Sunday, January 25, 2015

R.I.P. Joe Franklin

Joe Franklin
Joe Franklin, the "King of Nostalgia" has died. He was 88.

Joe Franklin was the grandfather of late night talk shows. He was the host of the first ever Late Night Show. Even on radio, he hadn't missed one broadcast in over 60 years until this past Tuesday.

Joe Franklin interviewed over 300,000 people, including discovering celebrities like Al Pacino, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Woody Allen.

If you can name them, he interviewed them.

The Joe Franklin Show ran from 1951 until Aug. 6, 1993, which totaled to 21,425 shows.

Aside from his TV talk show, he was on radio, including on Bloomberg Radio the past few years. He also wrote 26 books.

Joe was a personal friend. He was a special person, but more so for my father.



My father grew up watching and listening to Joe Franklin, like millions of other Americans. My father showed me clips of Joe online years ago as he would reminisce about his childhood. He told me how he always wanted to be an actor but never had the opportunity, especially now married with children.

My father, Frank DiGiovanni
One day after work my father, Frank, was walking in Manhattan and passed by a restaurant called "Joe Franklin's Comedy Club". My father went inside and jokingly asked to speak to Joe. One of the waiters responded with Joe's office number.

My father called and eventually went to visit Joe at his office. My father and Joe hit it off.

My father would visit Joe during lunch breaks and even after work. Joe encouraged and helped my father get into the acting business while still working his day job.

My father soon introduced Joe to everyone in my family. Vito and I would frequent most often with my father anytime we were in Manhattan. We would go to lunch or dinner with him, help him run errands, and even answer phone calls.

I've worked in offices before and answering phones calls all day long isn't the most exciting thing, but at Joe's office, I shouldn't have been so surprised to hear that my father answered and spoke to Sylvester Stallone a few times!

My father would drive him home, and once I got my license, even I drove him home once!

The memories are fresh and gleeful.

Every time I would visit Joe he would tell me how wonderful my father is and how lucky I am to be his son. He would always tell me that I "have a face for radio." He always encouraged me to try radio. Finally, this past year, Vito and I started our own show and blog. We were honored to even have him call in once! We asked him who he thought would win in 2016 and he responded, "Alexander Hamilton."

Finally, after a few years of encouragement and help from Joe Franklin, last night my family saw my father star in his first movie premiere. The same day we lost Joe Franklin.