Sunday, October 11, 2009

Before Letterman - Gems from the Vault

For a time when Johnny Carson did the Tonight Show, Dick Cavett had a late night show opposite him. That show started on ABC, then moved to PBS. Cavett's show aimed to entertain, but was a little more high minded. He did a variety of shows that were extended interviews each with only one guest. Sometimes he had the same guest on for a sequence of shows. (They taped them all on one day and then aired them over several days.)

Cavett is now a regular blogger on the New York Times. In his posts there are sometimes clips or full videos from his show. In his most recent post Cavett writes about some shows done with the actor Richard Burton. When I was a kid, Burton was known as the best renderer of Hamlet, and with a speaking voice unmatched in the performing arts. (He also had a torrid love affair with Elizabeth Taylor. I believe they were married twice.) There is a video of the full final show within the post. It is well worth the view. Among other things, Burton on command slips into this native Welsh voice to do a bit from Hamlet, and later he does the scene from Camelot where Arthur explains how he became King, quite a wonderful performance.

Via the recent posts box in the sidebar, you can find Cavett's commentary about the prior shows with Burton. They too can be viewed, a joy to watch.

There is a strong parallel between acting and learning. Listening to a masterful actor talk about his craft, one can gain insights about issues with learning. In the first show Burton does talk about his own mentors and how they helped him. He also talks about his critics, how mostly hie ignores them, but not completely.

1 comment:

  1. That is quite an interesting show. I watched the one on Camelot, Wales and his relationship with his father. I liked the parts where Burton talks about his father and retells the story where he imitates his father's voice.