“Those Were the Good Old Days”
Ladies and gents,
We lost another New York giant with the passing of my dear friend, Joe Franklin. Joe was as cuddly as a teddy bear, but he was also a brilliant broadcaster with a mind like a steel trap.
What first attracted me to the weird and wonderful world of Joe Franklin was that he was an authority on early 20th century popular culture. He was doing nostalgia before nostalgia was even a thing! In other words, he was talking about “the good ol’ days” during the good ol’ days!
“The Joe Franklin Show” enjoyed a remarkable 43 year run, and its decidedly low budget aesthetic didn’t deter giant names from showing up. Name a 20th century icon, and chances are Joe got ‘em. Elvis? Check. Madonna? Check. John Lennon? Frank Sinatra? John F. Kennedy? Andy Warhol? Marilyn Monroe? Check, check, check, check, check! He also had a great track record of introducing undiscovered talent to TV audiences, including the likes of Woody Allen, Liza Minelli, Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts, and Bruce Springsteen.
But you’re nobody in show business until “Saturday Night Live” makes fun of you, and Franklin enjoyed his biggest moments of national exposure when Billy Crystal would do his now legendary spoof of “The Joe Franklin Show.”
I remember calling Joe on a Sunday morning, the day after one of those sketches had aired, and he sounded really down. “Look, Joe, it’s all in good fun. You’re more famous than ever! It’s a loving tribute.” “Oh, Scoop, you know me. I love the attention.” “Then what’s the matter, pal?” “They had the real Liberace on. Did you see that? I’ve been trying to book him on my real show for years, and they get him on the fake version!”
There will never be another like him.
Tidbits from around town…
Spotted Jefferson Mays and a truck full of costumes heading into the great Joan Marcus’ photo studio on West 23rd Street.
Overheard Thomas Roberts making Super Bowl predictions with Jordan Roth in the lobby of 30 Rockefeller Center.
Spotted Joel Grey getting hugs from fans in the West Village, while his long haired Chihuahua, Miggy, waited patiently.
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!