Tomorrow night, September 29th, is the first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
So today on Now I’ve Heard Everything, I wanted to revisit an interview I did over 30 years ago with a man who played a key role in the 1984 presidential debates between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale.
Years before he became head of Fox News — way before there even was a Fox News — Roger Ailes was a media consultant. Most prominent among his many clients, perhaps, was President Ronald Reagan. Ailes was an adviser to the President in his 1984 reelection bid, and was indrectly responsible for one of that campaign’s most memorable, and decisive, moments.
I met Roger Ailes in the fall of 1987. He’d written a book to help coach people in the art of public speaking and dealing with the media. The book promised to reveal the “secrets of the master communicators.”
So here now, from 1987, Roger Ailes:
Roger Ailes went on to become CEO of the fledgling Fox News in 1996. He held that post until 2016 when allegations of sexual harassment forced him out.
Roger Ailes died in 2017, three days after his 77th birthday.
Fifty years ago today, a TV show premiered on ABC, about a family that had formed a rock band. It was called “The Partridge Family,: and its star was a young actor-singer named David Cassidy.
In very short order, Cassidy became a full-fledged teen idol. Girls went crazy for him. He sold out concert Halls.
But as he revealed in a 1994 memoir, life was not exactly what it looked like on the outside.
You know, people often ask me which of my tem tjpisamd-plus interviews with my favorite. It’s hard to pin down one favorite, but the interview you’re about to hear is certainly in my top five. I found David Cassidy, who was it then 44 years old, to be one of the most thoughtful, introspective, smartest, and most likeable people I’ve ever interviewed.
In nearly thirty years of interviewing celebrities and big names, I didn’t often get very Starstruck, but this day I did.
It’s hard to overstate how big a star Mickey Rooney was. For decades, he was one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of Hollywood. If you’ve ever watched one of his movies on one of the classic movie networks, you know his Andy Hardy series, and all those hey kids, let’s put on a show movies with Judy Garland.
To the general public, Mickey was known primarily for two things: his height, he was only five foot three, and his marriages, of which there were many.
So when he published his Memoirs in 1994, I jumped at the chance to interview him.
But as you’re about to hear, Mickey wanted to talk about not just the book he was there to promote, but all his other books. I think he was a frustrated author at heart.
Anyway, here now, from 1994, the great Mickey Rooney.
Had he lived, Mickey Rooney would ha veeb 100 today. He died in 2014, at the age of 93.
Journalist and celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley first rose to prominence in 1978, with her biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, a book called Jackie Oh!
But it was her 1986 biography of the legendary Frank Sinatra that make kitty Kelley a household name.
Kelley is a meticulous and very thorough biographer, and in researching Sinatra’s life, she uncovered a lot of things he didn’t want uncovered.
Her book was an instant best-seller, but it also got her sued by Sinatra, and it got her attacked by his powerful friends, including talk show host Larry King, who fancied himself a clothes Sinatra friend, and when Kitty Kelley appeared on King’s late night radio show the night before my interview with her, King rake her over the coals.
When I interviewed her the next day, she seemed largely unscathed by the king interview.
So here now, from 1986, Kitty Kelley.
Kitty Kelley is 78 now. Her last book was published in 2012.
If you’ve ever eaten that Wendy’s, and most of us have, you probably know that the chain was founded by a guy named Dave Thomas. He needed a first daughter. And you probably remember his TV commercials:
But here’s what you may not know about Dave Thomas. He was born during the Great Depression. Later he was adopted, but his home life was so unstable, he dropped out of high school and struck out on his own at age 15.
As a young man, he got into the restaurant business. And eventually, he started working with an older gentleman, who had just started his own business: Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I first met Dave Thomas in 1991, when he wrote a book that was part Memoir, part How to Succeed in Business.
So here now, from 1991, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas.
Now, there is more to the story. The following year, after our interview, Dave Thomas made a decision. He told me about it, the next time we met, in 1994:
Dave Thomas died just a few years later, in 2002, at the age of 69.
In the US, we take labor unions for granted. To many, it seems like they have always been around.
But in 1980, labor unions in countries under the grip of the Soviet Union we’re totally hostile to labor unions. That’s why it made huge news 40 years ago this week, when workers in the Gdansk shipyards of Poland formed a labor union called solidarity.
With the implicit blessing of the communist government.
And Solidarity was not limited to shipyard workers. Teachers and other educators also wanted in on the movement, and that’s where Kazimierz Wierzbicki comes in. He was one of the early organizers of those educators.
I met him in early 1982, some weeks after the government Pride meekly to crack down on solidarity.
Now, a note: my tape archive can be sometimes maddeningly incomplete. What you’re about to hear is not my full interview, but a shortened, edited version that ran on the air in 1982. Somehow, I have lost the original, unedited interview. That’s why this episode is a little shorter than usual.
Do you remember where you were 19 years ago today?
Richard Picciotto will always remember that as the day he thought he would die. Indeed, he almost did.
PIcciotto was a New York City Fire Department battalion chief that day, and he was inside the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the South Tower collapsed. Half an hour later, he was still inside the North Tower when it, too, collapsed.
Somehow, he made it out alive, and I met him the following spring when he wrote a book about that day.
So here now from 2002, Richard Picciotto:
Richard Picciotto is a 28-year veteran of the FDNY.
Are you new to Now I’ve Heard Everything?
You may not have heard some of the other interviews I’ve posted. Over 100 of them in all — but you can find them all at my website, HeardEverything.com.
And be sure to subscribe to Now I’ve Heard Everything on your favorite podcast app.
Whoopi Goldberg has been entertaining us for almost 40 years, in movies like “The Color Purple,” “Ghost,” and “Sister Act” as well as TV’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and of course, on ABC’s “The View.”
I met her in 1997, after she wrote a book called “Book.” It was a kind of stream-of-consciousness effort, with chapters each having a single syllable word as their title.
And our interview was kind of stream-of-consciousness, too.