This documentary explores the long and diverse career of radio and television show host Joe Franklin. The program includes an interview with Franklin, interspersed with clips of his radio and television shows, and interviews with fans, media critics, and previous guests on his shows. The introduction describes Franklin's career, which spans over forty-three years and includes 300,000 interviews. Author Francine Schiff likens Franklin to a missionary who eases people through talk shows, and a Franklin fan named Sunny Zuch calls him clairvoyant. Franklin discusses his idols and his introduction to the radio business, followed by clips of his television interviews with Tony Curtis, Joey and Marky Ramone, Diane Cilentro, and Fran Lee "Mrs. Fix-It." Following these clips is an excerpt of a "Saturday Night Live" spoof of Franklin by Billy Crystal, and musical performances by "Weird Al" Yankovic and They Might Be Giants. Next, media critics/columnists Jon Fine and Marvin Kitman describe the qualities that give Franklin a lasting presence in broadcasting, and Franklin calls himself a rock of Gibraltar in a changing world. Kitman attributes part of Franklin's success to the wild mix of celebrities and random characters on his shows, illustrated by clips of his programs with guests ranging from Mrs. Babe Ruth to Bill Cosby, in addition to completely unknown performers. Franklin remarks on his approach to broadcasting and life in general, and the difference between working as a television and a radio personality. The program concludes with footage of his booksigning for "Up Late With Joe Franklin," which includes several fans' comments on the high esteem that audiences have for the talk show host.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 1998.


  • DATE: November 14, 1997 Friday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:49:25
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:47622
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Music, popular (songs, etc.)
  • SERIES RUN: WNET (New York, NY) - TV, 1997


    • Karina Gaige … Producer
    • Joshua Brown … Producer, Director
    • Norman Cohen … Co-Producer
    • Joe Franklin … Guest
    • Diane Cilentro
    • Bill Cosby
    • Billy Crystal
    • Tony Curtis
    • Jon Fine
    • Marvin Kitman
    • Fran Lee
    • Joey Ramone
    • Marky Ramone
    • Francine Schiff
    • They Might Be Giants (music group)
    • Yankovic, "Weird Al"
    • Sunny Zuch