Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, May 08, 2006

As I've said before, my problem with DVDs of television programs is a salt peanuts problem-- I can't watch one and walk away. Netflix brought the Dick Cavett "Rock Icons" disk featuring Janis Joplin. She was 27 when she died, shortly after her last appearance on the show, older than I would have guessed from looking at her. She is in top form here, and top form for Janis Joplin really does mean better than anyone before or since. ("Is she not wearing a bra?" asked LCA.)

A mild revelation is Cavett, who is funny, and an excellent interviewer. Joplin teases him, but the affection between them seems genuine. The 60's didn't do anybody any favors fashion-wise: among the other guests only Chet Huntley looks like a Serious Grown-Up. Raquel Welch is at the peak of being Raquel Welch, a fine thing indeed. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr seems to think that it's his talk show, but that's fine-- one of the things that is appealing about these programs is that there is a loose feel of genuine conversation going on. Margot Kidder, barefoot, a hippie chick just off her second movie was amusing, but what made me saddest of all was the realization that this mainstream talk show was probably the last time when people could use words like "paradigm" and not be on PBS. Sweetly, Joplin chimes right in throughout the discussions on violence in American culture, or bias in the media, and has intelligent things to say. Cavett's monologues would only seem funny to someone who remembers John Lindsay's New York. ("Subway crime is down: all of the muggers are taking taxis>"), but his delivery is sincere and ingratiating.

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