TV Tuesday: The Talk Show Generation Gap

One of the things that made the sixties and seventies a golden age for television talk shows was the often awkward, but always interesting interaction among the cross-generational guests. Several big names from the studio age were still alive and available for a chat, and they often found themselves face-to-face with the young actors and musicians of the day. These meetings never fail to be at least a bit awkward as two generations attempt to understand each other, but it is endearing how kind and even curious about each other they could be. Here are a couple of my favorite cross-generational meetings.

James Brown and Alfred Hitchcock

Though he doesn’t get the name of the movie right, it is obvious that Psycho (1960) made a memorable impression on James Brown. While sharing the stage with Hitch on The Mike Douglas Show, he can’t help asking a question about the famous shower scene. Hitch firmly, though also with good humor, refuses to answer in public, but promises an abashed Brown to answer his question in private:



Janis Joplin and Gloria Swanson

Though their conversation is civil, the tension between Joplin and Swanson is palpable in this brief clip from a 1970 episode of The Dick Cavett Show. The glamorously-dressed Swanson seems unsure what to make of Joplin with her wild hair and hippy threads, though it must be said that they are well-matched in outlandishness:



Have you seen any other great cross-generational meetings on old talk shows? I’d love to see them if you have. I’m still working on getting my comments functional, but my e-mail and Twitter work!

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