'The Dick Cavett Show: New York Radio Pioneers'
(Dick Cavett, Bob Elliot, Ray Goulding, Don Imus, Howard Stern, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / Liberation Hall)
Overview: Since 1968, Dick Cavett has been host of his own talk show, in a variety of formats and on a number of television and radio formats.
This latest DVD volume features legendary NY radio personalities: Bob (Elliot) & Ray (Goulding), Don Imus and Howard Stern discussing their lives on the radio in one-on-one conversations with late night TV host, and legend, Dick Cavett.
DVD Verdict: For those not in the official know, 'The Dick Cavett Show' was an 90 minute mixture of talk and variety that ran for six astounding years on late-night prime time television on the ABC-TV network from the first telecast on May 26,1969 to the final episode of the series on August 16,1975.
This was at the time one of the most versatile performers who eventually gave us some of the biggest entertainment acts in the history of rock,and went toe to toe with the King of Late Night-Johnny Carson and eventually at the time Merv Griffin for the battle of late night supremacy.
However, Dick Cavett was one of the few television personalities ever to star or host major programs in daytime, prime-time, late night, all in quick succession.
And it wasn't about his failure to attract a large audience with any of them, because his late night talk show brought in some of the largest ratings ever for ABC at the time.
Well praised and received by the critics, his late night show was generally acknowledged to be witty, intelligent, and interesting compared to what was scheduled around them.
'The Dick Cavett Show: New York Radio Pioneers' is a wondrous DVD set with just over four hours of lush flashback material. Bob & Ray are legendary radio icons whose satiric and irreverent humor easily translated to television and commercials.
Perhaps best known and Bert and Harry Piel, animated spokesmen for Piels Beer from 1955 to 1960. They also created a vast number of fictional characters to populate their universe.
Talking to Cavett, the first time in 1972 and then again in early 1986, the guys chat about their time spent on the radio and how their moniker, The Bob & Ray Show was so big now that it was soon going to be made into a motion picture!
They talk about a new book they were releasing at the time, and how certain TV characters of theirs couldn't be included in it (like the twins that talk over each other) due to confusing the reader!
But, of course, they chat more about their time on the radio, where they currently run at 13 week slots, and their favorite, Ralph Flinger, Mr. I Know Where They Are sketch!
Up next is the one, the only, Don Imus. The original 'shock jock', who successfully battled his own demons to be heard nationally. At one point he was the most popular radio personality in the US, being #1 in 12 of 13 demographic categories.
Here in his 1995 chat with Cavett, Imus talks about this friendship with President Clinton and how he threw his vocal support his way and then when the whole Jennifer Flowers thing broke, how Clinton wanted to actually come on his radio show to offer explanations!
He talks about his on-off relationship with his brother, Fred, and how Fred also had a Siberian husky named, well, Fred! Fred, the two-legged one, sells tshirts out of a big warehouse in El Paso, but the four-legged Fred ate one of the customers parrots! It just gets better from there, trust me!
In the last interview is Howard Stern, truly the undisputed King of All Media, who reinvented himself into a media mogul and a renaissance man.
He has succeeded in virtually everything he's ventured in to: radio, television, PPV, film, artist, author of 3 best selling books and now, generally considered to be the best celebrity interviewer.
Talking to Cavett in both 1986, 1989 and 1991, he gets the lion's share of the DVD set and rightly so. He begins by announcing that he's going to do something that no other performer has ever succeeded in doing: Make Dick Cavett interesting! It's a set up, of course, as we quickly adds that Cavett has been around and done almost everything within the business and is a legend no matter what.
All that shock-jock stuff aside, the fact that Howard had a slurry, nasal delivery back then (like he was too cool to actually enunciate, punctuated with sprawling and a lot of "mans") doesn't get missed.
Like he did in other TV interviews, he went right for Cavett's hair and that was pretty funny, although he didn't make fun of the obvious target; other guest Mark Gastineau's big '80s mane!
Combined, there is enough legendary New York Radio Pioneers here to have your head spinning as they regale their on air (and in some cases, like both Imus and Stern, off air) antics.
Man, if you weren't aware of certain stories they each told, but somehow have heard of bits and bobs of them through life well, here is where they originated, my friends!
In closing, the art of interviewing a personality particularly for television is probably the most difficult thing to achieve. Few people including the most experienced actually get it right.
I think the reason is because being a good interviewer requires one to be first and foremost a good listener. And Dick Cavett was that very person. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.