Being a regular on the Joe Franklin show was special (and unique). You didn't get the kind of public attention and outreach as you did from Oprah, the TODAY Show or Live with Regis and Kathie Lee; but what you did get was a half hour of Joe's bad jokes, his warmth and his genuine curiosity.
This is a very unusual column to post on SG, but the passing of Joe Franklin at 88 deserves our attention. I actually have a photo in my office of Joe interviewing me on his WOR TV show some 35 years ago. There was Joe, me, three priests who had formed a nationwide CB radio network of priests and a heart doctor.
I grew up watching Joe on his Memory Lane television show as he played "old" movies and added his personal nostalgia insights as the play-by-play on a sports show would do.
Joe was a New York institution. His fame never made it past the 5 boroughs and New Jersey, but he really didn't care. For him New York was the center of the world. And he was the center of New York.
Being a regular on the Joe Franklin show was special (and unique). You didn't get the kind of public attention and outreach as you did from Oprah, the TODAY Show or Live with Regis and Kathie Lee; but what you did get was a half hour of Joe's bad jokes, his warmth and his genuine curiosity. He didn't have someone pre-interview you, nor did he have prepared questions. You felt like you were having a chat in his home. His was a different kind of talk show. Yes he had the occasional celebrity interview, they all knew him, but his was the show you watched to see and learn about people and events you never heard about. Each show was a "wow" - and that's what he wanted.
Years later we would work together at WOR radio in NYC and whenever our paths would cross he would always ask me if I found any new restaurants he should visit. He loved restaurants and restaurants loved him. He would walk into one and the diners would actually applaud and ask for his autograph. He actually opened his own restaurant right in Times Square and filled it with his tons of memorabilia that he was so famous for. The restaurant didn't last very long, but Joe continued on....
There will never be another Joe Franklin.