Merv Griffin (1925-2007) created Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, and those will probably be his legacy in the public's mind. But from 1965 to 1986, he hosted a daily talk show that was carried on all the major markets and featured all the personalities of the day.
Yes, over 21 years there's going to be a lot of froth, but as David Peck, the president of Reelin' In The Years discovered as he began to prepare the Merv Griffin Show archives for licensing, Griffin hosted the lasting greats as well, including Rose and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Richard Pryor, Woody Allen, John Wayne, Joan Crawford, and a young girl who performed for the first time on television on his show: "Whitney Houston," Merv said, "Now there's a name you're not going to forget."
Peck says the Merv Griffin shows will be a treasure trove for documentarians, historians, and biographers; and there are plans to release DVDs, as well.
Dick Cavett used to write for Merv Griffin, and in 1965 alone, appeared on the show seven times. Cavett admires Griffin's business acumen, but also his stamina and ability to always be pleasant ... which of course was exactly what the home audience wanted.