Thursday, April 2, 2009

Meeting of the minds

If you are of a certain age, you might remember a wonderful show from the late 70s called Meeting of the Minds. It was created by the extremely talented Steve Allen, who was also the originator of The Tonight show. Personal opinion: the guy was amazing.

Cited by one critic as “the ultimate talk show”, the premise of the PBS program was interviewing historic figures, typically with Allen hosting in a round table format. Guests included the likes of Plato, Thomas Jefferson, Marie Antoinette, Charles Darwin, Cleopatra, Karl Marx – obviously with actors portraying them.

Allen would research the heck out of each “guest” and create dialog based on factual historic information, using exact quotes when possible. I think the concept was genius and it just blows my mind how he would pull such diverse characters together and make all this history/dialog not only work, but be extremely relevant.

So that got me to thinking, if I could host a dinner party with anyone, living or not, who would I invite. Here’s my guest list. Black tie optional.

St. Francis of Assisi: With my love of animals, this is a no brainer. He’s also the patron saint of the environment and Italy making him a triple threat. He championed the poor, creatures great/small and nature, so in today’s sad state of affairs, I think he would speak well to the current ills of the world.

Golda Meir: She brings political experience from a woman’s perspective. Known to be strong-willed and straight talking, I believe she would be a smart, informed dinner guest.

Joseph Campbell: His philosophy is often summarized by the phrase coined by him, "Follow your bliss". A background in studying the human experience makes him a great addition for the social chemistry. I think his intelligent curiosity would keep conversation flowing.

Mary Magdalene: She is one of the most complicated biblical women and historians vary greatly in their writings of her life. I’d like to get the real story. Plus I wanted someone from the life of Christ but I think Jesus himself would be too distracting.

That’s a serious group. I think I need to lighten it up a bit. So…

Dorothy Parker: The mix definitely needs some spunk and Dorothy is a good old broad, in the best sense of the word. She’d probably try to bed St. Francis, but the rejection would lead to a fun story. Her language would color the evening.

Stephen Colbert: I wanted a contemporary figure and his probing sense of humor would also shake things up. Can you see him interviewing Mary M! Plus, I have a crush on him so it’s self serving.

There are so many compelling choices and I probably have room for one or two more guests. Any suggestions? Or maybe you have put together a party of your own. Don’t make me guess…whose coming to dinner?


sallymandy said...

Well, I want to come to your dinner party!

Let's see, who would I invite? Probably Abraham Lincoln, Mary Queen of Scots, Charlotte Bronte...but that's a pretty depressing bunch. How about Andy Warhol to liven it up?

How funny. It's late, and that list could just be trouble!

This is a fun question...!

Lola said...

What an excellent post!!! This is fun... let's see, I wonder if there'd be room at your dinner table for Mahatma Gandhi (he wouldn't eat much anyway), Joan of Arc and perhaps Charles Dickens. Imagine the stress management in the kitchen?

Pyzahn said...

Sal & Lola: Thanks for coming to my party. I think I must get a bigger table cause there were several people on your lists that I almost included. Had not thought of Mary Queen of Scots but she would be very interesting. And Lola, how funny, you're correct...Gandhi would not eat a lot. Always room for him!

Regarding kitchen stress, after the post I was thinking I should have invited Julia Child to attend and help out in the kitchen. Did you know before cooking, she was a spy? More interesting table talk.


Anonymous said...

Wow you have a great list! I especially like Mary Magdalene.

I, too, want to know the truth about that woman.

And Stephen Colbert? He is funny!

I would want to invite Benjamin Franklin, Jane Austen, Mary Magdalene, Joseph Smith, Adam and Eve.

Great post Pyzahn!

Prairie Girl said...

I adore Stephen Colbert. He would be on my list too.

Drowsey Monkey said...

I'd love to come to this party too!

This is very interesting, because whenever I'm asked this question, or something like it, I always include Mary Magdalene. And you're the only other person I've ever heard say her as well. Very interesting!

Kathleen said...

I love this idea! I love this post! Sometime I've got write about the weirdest connections I have with Saint Francis. I don't think he'd eat very much either. And Mary Magdalene--that's brilliant. If invited and allowed to bring a guest, I'd see if Ella Fitzgerald could join. Can't have a party without music! Thanks for your fascinating, delightful post.

Pyzahn said...

Oh, Adam and Eve. That would be interesting. But the snake is not welcome and they'd have to wear clothes.

And Ella! I was trying to come up with someone musical. She'd be great..."a tisket, a tasket,...."

Blueberry said...

Robin Williams would be a good choice to lighten things up too.

SpookyRach said...

Loved this! Can I come and sit by Dorothy Parker?