Kids told him the darndest things
May 26, 2010 1:25 PM   Subscribe

He was abandoned on a door step in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1912. He hosted House Party and People are Funny on radio and TV. A segment became the hugely popular Kids Say the Darndest Things. He co-hosted the opening of Disneyland (with Ronald Reagan). His daughter Diane killed herself by jumping from a window; he blamed LSD and became an outspoken anti-drug crusader. Art Linkletter has died at the age of 97.
posted by evilcolonel (59 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 


It's interesting (and I did not know until today) that no LSD was found in the toxicology tests on his daughter. Back then, it was always a given that she was on acid.
posted by Danf at 1:33 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


He was still alive? For most of my adult life, I had assumed he was a zillion years old and had died some time since the last time I'd heard of him. Some respect for the guy tonight; a mixed bag as a moral crusader but as an entertainer he should be remembered well.
posted by ardgedee at 1:35 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sad to say, I am of an age to have actually watched House Party. My mom liked to watch it. Another little chip of childhood gone. Oh well...
posted by Thorzdad at 1:36 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, it says no LSD was found in her system "at the time of her death" - correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't LSD completely metabolized in a few hours or less? The effects last much longer, obviously, but no trace is left in the body. I thought that's why it's never tested for on most drug tests (you might get tested for it for, like, a military security clearance, but not a normal employment whiz quiz).
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:37 PM on May 26, 2010


no LSD was found in the toxicology tests on his daughter.

As I recall, the claim was always that she must have been having flashbacks.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:38 PM on May 26, 2010


he blamed LSD and became an outspoken anti-drug crusader.

Credit where it's due. Art came out swinging against drugs when his daughter died but over time (and in thoughtful response to fresh information), he mellowed and evolved more of a harm reduction position.

My source for this info is a book of his written some years after the fact. Unfortunately, it's currently in storage in another town so I can't come up with any direct quotes.
posted by philip-random at 1:38 PM on May 26, 2010


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posted by strixus at 1:39 PM on May 26, 2010


Damn. I thought he had died years ago. He was only 97? I would have thought he was 197 by now.

Seriously though: .
posted by Xoebe at 1:39 PM on May 26, 2010


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posted by mosk at 1:40 PM on May 26, 2010


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posted by oonh at 1:42 PM on May 26, 2010


Kids take the darndest things.
posted by Ch33ky at 1:45 PM on May 26, 2010


He was abandoned on a door step in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan...

He ended up with the perfect name for a TV pitchman, too. One wonders what line of work he'd have gone into if he'd been left on the doorstep of, say, the Kleinschmidts.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:46 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, it says no LSD was found in her system "at the time of her death" - correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't LSD completely metabolized in a few hours or less? The effects last much longer, obviously, but no trace is left in the body.
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As I recall, the claim was always that she must have been having flashbacks.

The claims by the family were generally made to cover for the fact that the eyewitness account of her death rather clearly stated that it was a straight up sober suicide, which had rather severe stigmas surrounding it at the time (not that there isn't now).
posted by FatherDagon at 1:48 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by jgaiser at 1:49 PM on May 26, 2010


He came to my college and gave a presentation entitled "God and The Pill." Immensely boring and ironic at the same time.
posted by Xurando at 1:50 PM on May 26, 2010


Yes, but was Mr. Linkletter on LSD when he died? That's the question that needs answered here.
posted by dortmunder at 1:52 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think we still have Jack LaLanne, though!

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posted by Madamina at 1:55 PM on May 26, 2010


LSD is effective at concentrations that you are not going to find by any standard tox screen. According to data (mostly from when it was easier to study in the sixties), a standard dose of about 2 micrograms per kilogram, you will get a peak plasma level of 5 ng/mL and less than 1 ng/mL at 8 hours. In other words, unless you perform some really good analyses (not generally available when his daughter died) you would not find it.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:04 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Watched his show as a kid, but I thought he was dead, too.
posted by fixedgear at 2:08 PM on May 26, 2010


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Wonderful moments from KSTDT. Best one is at 1:40.
posted by AirBeagle at 2:11 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


craftmatic.
posted by Hammond Rye at 2:11 PM on May 26, 2010


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posted by bjgeiger at 2:12 PM on May 26, 2010


All I know about the guy is that he didn't make a decent movie after Dazed & Confused.
posted by item at 2:14 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by DaddyNewt at 2:14 PM on May 26, 2010


Hey, just wanted to say, this is how you do obitfilter. Well done.
posted by davejay at 2:17 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think anyone has done a show featuring interviews with kids better than Art did..he was a master at interviewing the little ones...

And, you know, if you don't have something intelligent to say in an obit thread, consider staying the hell out...
posted by HuronBob at 2:19 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most of the American under-35-over-25 crowd may remember him from their younger days as the guy who endorsed Craftmatic adjustable chairs and beds on TV.

