The Mike Douglas Show

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The Mike Douglas Show
Genre Talk show
Presented by Mike Douglas
Narrated by Jay Stewart (1961–78)
Charlie Tuna (1978–81)
Opening theme "Here's Mike"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 21
No. of episodes 4017
Production company(s) Group W Productions / Westinghouse Broadcasting Company (1961–80)
Mike Douglas Entertainment (1980–82)
Distributor Group W Productions (1961–80)
Syndicast (1980–82)
Original channel Syndicated
Picture format Black-and-white (1961–67)
Color television (1968–82)
Audio format Monaural
Original run December 11, 1961 (1961-12-11) – November 30, 1981 (1981-11-30)

The Mike Douglas Show is an American daytime television talk show hosted by Mike Douglas that originally aired only in the Cleveland area during much of its first two years on the air. It then went into syndication in 1963 and remained on television until 1982. It was distributed by Westinghouse Broadcasting and for much of its run, originated from studios of two of the company's TV stations in Cleveland and Philadelphia.

History in Cleveland[edit]

The program premiered on KYW in Cleveland on December 11, 1961, and featured a mix of light banter with guests and musical performances, along with more-serious interviews with prominent newsmakers. Joining Douglas as part of the everyday lineup was the Ellie Frankel trio, a local jazz group. Instead of an opening comedic monologue (as was the case with The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, for example), Douglas, given his vocalist background, would begin each show by singing a popular song for the audience. Each week would have a different co-host who would appear every day with Douglas.

The inevitable growing pains of a new program were evident during the first week of shows, when the scheduled co-host, Irish singer Carmel Quinn, missed the first two shows due to a scheduling conflict in New York. In addition, faulty microphones on the inaugural broadcast were coupled with equally problematic chairs that caused a pair of guests to fall off stage.

Some moments of controversy developed in the opening months, including a guest's satirical look at First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's televised tour of the White House that was criticized for bad taste, and a look at censorship that was to involve the reading of selections from books such as Lady Chatterley's Lover and Tropic of Cancer. The show was postponed until a representative for banning such books could be found.

In February 1963, singer Barbra Streisand was the show's co-host. During that week, she was performing in a local club, and was asked by the club owner to promote her appearances on Douglas' show each day. The reason given was because Cleveland newspapers were in the midst of a lengthy labor strike, preventing any consistent advertising. Douglas later said that the station erased the videotapes of Streisand's appearance in order to re-use them for station editorials.

Just a few months later, Douglas had atheist Madalyn Murray as a guest, three days after the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in her favor in the Abington School District v. Schempp case, which banned Bible reading in public schools.

In September 1963, Douglas' show was syndicated to four other television markets that had a Westinghouse-owned station: Pittsburgh, Boston, Baltimore and San Francisco. Less than one year later, the show had expanded to a total of 27 cities.

On November 22, 1963, Douglas was speaking with Federal Housing Administrator Robert C. Weaver, when station newscaster John Dancy interrupted the live broadcast by walking through the audience in order to give the first reports of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The show soon ended as NBC began its four-day coverage of the tragedy.

During the July 23, 1964 program, comedian Henry Morgan made a brief appearance at the start of the show, but later walked out when Douglas was interviewing Dr. Sam Sheppard, who had been released from prison one week earlier.

History in Philadelphia[edit]

In 1965, the FCC reversed a 1955 station switch when NBC strong-armed Westinghouse to move to Cleveland so it could have a station in the much larger Philadelphia market. With NBC moving back to Cleveland (as WKYC-TV) and KYW-TV Westinghouse moving to Philly, NBC tried to buy the Douglas show to keep it in Cleveland. But it was the only real big moneymaker for Westinghouse at the time, so the Douglas show moved with KYW to eastern Pennsylvania in August.

At first, it was broadcast from a small 140-seat basement studio located in the KYW-TV building at 1619 Walnut Street (see photos on right). It continued to be aired live until later that year when Zsa Zsa Gabor called Morey Amsterdam a "son of a bitch" for interrupting her joke. After that, the program aired on a one-day tape delay basis, allowing for the editing out of any objectionable material. Live broadcasts (with a seven-second delay) were attempted only on a few special occasions thereafter, such as when the Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup.

