Larry King

Back in 1988 I appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live! to debate the topic of Near Death Experiences (NDE’s). I was given the role of the skeptic. To me that meant I was there to offer explanations for this very real-feeling sensation that were neither paranormal nor religious. My goal was to “save” the experience rather than “debunk” it, offering a more scientifically sound way of describing the NDE.

The woman sharing the split-screen with me here is Barbara Harris-Whitfield. Considering how pointed my remarks were on that show, she was very forbearing and generous with me. Indeed, after our appearance on Larry King she asked producers of other shows to ask me on to be her debating foil. (We even travelled to Cincinnati to be on an early version of The Jerry Springer Show, which was not the gong-show it would become but which nonetheless sure did encourage ill manners.) Barbara showed me how to be somewhat kinder to others when I argued with them, and she taught me that lesson without embarrassing me. I think of her often, with gratitude.

A word about Larry King. Back in the eighties, the discussion on Larry King’s show could be a good deal more elevated than what people saw in his later years at CNN; there were fewer commercial interruptions as well. To me, though, King’s finest years as an interviewer came when he was on the radio at night in the seventies. He knew everything and everyone and the conversations could really spread out. His curiosity was unquenchable, and he alleviated the isolations of insomnia among his listeners. It seemed he never failed at that. RIP, Mr. King.

4 Comments»

  Suzanne wrote @

Look at you – all young and stern. :) You’ve experienced a few losses lately that I’ve meant to message you about. I have been thinking of you through all of this time and have been hoping you and yours are keeping well Bob.
(wow! You were famous on LK Live!)

  suzjb wrote @

Look at you – all young and stern. :) You’ve experienced a few losses lately that I’ve meant to message you about. I have been thinking of you through all of this time and have been hoping you and yours are keeping well Bob.
(wow! You were famous on LK Live long before you were my famous Prof.!)

  Robert Basil wrote @

Thank you, Suzanne! Sending good vibes your way and your children’s way, too!

  Phil Mott wrote @

I enjoyed driving in the middle of the night and listening to King in the late seventies and early eighties. I never warmed to his TV personality and the format so I stopped watching. It always made me wonder who else was up at 3AM listening to his interviews.


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