Saturday, August 12, 2006


We lost Mike Douglas Friday.

The singer and long time talk show host died early Friday at his North Palm Beach home. It was his 81st birthday.

Many younger folks may not even know the name, but those older farts like yours truly who enjoy television --- especially daytime TV --- will recognize Douglas as the man who paved the way for many who came later, such as Regis Philbin and Rosie O'Donnell.

His 90 minute chat show, for much of it's fun based in Philadelphia and produced by Westinghouse Broadcasting (better known as Group W), was seen mainly in the afternoons between the network soap operas and the local 5:00 news. During it's run from 1961 until 1982 Douglas interviewed over 30,000 guests, including seven past, current, or future presidents.

What made Mike Douglas successful is described by Dr. Robert J. Thompson, director of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television:

"Boy, was Mike good at seeming interested...You could be telling him what you had for breakfast, and he would make it seem like the most interesting thing he had ever heard...Let's face it, Mike was not the comic genius (David) Letterman is or the force that Conan (O'Brien) or Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle are. He wasn't a really compelling figure, which made it easy to focus on the other person. He knew when to be quiet and let the guests do what they were good at."

Remember and respect the greats while they are still with us...RIP.


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