[Photo: Joe Franklin in his studio]

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Joe Franklin
Recorded in New York City.
Premiered September 8, 1991, on All Things Considered.

Joe Franklin, The man credited with creating the television talk show, has hosted over 28,000 episodes of The Joe Franklin Show and has interviewed over 150,000 guests, some famous and some . . . not. From his Times Square office filled with chaos and clutter, he fields about 1,000 calls a day from hopefuls hoping to land a spot on his show. "Of course, most of them can't be on, but I hate to hurt their feelings so I never say 'good-bye.' I just hang up. So that way they feel the conversation hangs in limbo until we chat again."

Over the years, Sound Portraits producers have met some pretty impressive characters. Unbelievable characters. But the greatest of them all is Joe Franklin. Just give a call to his office (the number's listed) and you'll see: "Hello? Who's this?" he'll ask. "[Fill in your name], my friend!" he'll exclaim, as if he's known you all his life. "Listen to me closely now. Whatever you want, it's automatic. Listen, [Fill in your name] -- I'm very busy. Very busy. Call me back at three o'clock exactly. You swear? Don't forget now -- very important. Critical! God bless you." SLAM.

Producer: David Isay / Mix engineer: David Goren / Funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Photograph by Harvey Wang.


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This piece is available in the following audio formats [8:06 min]:



Holding On, a book with an oral history based on this documentary

Joe Franklin's Web site

"The Conversation," an outtake recorded in Joe Franklin's office [RealAudio file]

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