Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Dick Cavett Recounts the Time a Guest Died on His Show

I was happily surprised to see Dick Cavett, whom an alarming number of people seem to think is dead, on Seth Meyers. He must be in his 80s by now, and looks wonderful, with those movie star cheekbones and the canny, knowing eyes. Refreshingly, he does not seem to have messed with his face to look younger, which never works anyway. His deep flat resonant Nebraska voice, so full of irony and skepticism, is just the same.

I always loved his show as a teenager, and some stick out in my mind: one with Crosby, Stills and Nash, along with Joni Mitchell, and Mitchell did a song called "For Free" (about a man on the corner with a clarinet, who was "playing real good for free"). I remember David Crosby looked like a dimpled angel, and somebody (Grace Slick? It couldn't be,  that was another show) said, "You look like a Leo."


And here it is, for the love of God, the episode I was just talking about - it WAS on YouTube after all, and it looks like I was right about everything, even Grace Slick. What an incredible guest lineup for one show. I watched it after school while I was still living in Chatham. I was fifteen.

I didn't see the show where the guy died, because NOBODY did - it was on tape and never aired. But I did see an alarming show he did on PBS  in the early '80s, in which several people came on and talked about the pure pleasure and utter lack of danger of snorting cocaine. There was  a user with pinwheel eyes who insisted her life was better in every way (and how would  SHE know, after all?), and a doctor who swore it was all to the good and did no bodily or psychological harm whatsoever. Coke was king back then, but Cavett sat there barely hiding his consternation, trying not to tell them all they were full of crap, as he famously did sometimes in the old days. I also remember - there used to be a video of this, but I can't find it now - the cast of Husbands, Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara and John Cassavetes, all down on the floor wrestling with each other, while Cavett literally walked off his own show

Or was it Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal?

Anyway, these Late Night snippets seem to be recent, and I hope so, because I think it's good he's in the world. I love his moonwalk, too - he's  still full of surprises and the unlikely. 

And how I love the unlikely! Such as actually finding the clip (below). The good part starts around 7:30.

And here are a couple of gifs I made, at great expense and time!