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Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons
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Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons

Director: Dick Cavett, David Bowie, Sly Stone, Joni Mitchell

Cast: Dick Cavett, David Bowie, Sly Stone, Joni Mitchell

This deluxe and quite elegant package is a delicious presentation from Shout!Factory that houses these interviews and vital performances with the touch of class they so richly deserve. Dick Cavett's ability to bring great guests with terrific chemistry together along with his gift of gab and decent sense of moderation sets the pace and separates his show from the


This deluxe and quite elegant package is a delicious presentation from Shout!Factory that houses these interviews and vital performances with the touch of class they so richly deserve. Dick Cavett's ability to bring great guests with terrific chemistry together along with his gift of gab and decent sense of moderation sets the pace and separates his show from the programs which demanded stricter formulas. It's the colloquial tack which allowed all the guests to participate so that some of the interviews become sort of superstar panels. The combination of his straight-laced nerd approach interacting with so many hippies - The Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Sly Stone - as well as the more reserved (as far as rockers go), George Harrison, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and a diverse selection of movie actors, Margot Kidder, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gloria Swanson and even a football player, Dave Meggyesy, resulted in a free for all with Cavett the sometimes shy and reticent ringleader. Meggyesy talking about his book, "Out Of Their League," which seems to have vanished from the face of the earth (well, you can get it on Amazon for forty-one cents), is conspicuous in just how unimportant he is by comparison. The fact that a music company is issuing the project with the emphasis on the "Rock Icons" doesn't render Chet Huntley's appearance moot, in fact, the addition of individuals clearly outside of the world of music adds to the drama - though Meggyesy - obviously - does not inspire compelling talk on the same level of a Raquel Welch and, being out of his league - as his book prophetically notes, it is apparent why he is an unknown today while the "icons" made their mark and stood the test of time. The inclusion of an unknown football player as well as an improv group, The Committee, also relatively unknown decades later (though Janis Joplin appearing with them is a treat), is a sort of barometer of the time - and of Cavett's strength and weakness. But it was the "personality laboratory" - the placement of diverse individuals on this talk show, in straight laced trappings - like the theme to the Dick Cavett show so unhip and annoying - that the created atmosphere was a paradox worthy of study. Perhaps if broadcast television let go of the need to copy Johnny Carson and allowed Cavett really reach out to the youth the show would've generated higher numbers. Truly it was a mecca for the rock hierarchy many years before MTV, and if nothing else, it helped chip away at the barriers while preserving some intense and incredible music. David Bowie's discussion of a sound bomb that could devastate - with the formula available for a few bucks in the French trademark office - was truly ahead of its internet time. The superb booklet, slick packaging and generous three discs chock full of treasures deserves a place on any true rock & roll fan's bookshelf, and stands as a unique time capsule. Raquel Welch generalizing that the audience was all gay for the film Myra Breckinridge, then backtracking saying it wasn't all gay because Janis Joplin was there, is absolute camp - especially because Janis was gay, perhaps Welch proving her original point with a nod and a wink. Creative television that is sadly a lost art. This set is so perfectly crafted that it should inspire current hosts to revisit this wishing well and see the potential. Dick Cavett is to talk television what Jeff Beck is to the guitar, someone willing to take a risk with the successes far outdistancing the flubs. One can fast forward the Dave Meggyesy clip and return to the Joplin/Welch intellectual interplay time and again, or George Harrison making an appearance and showing what an important part of The Beatles that he truly was. Rock Icons is a true "keeper" in every sense of the word and should be the prototype for other valuable interviews and performances which deserve - but rarely get - the same professional tender loving care.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bill Pearis
Erudite and witty, ABC’s Dick Cavett offered viewers a late-night alternative to his fellow Nebraskan, NBC’s Johnny Carson, with a 90-minute chat-fest that aired from 1969 to 1975 in various permutations. As was the custom of the day, conversations were more free-ranging and less pitch-oriented, and guests would hang around, rather than exiting to make room for the next one. The mix of guests included more authors, politicians, and musicians than one would expect to see today, The Charlie Rose Show aside, and this often made for unpredictable television. This is in full view on Rock Icons, the first in a series of themed Cavett compilations, featuring some amazing performances from some of the biggest pop acts of the day. Of the full episodes offered here, the most notable is the show Cavett taped just hours after Woodstock with the Jefferson Airplane, Joni Mitchell, Steven Stills, and David Crosby as his guests. Although he was only a few years older than most of the rockers at the time, Cavett seemed far less at ease with the long-haired free spirits than he would around Gore Vidal and Truman Capote. The performances -- especially Mitchell’s -- are phenomenal, and the interview segments, where Cavett tries to show he's "with it," are hilariously awkward, especially his patter with the nonplussed Grace Slick. Other highlights include a not-all-there Sly Stone flirting with Debbie Reynolds; two shows from 1970 featuring Janis Joplin, who shares the couch with Raquel Welch and Gloria Swanson; a themed show with George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, and Gary Wright; and a full 1975 episode with David Bowie. There are also visits with Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, and the Rolling Stones (leave it to Cavett to ask Mick Jagger about his pre-rock life as an economics student). The candor of the conversations is surprising, especially by today’s standards, in which the hosts and celebrities hit marks determined in pre-interviews. Whether you were there and loved it, or just feel curious about a celebrity in that bygone era, The Dick Cavett Show - Rock Icons is a fascinating document.

Product Details

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Shout Factory
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Special Features

New episode introductions ; All-new interview with Dick Cavett

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Cast & Crew

Scene Index

DISC ONE August 19, 1969: Jefferson Airplane, Joni Mitchell, Steven Stills, David Crosby July 13, 1970: Sly & The Family Stone, Debbie Reynolds, Pancho Gonzales, Senator & Mrs. Fred Harris December 5, 1974: David Bowie August 4, 1972: “Cavett Meets The Rolling Stones” New Dick Cavett Interview (Interviewed by Bob Weide) DISC TWO July 18, 1969: Janis Joplin, The Committee, Michael Thomas June 25, 1970: Janis Joplin, Raquel Welch, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Chet Huntley August 3, 1970: Janis Joplin, Gloria Swanson, Margot Kidder, Dave Meggyesy DISC THREE August 11, 1970: Stevie Wonder, Elsa Lanchester, Alain Delon, Tex Ritter November 23, 1971: George Harrison, Gary Wright, Ravi Shankar September 5, 1974: Paul Simon, Anthony Burgess, Barbara Howar, Jerzy Kosinski

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