When you think of talk show hosts, who comes to mind? Typically, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman, and any of the unfunny and boring personalities that grace late-night television screens today.
But one name should immediately spring to the top: Dick Cavett.
Cavett was a nationally broadcast television talk show host beginning in the 1960s. If it were not for the power of DVDs and YouTube, it is unlikely that the young whippersnappers of today would be able to watch his entertaining and historic interviews.
Just whom did he interview? Anyone you could possibly imagine: Groucho Marx, Bette Davis, James Baldwin, Jimmy Hoffa, John Lennon, Miles Davis, and the list continues. What made these interviews so compelling was Cavett's interviewing technique.
Although Cavett was, and continues to be, a highly talented and witty media figure, he engaged in conversations with his guests both in earnest and in jest. As he said, "Running my show is really like an actor being in repertory but where, in one day in one performance, you do scenes from a drama, a farce, a low comedy and a tragedy."
One of the highlights of Cavett’s extensive career was his becoming a target of former President Richard Nixon. In the famous Watergate tapes, Cavett is mentioned a total of 26 times, since he had commented many times on the mishaps of the administration. Indeed, Cavett leans left, but his style of politics is more of the classical liberal variety.
Thankfully, Cavett is still...