In July 1972, the show moved to a new studio in the newly constructed KYW-TV studios at 5th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. That studio ("Studio A") was the first and only studio especially constructed for the program. While the overall new studio was larger, it accommodated only 120 seats. Ellie Frankel continued as musical director until 1967, when Joe Harnell, an accomplished musician, composer, and band leader took over the position until 1973. Harnell was followed by Frank Hunter, and the show ended with Joe Massimino in that role.

During much of its time on the air, the show remained strong in ratings, consistently finishing among the most popular daytime television shows nearly every season. Douglas took the success lightly. He made a surprise visit in 1976 to the set of Match Game, a competing show which managed to score higher ratings than Douglas' program during the mid-1970s, in order to congratulate host Gene Rayburn on making the game show the #1 daytime TV show.

The show's run spanned 21 years and more than 6,000 episodes. In 1978, production of the show moved to Los Angeles, where it remained until the end of the show's run in 1982.

In the fall of 1980, Westinghouse dropped Douglas in favor of John Davidson, although his show continued, with Syndicast taking over the program's distribution. However, in an effort to boost falling ratings during the show's final season, a third of the staff was fired and the program was revamped with a traveling roadshow format, retitled The Mike Douglas Entertainment Hour. The format change did not help, and Douglas' show was cancelled at the end of the 1981-82 season.

The Mike Douglas Show studio at KYW-TV in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia "Mike Douglas Show" lobby-entrance


The show featured the first television appearance of then two-year-old Tiger Woods who showed off his swing for Bob Hope and James Stewart. Others who appeared on the show over the years include Edie Adams, Muhammad Ali, Marty Allen, Steve Allen, Ian Anderson, Dana Andrews, Paul Anka, Louis Armstrong, Eddy Arnold, Fred Astaire, Pearl Bailey, Lucille Ball, Sandy Baron, Leonard Barr, Yank Barry, Harry Belafonte, Joan Bennett, Milton Berle, Joey Bishop, Elayne Boosler, Victor Borge, Foster Brooks, Mel Brooks, Victor Buono, George Burns, Sid Caesar, Charlie Callas, George Carlin, Diahann Carroll, Jack Carter, Johnny Cash, Roy Clark, Rosemary Clooney, Imogene Coca, Sean Connery, Pat Cooper, Irwin Corey, Bill Cosby, Howard Cosell, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, Norm Crosby, Tony Curtis, Rodney Dangerfield, Phyllis Diller, Angela Davis, Bette Davis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Nanette Fabray, Lola Falana, Carrie Fisher, Fannie Flagg, Harrison Ford, Redd Foxx, Connie Francis, Judy Garland, Eydie Gorme, Frank Gorshin, Robert Goulet, Shecky Greene, Tammy Grimes, Buddy Hacket, Mark Hamill, George Hamilton, Valerie Harper, Joey Heatherton, Alfred Hitchcock, Celeste Holm, Moe Howard of The Three Stooges, Janis Ian, Artie Johnson, Jack Jones, Stan Kann, Andy Kaufman, Howard Keel, Gene Kelly, Alan King, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eartha Kitt, Robert Klein, Kreskin, Frankie Laine, Dorothy Lamour, Steve Landesberg, Peter Lawford, Carol Lawrence, Jack Lemmon, Jay Leno, Rich Little, Malcolm X, Marcel Marceau, Dick Martin, Lee Marvin, Sergio Mendes, Ethel Merman, James Meredith, Liza Minnelli, Martha Mitchell, Ricardo Montalban, Roger Moore, Mother Teresa, Jan Murray, Madelyn Murray O'Hair, Ralph Nader, Joe Namath, Paul Newman, Olivia Newton-John, Gloria Parker, Vincent Price, Lou Rawls, Rex Reed, Mason Reese, Debbie Reynolds, Buddy Rich, Joan Rivers, Cliff Robertson, Ginger Rogers, Kenny Rogers, Dan Rowan, Jerry Rubin, Soupy Sales, Tony Sandler, George Schindler,[1] Dick Shawn, Sam Sheppard, Red Skelton, Ray Stevens, Dr. Cody Sweet, Bernie Taupin, Rip Taylor, Gene Tierney, Lily Tomlin, John Travolta, Tina Turner, Vivian Vance, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Peter Ustinov, Jerry Vale, Frankie Valli, Gwen Verdon, Ben Vereen, Tom Waits, Jimmie Walker, Jonathan Winters, Henny Youngman, Fulton J. Sheen, John Lennon Yoko Ono and Jimmy Edmonson (better known as "Professor Backwards" who appeared more times than any other guest).

