UPDATE 11/12/2014: The Merv Griffin Show 12-DVD set has just been released. Here's our Off-Ramp interview from 2012, when they'd just begun licensing some of the archive for documentaries, and others.
Merv Griffin (1925-2007) created Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, and those will probably be his legacy in the public's mind. But from 1962 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 the 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.
1. Cavett and Peck join Off-Ramp host John Rabe for a fun interview of memories, discoveries, and rare clips of the Merv Griffin Show.
2. A medley of great Merv Griffin guests, including Whitney Houston, Woody Allen, MLK, RFK, John Wayne and Joan Crawford.
3. Merv Griffin Show 7/13/1981 - Jerry Seinfeld
4. Merv Griffin Show 12/10/1979 - Francis Ford Coppola
5. Merv Griffin Show 8/1/1966 - Richard Pryor and Jerry Lewis
6. Merv Griffin Show 7/13/1966 - Timothy Leary