1 9 5 8 – 1 9 8 7 (USA)
Television’s longest running talk show, both in length of time it was on the air and length of time each show aired for . . .
The show – hosted by former talent agent and Broadway and TV producer, David Susskind – was originally a New York-based local show called Open End.
It aired at 11 pm and remained on the air until the subject – or his fatigued guests – were exhausted. Sometimes the show lasted well over two hours.
Critics dubbed the show “Open Mouth” because it never seemed to come to an end.
Susskind’s guests were usually literate, well-spoken people and, more often than not, controversial. When Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited the United States in 1960, Susskind managed to book him as a special guest.
Khrushchev unashamedly used the opportunity to promote his nation’s communistic ideals and governmental policies and made Susskind visibly squirm with his relentless monologues.
Race relations, the draft, the controversial war in Vietnam, sex change operations, IQ testing, organised crime, et al were fair game on Susskind’s show.
In the early 1960s, the show was confined to a definite two hours, although the name remained Open End.
When The David Susskind Show went into national syndication it kept its basic format intact.
During Susskind’s last years on TV, his show was mainly seen on PBS stations, though many stations continued to air it in selected cities.
The show was known as The David Susskind Show until its New York outlet cancelled it in 1986, approximately six months before Susskind died.