Musical performers[edit]

Guest co-hosts[edit]

There was a different co-host every week on the show during its entire run, including The 5th Dimension, Frankie Avalon, Kaye Ballard, Shirley Bassey, Anne Baxter, Tony Bennett, Shelley Berman, David Brenner, James Brown, Joe E. Brown, Anita Bryant, Red Buttons, Dyan Cannon, Pat Carroll, Carol Channing, Harry Chapin, Cher, Mike Connors, Billy Crystal, Bobby Darin, Linda Darnell, Jimmy Dean, Billy DeWolfe, Patty Duke, Totie Fields, Eddie Fisher, Joan Fontaine, Mary Ford, Jackie Gleason, Dody Goodman, Dick Gregory, Joel Grey, Marvin Hamlisch, Pat Harrington, Jr., Richard Harris, Florence Henderson, Charlton Heston, Hildegarde, Kate Jackson, David Janssen George Jessel, Gladys Knight, Ted Knight, Steve Lawrence, John Lennon & Yoko OnoJerry Lewis, Liberace, Gordon MacRae, Johnny Mathis, Rod McKuen, Anne Murray, Anthony Newley, Louie Nye, Pat O'Brien, Hugh O'Brian, Les Paul, Minnie Pearl, Bernadette Peters, Richard Pryor, Tony Randall, Martha Raye, Burt Reynolds, Don Rickles, Cesar Romero, William Shatner, Brooke Shields, The Smothers Brothers, Suzanne Somers, David Steinberg, Barbra Streisand, Richard Thomas, Mel Tillis, Mel Torme, Forrest Tucker, Cicely Tyson, Karen Valentine, and Vivian Vance.

The Muppets[edit]

The Muppets appeared in several episodes and ended up co-hosting some episodes with Mike Douglas. Muppets that appeared include Kermit, the Boomtown Rats, Rowlf the Dog, the Two-Headed Muppet Monster, King Goshposh from the two Tinkerdee pilots, Rowlf's mother Tilly, Big V, Polly Cramer, Beautiful Day Monster, Dr. Teeth, Fozzie Bear, Swedish Chef, and Miss Piggy. Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Juhl, and Jerry Nelson appeared during the week of July 19, 1966.

