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Art Linkletter: “no work, just fun”

The Story


"I'm a natural competitor and if I weren't I wouldn't be in this business," says the ever-affable Art Linkletter. In this 1958 TV interview from Close-Up, the Moose Jaw-born American TV host responds to the critics who claim he has made a fortune of getting people to make fools of themselves on the programs House Party and People Are Funny. Linkletter also relates his feelings upon learning that he was adopted, his love for children and his reasons for staying in the tough TV business.

Medium: Television
Program: Close-Up
Broadcast Date: May 25, 1958
Guest(s): Art Linkletter
Host: J. Frank Willis
Interviewer: Charles Templeton
Duration: 6:47

Did You know?


• Art Linkletter was born Gordon Arthur Kelly on July 17, 1912 in Moose Jaw, Sask. He died on May 26, 2010 at the age of 97.

• Linkletter explains in his 1962 autobiography Confessions on a Happy Man that he was abandoned when only a few weeks old and never had contact with his natural parents or three siblings.

• He was adopted as a baby by Mary and Fulton John Linkletter, an evangelical preacher. At age five, he moved with his family to San Diego, where he graduated from high school. He later earned a bachelor degree from San Diego State Teacher College (now San Diego State University).

• Linkletter hosted two of the longest-running shows in U.S. broadcast history. House Party (1952) ran on CBS radio and TV for 25 years, and People Are Funny (1954) lasted on NBC radio and TV for 19 years. He was famous for his skills in interviewing children and getting them to say interesting and revealing things. His catchphrase, "Kids say the darndest things," was made into TV show featuring Bill Cosby in 1998. It lasted three seasons.

• He had one of the longest marriages in show business history, having married Lois Foerster on November 25, 1935. They had five children, three of which Linkletter outlived.

• Linkletter was a good friend of animation legend Walt Disney. When Linkletter helped host the Disneyland grand opening TV special Dateline: Disneyland in 1955, Disney could only afford to pay Linkletter according to scale. The two worked out a deal that allowed Linkletter to receive Disney film concessions for 10 years.

 


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