TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Jan. 25, 2015 — Joe Franklin, 1923-2015

Sometimes, you don’t know the incredible breadth of work of a certain journalist or interviewer until you total up the entire body of work.

Dick Cavett has about 1,200 shows that survive from his talk shows that ran from 1968 to 1996. This includes music groups, John Lennon, and a young anti-war spokesman named John Kerry who is the current Secretary of State.

Terry Gross has interviewed thousands of people from her Philadelphia radio studio — almost never face-to-face — over the course of the last 40 years on Fresh Air. Charlie Rose has conducted some 8,000 interviews for his syndicated talk show that takes place on a simple set with one table.

And yet there’s one person who has done more work than these three interviewers combined. Joe Franklin, who hosted a TV talk show from 1950 to 1993, and also hosted a radio talk show. It’s estimated that he interviewed some 300,000 guests.

The guests ranged from old Hollywood (Jimmy Durante, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne) to music (The Ramones, Madonna) to the arts (Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol).

Franklin also hosted a radio show where he played records, and he was called the King of Nostalgia. As such, he accumulated a lot of stuff over the course of his long career. At a rummage sale Franklin threw in 1985, a music historian named Henry Sapoznik bought a bunch of oversized aluminum transcription discs. These discs held more sound than the usual long-playing record, and were used by radio stations whenever they didn’t have a live personality on the air.

Sapoznik’s find was a substantial portion of the Peabody Award-winning radio series “The Yiddish Radio Project.”

It’s a series that deserves a sequel.

 

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