  1. Episode Dated July 19, 1966Kermit and the monsters introduce the show. Rowlf the Dog sings with Mike Douglas and Carmel Quinn. Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Jerry Juhl play with the Southern Colonel. Kermit the Frog and Harry the Hipster show "The Art of Visual Thinking" (as seen in Sam and Friends). Carmel Quinn talks to Rowlf the Dog about Lassie. The "Sclrap Flyapp" act is shown. Carmel Quinn sings with Rowlf the Dog. The Mills Brothers sing to a sketch featuring Rowlf the Dog and Billy and Sue (performed by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl). Rowlf the Dog and Beautiful Day Monster play over the credits.
  1. Episode Dated July 20, 1966 – Mike Douglas and Rowlf the Dog introduce the show. The Two-Headed Muppet Monster (performed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz) sing "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" while Mike Douglas plays a mediator. Florence Henderson sings to Rowlf the Dog. Chef Bernardi (performed by Jim Henson with the hands done by Frank Oz) makes a sixty second salad flambé. Rowlf the Dog, Florence Henderson, and Charlie Manna introduce Mike Douglas. Mike Douglas, Jim Henson, and Jerry Juhl talk about Time Piece. Jim Henson identifies the Floating Face character to perform the Idea Man. A "Behind the Scenes" with the Idea Man. The Floating Face performs "I'm Nobody." Florence Henderson sings "My Funny Valentine" to Kermit. Rowlf and the Two-Headed Muppet Monster play over the credits.
  1. Episode Dated July 21, 1966Rowlf the Dog, Mike Douglas, and Marty Allen introduce the show. The Muppets perform a jazzy number with hands. Hermione Gingold sings "I Remember It Well" with King Goshposh playing King Louie (performed by Jim Henson). Marty Allen talks to Rowlf the Dog and a Snerf. Chatting with Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl about the story boards for Southern Bread. The showing of commercial reels with Wilkins Coffee, Claussen's Bakery, Federal Housing Administration, La Choy, and Aurora Bathroom Tissue. Tommy from the Kern's Bakery ad sings "Money." Rowlf the Dog plays charades with Freddie Garrity, Hermione Gingold, Marty Allen, and Mike Douglas. Hermione Gingold sings "Thank Heaven for Little Dogs" to Rowlf the Dog. The Ostrich Feathers sing "Good Lovin'." Freddie and the Dreamers sing with Marty Allen, Mike Douglas, and a Whatnot on backup. Tommy, Rowlf, a Whatnot, and an Ostrich Feather play over the credits.
  1. Episode Dated July 22, 1966Rowlf the Dog and Mike Douglas address Rowlf's mother Tilly (performed by Jerry Juhl) in the audience. Kermit and Big V perform the "Inchworm" sketch. Jerry Lester, Buddy Greco, Mike Douglas, and Rowlf the Dog sing through a request medley. A sketch with Polly Cramer of the Polly's Pointers column and Rowlf the Dog. Jerry Lester talks to a Muppet robot from the "Bell Data Communications Seminar." Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl chat with Mike Douglas. The Floating Face performs "Organizing the Brain." Mike Douglas sings "You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You" to Rowlf the Dog. Rowlf the Dog sings "You and I and George" to Donna McKechnie. The Muppet robot sings "Anything You Can Do." Rowlf the Dog, Beautiful Day Monster, Two-Headed Muppet Monster, and Yorick play over the credits.
  1. Episode Dated May 1968 – Part of Youth 68 is shown.
  1. Episode Dated February 5, 1975 – Kermit the Frog and Dr. Teeth perform.
  1. Episode Dated October 14, 1976Jim Henson promotes The Muppet Show which has started production and also shows some clips from the show. Dom DeLuise and Dr. Teeth sing "Tenderly."
  1. Episode Dated October 3, 1977 -
  1. Episode Dated October 24, 1977Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear sing with Victoria Mallory.
  1. Episode Dated October 31, 1977 – Dr. Teeth sings "Bein' Green." Kermit the Frog and Mike Douglas sing "Sing." A clip from The Muppet Show featuring the Swedish Chef making lobsters is shown.
  1. Episode Dated September 11, 1979Jim Henson and Frank Oz appear alongside Burt Reynolds and the Boomtown Rats. Mike Douglas and Miss Piggy sing 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off'. Jim, Frank, and the other Muppets add their two cents worth at Leeds Castle outside London.


Year Award Category Recipient Result
1967 Emmy Award Program and Individual Achievements in Daytime Programming – Individuals Mike Douglas Won
1977 Outstanding Individual Director for a Daytime Variety Program Don Roy King
(For episode "Mike in Hollywood with Ray Charles and Michel Legrand")
1978 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Daytime Programming David M. Clark
1981 Individual Achievement in Any Area of Creative Technical Crafts – Costume Designer Dayton Anderson
(For episode on February 9, 1981)


  1. ^ "The Mike Douglas Show, July 8, 1976". Retrieved 2012-03-16. 

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