Matthews honors King, the ‘everyman of talk’

Updated

Let me finish tonight with a gentleman of immense curiosity. 

That’s I guess - you can only guess about these things - the secret to Mr. Larry King.  How else to explain the success, the popularity, the durability - of this phenom?  

He’s done interviews on radio and this medium for more than a half century - 50,000 of them.  All in that rich, smokey, New Yooohk accent that somehow appeals to everyone. 

My late grandmother-in-law, a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution would go to bed at night - with her husband next to her - but Larry King in her earphones. There she would perch into the night listening to this liberal big-city Democrat interview some character from somewhere, famous or not, as if for the personal benefit of this flinty conservative lady from Colorado.

“So do you watch yeh-self in the movies? How about the nude scenes, they a problem for you?” 

Talk about getting to the common denominator. This guy was born at it and never strayed.  He knows what the guy on the corner back in Brooklyn would like to know, the retiree sitting on the park bench on Miami will remember the next day when he sits kibitzing with his pals.

“Dja hear what Robert DiNiro told Larry last night?”  “Dja hear what that young good lookin’ singer - you know the one - said about Obama? She was on King last night.  Didn’t you see heh?”

Anyway it’s a talent.

What Larry knows is that knowing the right question to ask isn’t exactly a secret.  It’s knowing - because you never stopped being one of them - what the guy or woman out there listening would like to ask - if they had the chutzpah to ask it.

Larry once said his secret is that when he worries about asking a question, that’s the question he asks.  How’s that for a winning formula: When in Doubt Leave it “IN!!!”

I love the old movie moguls with cigars who made those great films of the 1930s and ’40s. They knew what stories would work, what stars would work because they never forgot that movies are about making dreams; if those stories and those stars worked for these guys of little formal education, they knew, in their guts, they would fill the theaters.

Larry King is like that. That’s his talent. That’s his career. That will someday be his legacy. He asks the right question because he, the everyman of talk, wants to know the answer.

Matthews honors King, the 'everyman of talk'

Updated