BC Beat

The Marx of a True Pro

10/13/2006 04:10:04 PM

I have discovered a gem of a show. That is, if "discovered" means that the cable network airing it sent me a press kit in the form of a TV screen with a chip that plays the theme to the show every time I turn the light on in my office.

It is actually a very old show, but also a very good one.

Turner Classic Movies is re-running several Dick Cavett Shows vintage 1969 or so (there may be two or three years in that "or so"). It is teaming the shows with films from the start and documentaries about them, but I have only been tuning to the interviews when I remember they are on (Thursday nights).

Anyway, it has exhumed some classic Cavett interviews with movie stars including the lovably irrascible Groucho Marx and the lovably irrascible Katherine Hepburn, her first TV interview at the time I am told and choose to believe it with the same blind faith Judy Collins applies to rainbows.

But I digress. I was watching the Groucho Marx interview the other night and was struck by its quiet sweetness, and nobody was disemboweled or hung on a meat hook, which on TV these days is a pleasant surprise.

Marx sang and reminisced and Cavett mostly listened intelligently. Cavett was frequently hailed as the best interviewer around, including by Marx. That is because he was actually a better listener than a talker, something many talk show hosts have never learned to do at all.

Katherine Hepburn's interview is scheduled for next Thursday night at 11 p.m. I recommend it sight unseen.

By John Eggerton

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