I was pretty ad-savvy as a kid, and rarely bought into the "OHMYGODITSONTVANDIWANTIT" commercials, and as a 10 year old I was nowhere near the target audience, (and what's a kid going to do with a $5000 bed? Make the best trampoline ever?) a moving robot-transforming bed seemed pretty cool. And hey, FREE TV! I mean, you could have a robot bed that's terrible, but hey, a FREE TV! C'mon, who wouldn't want a FREE TV! Who cares if you're dropping $5000 for a chair and a 13" TV. Its FREE! FREE TV!!!!

Those ads got Craftmatic into trouble, and I think Mr. Linkletter wasn't a spokesman after that, if I remember correctly.
posted by chambers at 2:20 PM on May 26, 2010


some children were lucky enough to have Art teach them all about sperm.

"WHERE DID YOU COME FROM" by Art Linkletter
posted by Hammond Rye at 2:25 PM on May 26, 2010


Here's a pic of him from as recently as last year. I too thought he was already dead. And some of the clips from his TV shows are so saccharine, it's hard to believe people ever thought and acted that way. How the world has changed so profoundly since then.
posted by crunchland at 2:30 PM on May 26, 2010


You can tell that Art is so frustrated in the YouTube video by the poor job the interviewer is doing that Art wants to take over and ask himself the questions and answer them too. Right after he gives the dullard a good smack on the head.
posted by digsrus at 2:30 PM on May 26, 2010




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posted by yiftach at 2:43 PM on May 26, 2010




Linkletter put out a spoken word album in which he included the voice of his daughter.

He even confronted Tim Leary about his daughter's death shortly before Leary died.
posted by Tube at 2:55 PM on May 26, 2010


Kids Do The Darndest Drugs.
posted by sourwookie at 2:59 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some interesting factoids about Diane Linkletter's death and also her dad Art. I had an "Art Linkletter's House Party Board Game" as a kid, and I vaguely remember watching the TV show of the same name. But my major memory of Art is him doing various commercials and my Mom and Dad griping "That Art Linkletter will shill for any company who'll pay him."
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:07 PM on May 26, 2010


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posted by Gridlock Joe at 3:08 PM on May 26, 2010


A personal favorite of mine even in the days when I was one of those kids.

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posted by tommasz at 3:09 PM on May 26, 2010


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posted by disclaimer at 3:11 PM on May 26, 2010


i clicked on one of those yootoob links and this popped up in the sidebar -- a very unfunny 1979 interview with Timothy Leary that includes an uncomfortable phone conversation with Art Linklater
posted by Hammond Rye at 3:17 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hammond Rye, OUCH. That's brutal. I had to disconnect but will probably check it out again later when I'm a little less ... sensitive.

Seriously, that's a raw, ugly piece of history, worth its own FPP probably. Two aging men arguing as to who's responsible for the death of a then young girl.

I blame society.
posted by philip-random at 3:52 PM on May 26, 2010


Credit where it's due. Art came out swinging against drugs when his daughter died but over time (and in thoughtful response to fresh information), he mellowed and evolved more of a harm reduction position.

The name of Loinkletter's anti-drug book was Drugs At My Door Step.

Drugs at My Door Step relates the anguish of a personal tragedy and one man's tortured search for answers to the drug culture. His investigations which began as a crusade of vengeance led on through the attractive part-solutions of law enforcement, legislation, treatment, rehabilitation, and education. He arrived at only one meaningful conclusion: Drug abuse is a people problem, as unique and varied as the individuals involved.
posted by philip-random at 4:06 PM on May 26, 2010


oh. my. god. i just spent the entire time i was fixing dinner composing my message for this thread. except the tribute i was composing was for lawrence welk, not art linkletter. apparently my mind works the way i've always thought either or both of their minds work--a snail's pace slowed by all the cobwebs in that ancient gray matter. is this what i have to look forward to?

and i did that *after* i read the other comments. i was sufficiently moved by hammond rye's post that i called the 800 # from the youtube video, even though i know those chairs are long defunct. i can tell you that unless that 800 line goes straight to art, it's apparently been retired since it just rings & rings & rings.

i'm, uh, going to go clean up the kitchen now.
posted by msconduct at 4:38 PM on May 26, 2010


and art, you always seemed like a stand-up guy. loved that kids say the darnest things thing. really.

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posted by msconduct at 4:39 PM on May 26, 2010


Art Linketter not only hosted Disneyland's opening day but came back and spoke at their 50th Anniversary five years ago -- on his 93rd Birthday! "I'm not only happy to be here, I'm happy to be anywhere."

