applying -- much less getting -- any other entertainment job in New York.   They may know cyberspace, but they can't mix it with the yellowing, stiffening papers and posters.

    There are many nostalgic people who -- even when they're in their thirties -- gravitate toward the customs of their parents' generations. Not all of them develop a home or office that literally can injure people with fire or falling objects. Unfortunately, Joe Franklin is one of the chronic "long time ago" people who has developed such a hazardous place.

    It really can be an issue like substance abuse. The people just refuse to throw anything out. They don't scan anything to a hard drive or diskette. People tell them to do a spring cleaning. They seem to agree, but they procrastinate. They're like the substance abuser who says, "I can quit anytime I want." The major media ignore this mental health issue to this day. Joe Franklin may be alive today, but so is Whitney Houston and so is Roger Clinton. Not all issues cause tragic deaths.

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    billsav57

    [9]Jun 13, 2006
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    The interview is interesting for some of what Johnnie Ray says. But he's sort of creepy to watch, isn't he? And Joe Franklin's interviewing always made me cringe.

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  • Avatar of The1Factotum1i1

    The1Factotum1i1

    [10]Jun 14, 2006
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    Well, Johnnie was pretty creepy. I don't kow what the gals saw in him, perhaps his being pitched as a confused, sensitive, vulnerable boy-man appeals to the maternal instinct. Same goes for James Dean. He creeps me out too.

    In a 1958 Joe Franklin segment that still exists, he has Sessue Hayakawa, at that time fresh from costarring in "BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI," which he was no doubt there to promote.

    Not only was Hayakawa in this current big time flick, which took several academy awards,(Sessue himself was nominated), but he had a huge career during the World War One era in Hollywood. He also made films in France and Japan. He'd been around the world many times and had stayed an international personality for forty-five years, certainly one of a very few Japanese to enjoy that status. Joe asks him his opinions on Rock n' Roll.

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    Fat-tote-bag

    [11]Jun 14, 2006
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    Johnnie [correct spelling] Ray was never promoted as "a confused, sensitive, vulnerable boy - man." If you look at the magazine and newspaper clippings of him from 1952 - 1954, you'll see that his music promoted him effectively. You'll also see notations that he composed the music and lyrics of "Little White Cloud That Cried" and a few other 45 singles. To this day critics and other writers respect a good songwriter.

    Contrary to myth, the American media never announced that people should ignore Johnnie Ray because he's been exposed as a pervert. Newspapers told their readers that his arrests in Detroit (1951 and 1959) had to do with a morals charge. It was only the magazines operated by the notorious Robert Harrison and Marjorie Mead -- Confidential, Hush Hush, Wink, Titter, Flirt -- that called Mr. Ray a pervert in so many words.

    If an educated person outside of Los Angeles or Las Vegas considered citing those magazines as a source while socializing with friends and family, he / she did that prior to October of 1957. That was the month that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered Harrison and Mead to stop printing dirt about celebrities. The verdict came after disturbing testimony by disgruntled ex - employee Howard Rushmore that the magazine staff had paid unreliable people in Los Angeles for dirty stories.

    When Rushmore shot himself publicly in a New York City taxicab three months later, it essentially ruined your opportunity to tell your friends that Hush Hush magazine says so - and - so is a pervert. Unless you worked for one of the then - poweful Hollywood studios or record companies or radio stations, people would think you were a yenta (gossipy old lady) for saying that. The practice of ruining celebrities lay low until Elvis started gaining weight while President Nixon, Vice President Agnew, Attorney General John Mitchell, etc. damaged people's faith in public institutions, leading to a lot of misplaced anger.   Even Bob Woodward decided a few years later that John Belushi was a terrible menace who deserved pillory.

    People forget that in between Robert Harrison's fall and Elvis' peanut butter sandwiches, Hedda Hopper's career was destroyed.  In 1963 Michael Wilding sued her for libel and won.   If you think all American women knew what a morals charge back then, you'd be surprised.

    Yet some people still believe the myth of Johnnie Ray as the martyr for the gay rights movement. Didn't J. Edgar Hoover brand him "the most notorious liar in America" or something like that ?   Focusing on the music is usually the accurate way to go.

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    astorino

    [12]Jun 23, 2008
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    I just posted a note about these videos in the Dorothy Kilgallen thread, but I noticed we had an older set of posts about them, too, from 2006.
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    Stan16mm

    [13]Jun 23, 2008
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    So many memories of Joe Franklin are flooding in. He was to New York City what Ed Sullivan was to the country. Nobody knew what his talent was but he was on forever.

    I had several friends in show business who were guests on it and they have similar stories about being on his show. All funny too.

    Could you email me about the Rosina Anita Joe Franklin Show. I was friends with both of them and have never seen this episode. Thanks

    Stan16mm@aol.com

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    stopettearoma

    [14]Jun 25, 2008
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    The New Yorker magazine profiled Joe Franklin in the early 1970s. The writer described Mr. Franklin's office on West 43rd Street (near Eighth Avenue) as being a fire hazard -- sloppy piles of paper that suggest the owner has Alzheimers.
    Edited on 07/05/2008 2:53am
    Edited 2 total times.
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