Writer talk

I paid a visit to the Paley Center for Media recently to watch a Seventies-vintage broadcast of The Dick Cavett Show, and I was struck by how much spontaneity and surprise — how much sheer interest — went down the drain as late-night talk shows hardened into the rigidly choreographed showbiz showcases we now get.

Cavett is now a blogger at the Gray Lady, which kindly allowed him to post the entire clip of his 1981 chat with two of the heaviest hitters in mid-20th century American lit. It’s pretty amazing to think of a network talk show nowadays devoting an evening to one writer, let alone two.

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