I wish you a most fulfilling Dr. Martin Luther King Day. Do something for somebody. Give a hug, take time to call and see how someone is doing. Say "I love you." Give time and attention to someone down and. Help carry someone's packages. Buy a needy friend a burger and a cup o' good coffee. Write a check to UNICEF. Spend time with a lonely senior citizen. Go out and play with your kids. Treat people with the respect and kindness you'd like to receive. Be involved. There are many little things you can do on Dr. King Day that can have a big impact on someone's spirit. And yours.
Last summer, when audiences' hearts were moved while spending time with The Butler, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's March on Washington. I'm so glad my parents urged me to watch that special news telecast with them that August day when I was a youngster. They knew the significance and importance of Dr. King's march.
Chiz was on the Tonight Show production team when Dr. King was a guest. Back then, Johnny Carson's late show was based at 30 Rock in New York City. Years later, the show relocated to Los Angeles. Carson was on vacation and his guest host for the whole week was Harry Belafonte. This was major. An African-American entertainer was the guest host on a network late night entertainment talk show. This was a rare sight in 1968. OK, let's face it: It would be a rare sight now too. We've never seen a black host get a late night talk show gig on NBC, CBS or ABC. That's one reason why showing this archive footage in 2014 would be so relevant. On CNBC, Chiz told me that Harry Belafonte had a star-studded week of guests booked. He wanted to book Dr. King. NBC brass was nervous and opposed his wish to book Dr. King. Executives saw Dr. King, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, as a political radical and they did not want to loss sponsors. Belafonte held firm. He booked Dr. King. Not one single sponsor was lost.
This marked Dr. Martin Luther King's first and only appearance on a network late night entertainment talk show. Harry Belafonte booked him. Harry Belafonte was the guest host.
This was February 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in April 1968. NBC has something very special in its Tonight Show archives. Is the network aware of that? NBC could air it during Black History Month on the Today Show. Have Mr. Belafonte in studio as a guest. There's an idea.
Wish me luck. I'm taking the message of Dr. King's quote up top to heart. I'm on the road for a week, with a new and rejuvenated spirit, determined to get work again. I've got a lot more faith in things now than I did three years ago. I'll be starting over, in a way, with this job search. I'm taking a big chance, a giant step, on this trip. But I feel positive. And I've got enough to take in a new movie or two in my spare time. I'll let you know how they were when I get back. Take care.