Saturday, August 12, 2006

Memories of Mike Douglas

Hear Mike sing from the album Mike Douglas Sings It All: Philadelphia

I can't say that I hadn't thought about Mike Douglas for a while; In fact, last weekend I had seen his album the "The Men in My Little Girl's Life" at an antique store with the ridiculous price tag of $4.00 on it. The owner of the booth must have thought that it had just the right kitsch quota for his all-in-one all-white plastic stereo 8-track/record player that he was selling for $350.00, because he had it propped up beside it. I remember thinking, "I haven't thought about Mike Douglas for a while, wonder what he is up to."

Hearing about his death made me sad just because, like Johnny Carson, he was so ingrained in my psyche as something that would just always be there. I mainly remember him from the 70's, 3:30 in the afternoon, Channel 5. It was such a stay at home Mom's show; Quiet, with a non-threatening man, who spoke softly to celebrities. If describing a memory of The Mike Douglas Show it would be colored by the setting of a winter sun; My memories of Mike Douglas all are about trying to do homework by the light of the black and white TV set.

My clearest memory of the Mike Douglas Show was one where the guests were Mason Reese, and Harry Chapin. For those who know remember Mason Reese, he was a five year old kid who acted like an pompous asshole adult. He was known for promoting Underwood Deviled Ham spread. Like Rodney Alan Rippey, he was another fixture of the variety/talk show scene for a while and then just 'poof' disappeared. (I shutter to think what's happened to the poor guy.) Well during this show Mason Reese came out of his 'I'm a grown-up in a child's body' character when Mike started to introduce Harry Chapin and his song "Cat's in the Cradle". Mason cried: "He's going to sing 'that cat' song. "I don't want to hear 'that cat' song!" He was hysterical, throwing a tantrum. Mike and Harry assured him that he was going to sing a different song and not 'that cat' song, trying to calm him down. Then they went to a commercial. When they got back from the break, Mike came back and said "Now here is Harry Chapin"... Who of course began to sing, "Cats in the Cradle". From off-stage you could hear Mason Reese screaming: "You lied to me, you lied to me!" Now that's great television!

Thanks Mike!

A Prayer for Mike

Some other Mike clips:
Mike Makes Judy sing Over the Rainbow
Mike talks with Frank Zappa, Jimmy JJ Walker and Kenny Rogers about music and drugs.


MusicOnTV said...

So well said, John. Mike was such a smart guy - he really had respect for his audience - and he was just so darn likable - even when the times were a changin' he stayed true to what he knew - and he created one helluva archive - someday maybe they'll show more of it.

Gary said...

In case any of you were wondering about lil' Mason Reese, MASON REESE (b. 1966) he was last seen transforming himself into a New York City nightclub empresario (1996-ish); appearing in future Rush Hour director Brett Ratner's student short, Whatever Happened to Mason Reese? (1990).

Mr Pussypants said...


Here's Aretha with Mike...remember the days you and I would watch this video clip in our little chateau by the lake? Ahhhh....memories


knee-jerk said...

VH1 makes extensive use of old clips from The Mike Douglas Show, and I suspect that Viacom probably now owns the archives. Given the cross-section of pop culture that Mike captured from the years 1961-1981, it would be a goldmine.

As I recall, Mike did a swingin' version of "The 59th Street Bridge Song" back in the day.

And MD's "The Men in My Little Girl's Life" alongside Oingo Boingo's "I Love Little Girls" and Gary Puckett's "Young Girl" -- soundtrack for pedophiles.

Vintage Bob said...

Is there any video of this? The only video I've been able to find shows a very different version of the event than what's described in this article.

Johnny C said...

The story about Mason Reese and this incident has since been talked about in other articles. You can read about it here:

I was going by a memory of the incident when I wrote this ten years ago and didn't have this information.