Well, I’ll be darned; Art Linkletter has died.
I 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.