Here’s another look back at some of my 40-year career favorites.
A favorite moment
I was interviewing a panel of young men who, as the result of motorcycle accidents, had endured a traumatic head injury. One of the panelists, Jay, had short-term memory loss. To compensate for this, he jotted down notes during the interview on a mini yellow legal pad so he could keep track of the questions and answers. Sitting next to Jay was another patient named John. Throughout the show, I confused their names, addressing Jay as John and vice versa. After making this mistake for the fourth time, Jay broke out in a big grin and said, “Dick, would you like to borrow my pad?”
My biggest thrill
In l982, I interviewed my idol, Steve Allen. He was talking about the great comics of the silent era: “Chaplin was my favorite, but where do you find people of that ilk anymore?” Allen asked.
“You could join the Ilks Club,” I suggested, realizing this was a totally rotten pun … but one that Allen might have made himself.
Steve Allen cackled, as only Steve Allen could. I made my hero laugh, and I hadn’t even started a bucket list yet.
A most embarrassing moment (there were lots of others)
In 1988, I had the rare opportunity to interview Cyd Charisse, a beautiful and leggy dance partner of Fred Astaire. My producer told me that Ms. Charisse was traveling the country and her tour was sponsored by Underalls — or at least, that’s what I thought she said. I knew Underalls was a brand of pantyhose, so this made perfect sense to me. Ms. Charisse failed to mention her sponsor, so I decided to help her out.
“Underalls must be very proud to have you as their spokesperson — a woman known for her beautiful legs.”
“I’m sure they would be, but my sponsor is Inderal, the drug I take for my heart condition.”
Absolute dumbest question I ever asked
I was at a pet shop in Anderson, where the owner kept a 6-foot alligator in a huge tank. When I arrived at the store, I was amused to see that the alligator had on a Channel 8 T-shirt, with his front legs stuck through the arm holes and the logo displayed on his back. After a few basic questions about the reptile, I asked, “So, Luke, can people get in the tank with the alligator?”
“No, Dick, the alligator put the T-shirt on himself.”
Next week, I wrap up this series up with my favorite Barney stories.