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?