Saturday, May 29, 2010

Late ART LINKLETTER "We Love You, Call Collect"

Incredibly, Art Linkletter (July 17, 1912 – May 26, 2010) was still around until a few days ago. He died at 97, and was long retired from his career as an affable daytime talk show host. Think Jerry Springer without the white trash. Like Springer, Linkletter tended to let his guests do the talking and simply react with mild amusement. The titles of Art's shows tell the story: "People are Funny," "House Party" and "Kids Say the Darndest Things." When Bill Cosby tried to revive the latter, in 1998, he often had Linkletter make cameo appearances. This was pretty much the last the general public saw of the affable old timer.

Born Gordon Arthur Kelly, but abandoned by his parents (who already had two kids), he was adopted by the Linkletters, took their name, and grew up in San Diego where he found work on local radio after graduating from San Diego State Teachers College. He and producer John Guedel (who later produced "You Bet Your Life" with Groucho Marx) started up "People are Funny" on radio. There was a movie version in 1946, and a TV version that had just about the same success as Groucho's show between 1954 and 1961. Art went on to host more shows and become a familiar All-American figure with strong white Republican values on display.

In the late 60's and early 70's, Linkletter's views, and his demographic as an elderly old-fashioned TV host led to a decline in popularity, punctuated by his family-values single "We Love You, Call Collect," and his speaking out against drugs. Linkletter linked the window-jump suicide of his college-student daughter Diane to LSD. When toxicology reports failed to find LSD in her system, he insisted it must've been a "flashback" that caused her death. Art's son Jack Linkletter was a minor radio and TV talk show host…who died three years ago. Art had another son, Robert, who died in a car accident in 1980. He's survived by two daughters and his wife of 74 years, Lois.

Fans of "outsider" music, kitsch and camp would probably have no problem using an obit as a perfect time to snicker over Linkletter's faults, and make R. Crumb slobbery-tongued faces over how great LSD is, but in his time, Art Linkletter was just a pleasant "people person" who, without the comical insults his colleague Groucho favored, shared a mutual fascination with the ordinary housewives, kids and every day citizens who were getting it done every day. Not handsome, not talented, and possessing a distinctively high-nasal voice, all Linkletter really had going for him was a kind personality. His sincerity and love of people gave him a long, long career and thousands of fans...most of whom died a long time before he did.

ART & DIANE LINKLETTER Instant download or listen on line. No pop-ups, pop-unders or porn ads.


kchaffin said...

When linkletter's daughter "jumped" from the sixth floor window the "boyfriend" with her was a guy named ed durston. In 1985 johnny carson's tea time movie lady, carol wayne, was in Mexico where she argued with her boyfriend. she disappeared that night, the boyfriend packed his bags and split with her still missing, two days later she was found "drowned" in four feet of water. the police definitely thought she was murdered but couldn't prove it. what's my point? the boyfriend with carol wayne was the same ed durston with linkletter's daughter when she jumped. the odds of being with two different girlfriends and having them both die mysteriously while with you are astronomical. so, logic says diane linkletter was murdered--she never committed suicide. this is all true and feel free to research it. that's what I did.

Anonymous said...

Eerie coincidence isn't it? 15 years apart with Ed the only link

Where is he today?