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Remembering the Great Joe Franklin

January 26, 2015

Right about now, as the snow and the loneliness increase, I would ease the pain by calling a true great, both as the first TV late night talk show host and as a welcoming, caring man.

However, that no longer is possible, as the great man and host, Joe Franklin died Saturday night past at age 88.

His incredible body of work, stories and humor always put me in a better frame of mind. He knew so much, collected all and could talk of other greats he encountered and interviewed–Bing Crosby, perhaps his favorite.

Such stars as Al Pacino, Bill Cosby and perhaps Moses were given there first real exposure on his show. If there is not a “pill joke” there, surely there is one involving a tablet, as Joe joked he told a “sick” Moses to take two tablets.

It was the ease and composure of this man, whose office with its ever ringing phones made Grand Central Station in rush hour seem tame. He was always friendly, telling “Sidney” to call back at 6, no 5, as he was being interviewed by a “little show,” called Sixty Minutes.

This is a big blow to me, as I was privileged to know Joe and talked with him about all topics. Once, after I brought him a dvd of one of his incredible television shows, which ran in New York for over 40 years, he took me to the legendary Friars Club.

I will cherish that memory, but most of all the fact, I could always be myself and feel comfortable around Joe Franklin.

He thanked me for serving food to the less fortunate on a number of otherwise, lonely Thanksgiving holidays. “Did you have a good time serving the matzoh balls?” (there were no matzoh balls) he asked. Those days with his comedy, his care, his cause, how could I not?

On a cab ride somewhere, out of nowhere, he told me he never had his foot in the ocean. With the snow falling on Joe’s beloved New York, in another place, the great Joe Franklin Show opening musical theme is playing. Next Joe is greeting his new audience, standing in a beautiful ocean God has provided.


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