Saturday, November 20, 2010

"David Susskind: A Televised Life"

There is a brief interview in my book (conducted in 1984) with David Susskind.  During the 1949-1950 period Kay Kyser's TV show aired on NBC, Susskind was an agent and executive at the Music Corporation of America; he was also an assistant to M.C.A. senior executive (and noted agent) Sonny Werblin. M.C.A. was the agency that represented Kay Kyser, and Susskind was the agent for a number of the performers on Kay Kyser’s TV show (including my mother). 

Susskind, in 1984, remembered that he and Kay Kyser Show writers Eddie Lawrence and Bob Quigley picked contestants, from the audience of New York’s International Theatre, for future broadcasts of the TV show. Eddie Lawrence, who also performed in sketches on the Kay Kyser program, later became well-known (on television, and on records) for his comedy character “The Old Philosopher." Bob Quigley, who also appeared in sketches on Kay Kyser’s show, later achieved great success as a producer (with Merrill Heatter) of such game shows as The Hollywood Squares.

In later years, of course, David Susskind became a prominent television talk show host, and producer. A biography of Susskind—David Susskind: A Televised Life—was recently released.  The book is by Stephen Battaglio, and is published by St. Martin’s Press.