Authors of note punctuate the gift of tapes by cable TV host Connie Martinson.
by Mindy Farabee | Times Staff Writer
Recently, TV host Connie Martinson queried Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on the urgent question of globalization and explored the Islamic faith with pundit-author Reza Aslan. But her favorite all-time guest — that might have to remain “Hello, Dolly” composer Jerry Herman, who taped his segment in her Coldwater Canyon living room, where he belted out his show tunes on her baby grand.
Soon, viewers everywhere will be able to relive such Martinson moments on demand, as the L.A.-based host has donated the archives of her long-running cable access program, “Connie Martinson Talks Books,” to the Claremont Graduate University. Included among the nearly 3,000 tapes Martinson has amassed since her show debuted in 1979 are exchanges with George Plimpton, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, Rosa Parks, Walter Mosley and Al Gore. She borrowed Charlie Rose’s studio to interview Michael Bloomberg, flew to Tulsa, Okla., to chat about James Joyce, and once got drunk on-air with a San Diego author who home brews 110-proof liquors. Known for her eye for up-and-comers, more than a decade ago she chatted up a young Chicagoan named Barack Obama about his memoir “Dreams From My Father.” Thus far, only John Updike has gotten away, though “he’s still alive,” Martinson is quick to note.