The Joey Bishop Show

Neil was on the Joey Bishop Show on October 1, 1969. This was a Wednesday night, and I was still in high school, so I had to be on my best behavior to be allowed to stay up and watch it. Oh, if they only had VCRs back then! Not only would many fans have been able to save these shows for posterity, but the presence of one in our house would have prevented several bedtime arguments between my parents and me. The Oct. 4, 1968, appearance was on a Friday, so there was no problem with my staying up late. When he appeared on another late night show hosted by Dick Cavett on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 1970, I was out of high school and attending computer school. Because I was 18 by then and because computer school was not seen by my parents as being as academically demanding as my high school studies, I was also able to stay up and see that show.

On this show, Neil sang “Sweet Caroline” and was backed up by Randy Sterling on bass, Eddie Rubin on drums, and Carol Hunter on guitar. Neil made what I would have considered to have been sexist remarks about Carol Hunter if I had been through consciousness-raising at the time. He called her a “chick” (a feminist no-no) and said that she was the softest member of the group, which he said he knew to be true based on the times the four of them had to squeeze into the back of a cab. I probably shouldn’t have repeated this, but unfortunately, this stuff sticks out in my memory.

He wore the same shirt he was to wear on the cover of his next album, “Touching You, Touching Me”. This was the first time I saw Neil on TV after my father finally broke down and bought us a color TV.

One disappointment I had connected with this appearance is that Neil and Joey did not talk about Neil’s music and career, only about his anti-drug work. But I told myself at the time that Neil probably wanted it this way, that he wanted to go on TV and discuss this subject. Eighteen years later, I read in the “Solitary Star” book that Neil wanted to discuss his music and had specifically told Joey’s people that he did not want to discuss the anti-drug stuff. But as soon as he sat down after singing his number, Joey asked him what he thought about drugs, and Neil had to go through that whole interview. (The “Solitary Star” account was based on an interview by the author with Randy Sterling.)

Yom Kippur was on September 22 in 1969, so that may explain why Neil did not show up on Joey Bishop’s show that night as scheduled. Since Joey himself is Jewish, there was probably a substitute host. Under 1968, I’ve just posted a message on no-shows and mentioned that I thought there were two Joey Bishop no-shows for Neil. One was definitely on March 19, 1968, and I mentioned it in that posting. The other one may have been the one on Sept. 22, 1969. Incidentally, although the Yom Kippur holiday ended at sundown on the 22nd, and the show was seen late at night, I believe it was taped earlier in the day.

— Regina Litman