The Reunion: Oprah and Letterman

John T Jones, Ph.D.

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It was a glorious reunion!

After almost 16 years the multi-generous Oprah Winfrey walked onto the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City into the arms of a grateful David Letterman and brought the audience to their feet in the most exciting and disserved welcome in the history of television.

People lined the streets outside the theater wishing with all their hearts that they were inside with the others. It was the biggest event since the Beatles walked onto the same stage in 1964.

In digression, when the Beatles hit New York, the fun began. When asked by a reporter if they were a fad, John Lennon said, “Anything in this business is a fad. We don’t think we are going to last forever. We’re just going to have a good time while it last. ”

The Beatles were a fad, then a cult, and are now part of our heritage. They could have disappeared, but everyone liked the Beatles and wanted to keep them around forever.

Look at the popularity of Paul McCartney.

No one will ever forget Oprah either.

Oprah, a product of humble roots, like many of us, has become what computer nerds call an icon.

She has become bigger than life itself.

It’s because she cares about people, wants to help them, and has stayed true to her roots. That is what Letterman knows and that is what he wanted to show during his insightful interview.

Oprah said several times that she was surprised at the seriousness of David Letterman’s interview. Those of us in Idaho, that click off the Leno show after the first half-hour to move to the Letterman show, know that David is always serious when he is talking to an intelligent human being.

I’ve seen only one guest personality on the Letterman show that Dave could not interview. That was Paris Hilton who appeared to be a brainless twit who could not answer the simplest question.

For Paris I’ll say, a lot of us are brainless twits when young. Even President Bush has some lapses in his shallow pond of wisdom, but he seems to be improving as he serves us in Washington. Unfortunately I’m the only one who has noticed this-according to the polls.

Dave dug back into Oprah’s childhood allowing her to tell her version of her traditions.

One was that when a teenage child she broke her glasses, claimed she was robbed in her home, and ended up in the hospital with “amnesia. ”

Her mother found her at the hospital, dismissed the doctor, and told her to get her “black” behind out of that bed and back home where she belonged.

Oprah didn’t like the hideous glasses and to break them was the only way she could get a different pair. She didn’t dare break them herself because her mother would know she did it on purpose. That’s why she concocted and acted out the robbery story.

As her mother got more upset, Oprah’s memory came swiftly back.

Another story was about when her mother told her there would be no Christmas because she had no money to buy presents. Oprah, who was twelve, but still believed in Santa Clause, was stunned that Santa would not come if you had no money.

Christmas Eve, nuns brought food and gifts and saved the day.

Oprah said that she has never forgotten those kind nuns.

Many of us have a story like that.

My dad was out of work for two years during the Great Depression.

I remember being told that there was no money for presents only to have church members show up on Christmas Eve with food and presents for my folks and us seven children. That was a lot better than the “stick of wood and lump of coal" by brothers and sisters said I was going to get!

Dave asked about Oprah’s early career.

Oprah moved to live with her father in Memphis when she was 16 years old. Her career took hold and she said that she had been on television since she was nineteen.

Being young and black made her career more difficult. She told how she would not change her name (or her standards) to please television executives.

Letterman said that Oprah’s only failure was giving us Dr. Phil.

I’ll have to agree on that. Tactics that are sometimes required by therapist in private should never be used in public. It just leads to horrible intimidation and humiliation.

Dave asked her about her relief efforts in Africa, emphasizing the AIDS Pandemic.

Several times Oprah said that every person has to decide what he can do to help our society and then do it.

She is building a school to take African girls out of the small towns to teach them to become Africa’s future leaders.

She said that she has a foundation and that the emphasis is always education.

She said that education is the key to freedom.

Dave walked Oprah out of the theater hand-in-hand to the theater across the street where her new production, The Color of Purple, was having its debut.

The people in the streets went crazy as Oprah and Dave greeted them as personally as possible under such circumstances.

It was marvelous!

During the interview, Oprah said that there never was a feud between her and David Letterman.

Dave told of the gift of books that Oprah sent to him on the birth of his son two years ago. The two-year-old loves the books and Dave often reads them to his son.

There’s no business like show business!

John T. Jones, Ph. D. ( a retired R&D engineer and VP of a Fortune 500 company. He is author of detective & western novels, nonfiction (business, scientific, engineering), poetry, etc. Former editor of international trade magazine. Jones is Executive Representative of International Wealth Success.

More info:

Business web site: (IWS wealth-success books and kits and business newsletters / TopFlight flagpoles)


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