“Ladies and gentlemen, New York TV great Joe Franklin has signed off,” reports the New York Post, adding, “Franklin, 88, who TV historians say was the first-ever talk show host, died Saturday night, Jan. 24, 2015 of natural causes, said Richie Ornstein, his producer and co-host.”
The story says “Franklin’s show first aired in 1950 on WJZ, the forerunner of WABC/Channel 7. In 1962, the show moved to WOR-TV, the forerunner of WWOR. ‘The Joe Franklin Show’ aired on WWOR until 1993, when Franklin quit to begin a second career as a restaurateur and pursue some other ideas for TV shows.
The Post also noted, “Franklin was still interviewing celebrities for Bloomberg Radio earlier this month. He also wrote 26 books.”
Says the obit by David Hinckley in the New York Daily News, “Like the demolition of Ebbets Field or Penn Station, Joe Franklin’s death Saturday took a little piece of New York with it.
“Franklin, who was 88 and reportedly died of prostate cancer, wasn’t just a link to New York’s entertainment history. He was the spirit of the New York streets, the hard-working hustler who made it to the big time because it never occurred to him that he wouldn’t or couldn’t.”
James Barron of The New York Times writes that Franklin “bcame a New York institution by presiding over one of the most compellingly low-rent television programs in history, one that even he acknowledged was an oddly long-running parade of has-beens and yet-to-bes interrupted from time to time by surprisingly famous guests.”
Here’s a typical “Joe Franklin Show” that we found on YouTube: