Merv Griffin, R.I.P. (Part IV)

The 1950s ushered in the television era. Griffin was “discovered” and seen regularly on “The Arthur Murray Show” and “The Jack Paar Show.” He was offered his own television program in 1958 called “Play Your Hunch.” This success led to another Griffin-hosted program he produced in 1963 called “Word for Word.”

It was during this period that Griffin conceived “Jeopardy!” [1964] the most popular game show in TV history.

In 1962 he was a substitute host for Jack Paar on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”  Griffin was a hit with the late night crowd leading to the creation of “The Merv Griffin Show.”

Griffin’s style differed from Jack Parr, Steve Allen and Johnny Carson. Just like the home viewer, he was in awe of the celebrities he interviewed. He disarmed his guests and had them revealing personal, gossipy things rather than promoting their latest movie or record album.

People genuinely felt affection for Griffin, considering him part of their family, and Griffin seemed particularly human when, for example, he shared his weight problem with the audience.

…to be continued…