Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rant #642: Phil 'Em Up To 76 Today

Phil Donahue turns 76 today.

Although I often did not agree with his liberal politics, Phil Donahue, in my mind, is an icon of the TV talk show circuit.

Without him, there would be no Oprah, no Morey, no Ellen, and none of the other clowns who populate that genre today.

I used to watch Donahue's show--with a theme song by Don Agrati, better known as Don Grady from TV's "My Three Sons"--on occasion, when I was home, so I am by no means an expert on him.

But when I saw his show, I knew I was in for a roller coaster ride.

Whether he had on a famous politician or a porn star, you knew you were going to get everything Donahue had in him.

He was one of the first of the talk show hosts to run around with a microphone, trying to get the impressions of what was going on from his audience. He stuck that wand in front of their faces, and he let them speak their mind.

Donahue was as comfortable with important people as he was with the average Joes, and I think that is why people liked him so much.

I believe his very first guest was a young girl born without arms or legs. He treated her with dignity, and had her on several times as she grew into a woman to see how her life was progressing.

He had on transvestites, the latest TV and movie stars, everyday people with incredible problems, and the like.

And everyone seemed to like him, as his show seemingly went on forever.

And when he announced that he wouldn't do the show anymore, there wasn't this big fanfare like what Oprah wanted and got.

He just ended it.

Sure, he went onto cable TV, pretty unsuccessfully I might add, but when his regular show was over, that was pretty much it for him.

And I can't forget that I have always been a fan of his wife, Marlo Thomas, of "That Girl" fame.

So there you have it.

Have a happy birthday, Phil. You weren't the first TV talk show host, but you were certainly among the best of the lot.

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