Dick Cavett Shares his Thoughts about Show Guest Salvador Dali


By Paul Chimera

Salvador Dali Historian/Writer


For years – decades, actually – I waited with deepening frustration for the opportunity to one day see the video clip of Salvador Dali – and his pet anteater – when the famous artist was a guest on the old Dick Cavett Show.


When the clip finally surfaced on the internet, only about year ago or so, I was thrilled – and the clip didn’t disappoint. Predictably, Mr. Cavett seemed perplexed during his interview with Dali, resorting to some glib remarks in the absence of any true understanding of Dali’s concepts, ideas, and admittedly hard to understand English. Take a look:


Having seen the long-awaited video clip, I’d then wondered if I would ever get to hear what Cavett had to say about that 1970s appearance of the world’s greatest exponent of Surrealism on his show. And then, just this past week, an MSNBC clip surfaced on the Web. It was a televised interview with an elderly but still quick-witted Dick Cavett, on a segment called The Beat, hosted by Ari Melber.


Melber introduced several memorable guest appearances from Cavett’s former show. Including “Salvador Dali marching an anteater around your set, in one of the most delightful late-night scenes, I’m going to say ever,” Melber said, “take a look…” (cut & paste the URL below to view the clip. A segment runs before the Dali discussion begins):




After throwing the camera to a clip showing Dali tossing his ant eater, trying to explain how the animal’s tongue was related to the structure of DNA; and delighting in pronouncing the word “butterfly” as “booterflyeeeeee!”


The Beat host asked Cavett, “What can we learn from Salvador Dali? Said Cavett: “That you can go on – even if you’re insane!” Melber laughed, then went on to other memorable guest appearances.


Once again, the ingenious Dali used the media to continue to ensure that his name was a household word. As Dali’s first secretary, Capt. Peter Moore, once divulged, what drove Dali more than anything else was one thing: fame.


[All images gratefully used under Fair Use provisions for journalistic purposes]



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