Here's a video.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:56 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


'
I remember watching the show as a child. It was funny for a kid.
posted by Drasher at 4:56 PM on May 26, 2010


Art Linkletter Memory #1: in 1970 I received the Milton Bradley game Life, which had a small photo of Art on it, next to the blurb: "I heartily recommend this game!". Seeing this, I knew at that very moment I would never play that game. And I didn't. Still haven't. Probably never will.

Art Linkletter Memory #2: At Grandma & Grandpa's one morning (I was home from school, sick) probably around 1965-1966, watching the Kids Say The Darndest Things segment on House Party; Art brought out a kid about 4-5 years old and asked him if he had done anything embarrassing lately. The kid says, "Yeah. When I was walking out here to shake your hand, I farted." Art had an idiotic grin pasted on his face for the longest time (but was probably only a few seconds), and I missed the rest because I was laughing so hard.

So long, Art...hope it's everything you expected it to be!
posted by motown missile at 7:11 PM on May 26, 2010


Okay, I'm not the only one who thought he died, um, not recently.

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posted by futureisunwritten at 7:22 PM on May 26, 2010


Art Linkletter Memory #1: in 1970 I received the Milton Bradley game Life, which had a small photo of Art on it, next to the blurb: "I heartily recommend this game!". Seeing this, I knew at that very moment I would never play that game. And I didn't. Still haven't. Probably never will.

We had version of Life, too! His face was on the play money. It was kinda weird.
posted by Spatch at 10:41 PM on May 26, 2010


My grandparents used to watch House Party all the time. They've been gone 16 years or so, and I'm surprised that Art was younger than my grandparents. I only remember the Kids Say segment, but I remember it more as being annoying.

I was quite young at the time. For some reason, the stools he had the kids sit upon struck me as weird. Sometimes I was jealous of the 'gifts' the kids got, other times I remember thinking it was really stupid. But the show made me uncomfortable. Of course, it could have been simply that my grandparents were paying too much attention to the tube. Not unlikely. In general, there was only one place in the world better than my grandparent's living room, and that was their kitchen! :-))
posted by Goofyy at 12:19 AM on May 27, 2010


I just cried when I saw the clip where Bill Cosby had Linketter on and told him all the people in the audience had been kids he'd had on his show.
posted by anniecat at 8:50 AM on May 27, 2010


LSD is effective at concentrations that you are not going to find by any standard tox screen.

And LSD is incredibly ineffective when none has been ingested, and it's just being used as a screen to cover someone's grief over the suicide of their daughter. There's no evidence that she had EVER taken LSD, there's eyewitness evidence that she wasn't on it that night, and there's a strong motive for the brother (who's story changed several times) to provide a cover for the events he wasn't able to stop. All the accounts of her drug use sprang from Robert's claim that she was on it that night - after it was shown from several angles to be very unlikely, the story was changed to 'she was flashing back from a trip she took months ago', which is also fairly unlikely and contrasts with the testimony given by the person who actually DID show up when she called in distress.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:38 AM on May 27, 2010


I did more than my share of LSD back in my day, got VERY HIGH a few times, but have still yet to have what I'd call a flashback (ie: a sudden recurrence of LSD-like distortions incurring into my everyday life). But I did have one particular trip that really did shake, rattle and roll my psyche to the extent that I spent a good year of my early 20s not so much disoriented as in serious pain (the existential kind).

Did LSD cause this?

I don't think so. What caused it was a collision between my illusions of what adulthood would be, versus the reality. That said, LSD definitely sharpened this reality and thrust it forward, kind of like the ole Buddhist slap in the face.

The sad thing for me about Diane Linkletter (and all the other "acid victims" of her era) is that they did not get the right kind of help and care when they needed it. Their parents, and the powers-that-be that their parents all too blindly rallied around, were more interested in naming and blaming an easy villain than they were in working through a complex and essential human problem. And, needless to say, this stupid shit is still going on today.

Here's hoping that the Art Linkletter "drug story" we eventually tell is not "LSD KILLED MY DAUGHTER" but the slow journey he took from that rage and confusion to the sadder, wiser, more humane conclusions outlined in his book.

He arrived at only one meaningful conclusion: Drug abuse is a people problem, as unique and varied as the individuals involved.
posted by philip-random at 10:24 AM on May 27, 2010


"Practically every one of the Top 40 records being played on every radio station
in the United States, is a communication to the children--to take a trip, to
drop out, to groove....The psychedelic jackets on the record albums have their
own hidden symbols and messages as well as all the lyrics of all the top rock
songs, and they all sing the same refrain: "It's fun to take take a trip--put acid in your veins."

posted by stannate at 2:08 PM on May 27, 2010


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posted by Mental Wimp at 2:39 PM on May 27, 2010


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posted by lapolla at 4:36 PM on May 27, 2010




I was just reminded that Art Linkletter went to SDSU. Profile from the Winter 2002 issue of SDSU Magazine.
posted by yiftach at 1:59 PM on June 2, 2010


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