Review of "The Dick Cavett Show - Rock Icons" From The TV MegaSite
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The Dick Cavett Show - Rock Icons


The Dick Cavett Show - Rock Icons (DVD)

Review by Suzanne 8/18/05

I was only give a preview copy, meaning it only had three episodes on it.  However, I really enjoyed the three episodes that were on there and I would love to see the whole set.

I loved talked shows when I was a kid in the 70's. I don't remember watching Cavettt--maybe he was not on at a time when I watched them. I watched all the big ones like Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, and Mike Douglas. I wish they would bring all those shows out on DVD.  Watching this set is like peering back in time, more so than a lot of other shows.  Issues of the day were discussed, rock stars were there playing what are now classics (mostly stoned it seems), and Cavett was interviewing and telling jokes.  And they all wore some pretty groovy threads while they did it.

I watched the 1969 episode that was the morning after Woodstock.  Most of the music was great and it was cool to see people like David Crosby look so young and thin.  That was the least interesting of the three in terms of interviews, though.  I thought the second episode, from 1970, was hilarious.  Cavett had a slew of unusual guests: Debbie Reynolds, tennis pro Pancho Gonzalez, Sly and the Family Stone and U.S. Senator Fred R. Harris and his wife.  Sly was clearly stoned through the whole thing.  Harris was very earnest and interesting--6 years later, he ran for president.  The last episode was a special with David Bowie in 1975.  This was when Bowie was toning down the glitter rock and just playing his songs with a band, so he looked more "normal" than at other times (but he still looked pretty weird).

Dick Cavett is supposed to be very intellectual, but he reminds me of your favorite Star Trek fan--smart, but a real nerd.  He doesn't quite fit in with anyone.  Somehow he makes the interviews work, even when he asks really off-the-wall questions that seem unrelated to one another or tells lame jokes that don't work.  He definitely wouldn't be hosting today's talk shows, except maybe on PBS.  He's too awkward.

What I like about watching the old talk shows is they were longer and gave their guests more time to chat. This worked when the guests were interesting, but not so much when the guests were boring (like Gonzalez).  Today's guests don't stick around long on Dave or Jay's couches, and they are lucky if they get ten minutes to make a joke and plug their latest project.  Back then, they could really carry on a whole conversation.  Nowadays I can't stand watching talk shows because the guests don't stick around very long and the competition for getting the top movie and TV stars is so fierce that there is no time for the B-list stars and people who might be interesting but not really famous yet, like the ones that I would see on those old shows.

I think anyone would love this set for the music alone, let alone the chance to see what yesterday's talk shows were like.  The musical acts on the DVD that I didn't see include George Harrison, Janis Joplin, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and more.  Buy it and let them know that they should put more talk shows on DVD!

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Updated 8/19/05  


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