April 28, 2017

People Are Talking NY – Richard Bey Interviews Sammy Davis Jr (full show)

Richard Bey interviews Sammy Davis Jr. on People Are Talking in NY. This interview lasted the entire duration of the show.

People Are Talking – First Episode in NY

A clip from People Are Talking’s first episode in NY.

People Are Talking – Ethnic Comedians

Comedians Sal Richards, Bill Rutkoski, Phil Nee, Kim Coles, Joe Vega, and Freddie Roman perform on People Are Talking with Richard Bey.

People Are Talking – Richard Bey Interviews Jimmy Carter

Richard Bey interviews President Jimmy Carter on People Are Talking.

Richard Bey Interviews Joan Rivers

Richard interviews Joan Rivers on People Are Talking.

I had the flu the day Joan was booked on the show but didn’t want to miss the interview which was broadcast live. I had seen Joan at numerous events and she was the most friendly and considerate of celebrities in her relationship with fans. Before the broadcast she was the most nervous celebrity I had ever interviewed. She perused a stack of cards with jokes, repeatedly asked which questions I was going to ask and seemed genuinely insecure. On the air she was confident, funny, spontaneous and simply genuine!

My favorite part of the interview was when she began digging at me…trying to instigate a fight with Regis Philbin. After the show producers from ‘Regis and Kathy Lee’ called my producers and asked: “What did Regis do to Richard? Why is he upset? We’re getting phone calls from viewers…” A few months later I walked into COLUMBUS, a West Side restaurant partially owned by Regis. He stood by his table, arms crossed, chagrined, shaking his head. “Richard, Richard, I don’t know what I did. I’m sorry. I don’t even remember meeting you!” Joy sat beside him, glaring at me, the creep who had hurt her man.

I felt two feet tall and I was the one apologizing now. He was a perfect gentleman, a mensch and was always friendly and supportive every time we met consequently. Later, when I was fired from Channel 9 he sat me down and gave me a pep talk, discussing all the times he had been fired and rehired. Joy was also great, suggesting I take up video games, something Regis did to pass the hours while unemployed.

Hope you all enjoy the JOAN RIVERS interview. Its an interesting companion piece to the new movie about her life. And a reminder that sometimes those with the most ‘show bizzy’ celebrity facades turn out to be the most genuine personalities under that slick patina…

PATRICIA NEAL AND I

Patricia Neal died today on Martha’s Vinyard.

On top of the fact that she starred in two of my favorite movies, I had the memorable honor of interviewing her for an hour in 1988 live on PEOPLE ARE TALKING on WWOR.

Patricia Neal, People Are Talking, 1988 WWOR-TV

She was one of the warmest and most transparent celebrities I’ve ever interviewed. By the end of the interview I literally loved her and I’m sure many viewers did as well. She was completely open about discussing her life including her love for Gary Cooper while he was married (“I’ve got my reasons!” she memorably purred), her battle back from stroke and her conflicted marriage to Roald Dahl (who incidentally wrote Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory among other books). She was hard on herself and not everything she described about her life was pretty or complimentary but she was obviously someone who had contemplated her years and made sense and peace with them.

A FACE IN THE CROWD is near the top of the list for my favorite movies. It is the story of a transient hobo who becomes America’s premiere talk show host. His power and influence extends into American politics and business belying the oft-repeated claim that ‘its all just entertainment’. Directed by Elia Kazan, it also stars Lee Remick in her first movie role, Walter Matthau, and Andy Griffith in a star-making bravura performance. But it is Patricia Neal who is the moral center of the film, taking the audience along on her character’s transformation from booster and lover to antagonist and destroyer. She is a media Dr. Frankenstein by the end aghast at the monster she created. Every person in the media should watch this film. It cries out for a remake in our times.

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is a movie that received a horrid 21st century remake so maybe I should be more cautious about what I wish for. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid and I watched it over and over on local TV. It was Neal’s recitation of the sci-fi version of ‘Open-Sesame’ that made this phrase a staple of kids raised in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s: ‘GORT! KLAATU BARADA NIKTO’. It was Patricia Neal who saved the world with those words.

I have the interview with Patricia Neal on DVD and will try to post it soon.

Don’t believe those obituaries that moan about her ‘sad life’. Surely her life was centered amidst a whirlpool of tragedies but she was a person who faced adversity with a fighter’s stamina, a mature humor, a humane compassion and a love for life.

I miss her inordinately for someone with whom I only spent an hour.

But then again, I did spend many hours in the pleasure of her company…