Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mike Douglas Passes On

One of the cozier memories of my childhood is the Mike Douglas Show. Every afternoon, surrounded by that pop art decor popular in the 60's and 70's, Mike Douglas would interview two or three interesting people, sometimes participate in someone's demonstration of food preparation or Karate, and then have a song.

Most of the talk shows took place at night -- Joey Bishop, Merv Griffin, and of course Johnny Carson. But the afternoon belonged to Mike who was as comfortable around Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa as he was with Bob Hope and Maureen Stapleton. One legendary week (so legendary the video is now a cult classic) John Lennon and Yoko Ono were his co-hosts. He always had co-hosts, some interesting and some not too good; this was such a mind boggling juxtaposition of worlds that you gaped in fascination.

I wasn't a Mike Douglas groupie; he would be on and I would periodically be interested. But the patter day in, day out, the comforting presence, the gaudy set, the slow crooning when Mike Douglas did a song -- those were part of the mental wallpaper of my life.

Mike Douglas died friday, on his 81st birthday. People who die on their birthdays have always fascinated me too.

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