THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW: THE INSIDE STORY (SOFTCOVER EDITION) by Steve Randisi
From 1962 to 1986, The Merv Griffin Show flourished as one of television’s most popular variety/talk shows, offering thousands of celebrated personalities from all walks of life. The Merv Griffin Show: The Inside Story takes you behind the scenes of this iconic program through exclusive interviews with the producers, writers, talent coordinators, and publicists who helped sustain Merv as a durable presence in millions of American homes. It’s all here: the backstage tensions, booking challenges, conversational triumphs and disasters, and the race for ratings that are so much a part of the TV talk show realm. The book includes vivid recaps of several “lost” episodes culled from the show’s remarkable history. And there’s the story of Mr. Griffin himself, spanning his days as America’s Romantic Singing star in the 1940s, to his amazing success as a powerful media mogul and real estate entrepreneur in the 1980s and beyond. Most of the book’s nostalgic photographs are published here for the first time.
THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW: THE INSIDE STORY by Steve Randisi (BearManor Media; www.bearmanormedia.com; $29.95). In my preteens, I preferred TV-programs like THE MONKEES and NIGHT GALLERY, but my mother religiously watched THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW, which was telecast on weekdays at 4 p.m., immediately after her favorite soap, GENERAL HOSPITAL. And since there was only one color television set in our home, I often wound up watching Merv's celebrity-packed show as well. This new 420-page book by author Steve Randisi gives us a revealing peek into the history of Merv's 25-year talk-show career - debuting in 1962 as an NBC afternoon program, then bouncing between network and syndication, from daytime to late-night, from New York City's Shubert Alley to Hollywood - while chronicling this former big-band singer's path to becoming one of the most beloved and successful pop-culture figures of the 20th century. Generously sprinkled with insights from people close to Merv and his show (including first wife Julann Griffin, producer Bob Shanks, head of publicity Albert Fosher, and booker Donald Kane), we get anecdotes about longtime "second banana" and friend Arthur Treacher, Merv's creation of JEOPARDY! and WHEEL OF FORTUNE, behind-the-scenes politics, the late-night talk-show wars, as well as some of Merv's most memorable (and sometimes problematic) guests, including Peter O'Toole, Groucho Marx, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Joan Crawford, Richard Pryor, Timothy Leary, "Moms" Mabley, Abbie Hoffman, Montgomery Clift, and many more. Containing dozens of backstage photos, this is a fun and nostalgic voyage for anyone who fondly remembers Merv's easy-going charm, warmth, and outrageous jacket-linings.
-- Shock Cinema