Thursday, September 04, 2014

Mike Douglas: Daytime Talk Titan



I recently bought a DVD looking back on the career of Mike Douglas called "Moments and Memories". From 1962-1982 his daytime talk show aired in syndication. In his 90 minute show he had 5,000 programs with 50,000 guests. Like Johnny Carson, he was someone who really listened to his guests and based his questions off the responses of the guests. Too many interviewers are glued to their notes rather than engaging in a conversation. He wanted his guests to shine even though the show bared his name. Stars on the retrospective mentioned how he did not have an ego that was out of control like many TV personalities.

A Navy man during the World War II era, Mike had a big break as a singer in 1945 on a radio show hosted by the singer/film actress Ginny Simms. She sang with Dinah Shore and Ella Fitzgerald and also appeared in a film with Abbott and Costello. Mike joined the Kay Kyser Orchestra as a singer. In 1950, Douglas was the singing voice of Prince Charming in the film "Cinderella". In 1966 he had a top 10 hit with the song "The Man in My Little Girl's Life".

From 1961-1965, his daytime talk show was based out of Cleveland, Ohio. From 1965-1978, the show's home was Philadelphia. For the final 4 years of the show, 1978-1982, the show was based out of Los Angeles. In 1967 the show was syndicated to 171 TV markets and was watched by 6 million viewers. Musical icons such as The Rolling Stones, James Brown, Kiss, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme and more appeared on the show. One unique aspect of the show was the fact that Douglas was joined by a celebrity co-host. Over the years they included stars such as John Lennon, Jackie Gleason, Brooke Shields, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Red Buttons, Billy Crystal and more. Bill Cosby stated that he was "discovered" by Mike Douglas.

Mike Douglas died at age 86 in 2006 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

* Some information from en.wikipedia.org.
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