The Dick Cavett Show
starring Dick Cavett
S’more Entertainment, MVD Video
In this age of screaming cable TV hosts, instant opinions and polarizing politics, there are still reminders of a more civilized political discourse. Dick Cavett spent most of his career interviewing the famous or soon to be famous on a variety of television networks. The fine folks at Arrow MVD specialize in finding and capturing these intellectual moments in broadcast structure, and there are now an even dozen interview DVD/Blu-ray discs. I have a small stack of them, and listening to them provides a calming soporific way to learn how the other guy thinks, and with the assumption that person is not an idiot or an ideologue.
I can’t mention all of them here, but I’ll hit a few highlights. Water Cronkite appears twice, and in the last interview he’s outside on his lawn overlooking long Island sound. Dogs bark, motors pass by and Cavett and the sound crew struggle to capture Walter’s thoughts as he discusses his career as the most trusted voice on television. On another disk , we meet a childlike Robin Williams who rarely stays on topic, but ultimately takes us to a tour of Cavett’s set and makes toys and animate creatures out the various gewgaws that are really only there to give some texture to the set. In another segment, we discover Gilbert Gottfried really is a loud, annoying jerk, and that Bobcat Goldthwait is packed with the insecurity’s all comedians seem to harbor deep down inside. The quality of these videos varies, some are old kinescopes (black and white films archives of live broadcast), later ones were originally digital tapes with decent if not HD quality. These interviews are offered with little context beyond the filming date but give a grand tour of the late 20th century and its intellectual foundation.