Fine Art

Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 10:41 am
By: Doug Lund
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 Well, I’ll be darned; Art Linkletter has died.

ArtLinkletterI was just thinking about him the other day and wondered how he was doing because I knew he was well into his 90’s.

97 as it turns out.

I even went to Youtube to watch a few clips from his popular daily TV show in the 50’s and 60’s; Art Linkletter’s House Party…especially the hilarious segments where he interviews the kids.

As a broadcaster, I always admired Linkletter’s great skills as an emcee and interviewer with a special gift for ad libbing.

I told him as much when he was in Sioux Falls several years ago to be the featured speaker at some huge conference on aging.

Through my job, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and talking with lots of celebrities and am often asked what they’re really like when the cameras and microphones were off.

Well, I can assure you that Art Linkletter was the real deal; as genial, enthusiastic and funny as he was on radio and TV.

Not like Tony Randall who stormed out on an interview with Steve Hemmingsen (probably at that same aging conference) because Steve asked him a question about Felix Unger from The Odd Couple when Randall specifically told him not to.

Anyway, after my interview with Art Linkletter I mentioned that I do a lot of feature stories on Keloland TV and wondered if he’d share a couple of his secrets to making people..especially children..feel at ease and “Say the darndest things.”

“Don’t ever talk down to kids,” he said. “They understand a lot more than most people give them credit for.” “Also, try  avoid any question in which they can respond with a simple yes or no answer.

“Basically, though, he said., LISTEN to what people are saying. A lot of guys can talk but paying attention is hard for some to do.  Oh, and be nice. Usually, folks will relax and be nice right back.”  

Art Linketter was often asked about his favorite comment from a child he was interviewing. But there were just too many to choose from.

One of my favorites was when a little boy revealed that his daddy was a policeman who arrested a lot of burglars. Linkletter asked if his mother ever worried about the risks. “Naw, she thinks it’s great,” he answered. “He brings home rings and bracelets and jewelry almost every week.”

P.S. A reminder that with our new blog system I have to approve your comment…but only once. So I hope a lot of you regular readers will respond so I can get you checked off. I love your responses both positive and creatively critical.


  1. gp says:

    Truly one of the all time greats… we loved to listen to Art Linkletter on radio and then on TV….He was a master at bringing the best out in guests….his voice, his facial expressions….just simply one of the best ever…. I wish that all the young people today could have had the opportunity to hear this icon of the airwaves…. Grant

  2. JP says:

    I remember once, Mr. Linkletter asking a small boy, “What was the one thing your mother told you not to tell me today?” Well, of course the lad was going to tell him and millions on televison, “I wasn’t suppose to tell you that Uncle Mel comes over when Dad goes to work….” The audience roars with laughter. The camera show the mother in the crowd and the look of shock on her face was priceless.

  3. grouse says:

    OOOHH!, that listening and paying attention part is a real chore and bore! Somebody may have something to say that isn’t easy to hear and a teensy bit critical. Oh, and that being nice part because people will be nice right back, just doesn’t compute in real life. Look out for number one!
    By the way, we were decorating graves today in Volga, and your mom and my mom are really P.O ed at you. If you go there, guess who’s going to get a spanking. It isn’t me!!!

  4. Sweeps says:

    Watching Art Linkletter back in the day was in the top three. The other two were watching the Lennon Sisters on Lawrence Welk and Mitch Miller (I followed that bouncing ball wherever it went!). Why I think it was a red ball when all we had was black and white, I’ll never know. Oh, another favorite was Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color on Sunday nights … on our black and white TV … but that was the one night when we could eat our supper (lots of times hamburgers) on the living room floor like a picnic. Art Linkletter’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things” was really the only part of his show that I liked! Thanks, Doug!

  5. grouse says:

    I forgot to tell you, that when we were out decorating graves, your mom was so ticked that she called you a “Dumb Bunny”! I told her, “Gladys, for the love of God, don’t call him that!” But she repeated it! I kind of sensed that she was also little upset that there were no fresh flowers from her middle son to express his undying love. Not even a cheap .99-cent pinwheel. I told her he would probably write a little poignant blog about his mom that would warm the hearts of his readers. Once again, she yelled the “Dumb Bunny” remark. Then Harry got into the act! Nobody, but nobody, wants to tick off Harry. I told him you were probably pretty busy. After all, there was golf to play, a blog to write, and of course he’s busy surrounding himself with lots of stimulating conversation. Harry then told me he was tickled that I went to so many parades with him in his old car. I told him that I enjoyed every minute of it, but to remember, Doug would have been there, but after all he had this gig with Ralph Lundquist at the Twin Bar!
    At any rate, it was an afternoon that would have done Sylvia Browne proud. I
    I beg Doug’s readers to never call him a “Dumb Bunny”. That’s a cut down no man should have to bear. It strikes to the core of his being.
    Perhaps it’s time to give your old cuz a call. Like I said, I’ve got a perfectly chilled box of wine, and some Russian vodka on hand for antiseptic. Remember, I’m busy doing nothing too.

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