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Art LinkletterScroll down to access recordings of notable SDSU alumni, or click the name of the individual.


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Image credit: Art Linkletter, University Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections & University Archives.

Art Linkletter Oral History:

Arthur Gordon Linkletter was born July 17, 1912, in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. He attended high school in San Diego, where he was a star basketball player and swimmer. He graduated when he was 15, and subsequently spent 3 years drifting from state to state taking various odd jobs. In 1930 he returned to California to attend San Diego State College. He participated in a wide number of extracurricular and athletic activities while at State, and graduated in 1934 with degrees in English and Psychology.

KGB, a local radio station, offered Linkletter a job as a radio announcer during his junior year at San Diego State. While there he met John Guedal, with whom he partnered to create two of radio's most memorable and popular productions — House Party and People Are Funny. In the early 1950s Art Linkletter adapted both House Party and People Are Funny to the small screen, thus embracing the new medium of television, while continuing to air the programs on the radio. House Party ran on CBS for 25 years, and People Are Funny aired on NBC for 19 years. These long-standing stints on radio and television gave Linkletter a trustworthy, easygoing, and honest image, which made him an ideal spokesman for a variety of consumer products including breakfast cereals, canned foods, tobacco, and even new neighborhoods in suburbs across America.

Throughout his career, Linkletter has also published over 26 books, as well as numerous articles, websites, and speeches on various subjects. He sat on the boards of directors for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Western Airlines, and Kaiser Hospitals, and was also very active in community outreach and diplomatic positions. Later in life, Linkletter owned and ran at least eight businesses. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 97.

Download the PDF transcript: Linkletter 2002 transcript, Part 1; Linkletter 2002 transcript, Part 2.

In this interview totaling approximately 1 hour and 28 minutes, Linkletter discusses his experiences working after high school and how he ended up at San Diego State. He describes some of his impressions of the Normal School campus and some of his instructors, as well as the many jobs he held as a student, including as a reader for professors Alvena Storm and Harry Steinmetz, and as a helper with the big campus move in 1931. Linkletter also discusses the musical he wrote for the Aztec Follies, which led to his first broadcasting job with local radio station KGB, as well as his work with the California Pacific Expo and the Dallas World's Fair in the 1930s. He also discloses a few surprising revelations about his time working with sailors and his true feelings about People Are Funny.

Interviewed by Lyn Olsson on audio cassette on 1/14/2002. (Note: Special Collections also houses the Art Linkletter Collection).

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Cleavon Little

Cleavon Little graduated from SDSU in 1965. While he was a student, he acted in several plays at San Diego State and the Old Globe Theater, including A Raisin in the Sun (1962), which was the Globe's first African-American production. After graduating, Little studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. He made his Broadway debut in Jimmie Shine. In 1970, he won a Tony Award for best actor in Broadway Musical Comedy for his role in Purlie Victorious. Besides Broadway, Little also acted in movies, such as Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Vanishing Point (1971), and Greased Lightning (1977). He is perhaps best known for his leading role as Sheriff Bart in Mel Brooks' movie Blazing Saddles (1975).

This episode of the radio program San Diego State Reports, broadcast on December 19, 1965, features the following Christmas-related segments:

  1. "How Come Christmas?" — a dramatic reading in which Cleavon Little acts out the voices of multiple characters.
  2. Henry van Dyke's "The Foolish Fir Tree" — literary reading by Cleavon Little.
  3. Frank Horne's "Kid Stuff" — literary reading by Cleavon Little.
  4. Announcer Jan Rotchstein reads the full text of the famous 1897 newspaper editorial, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

Total running time: 28 minutes and 15 seconds.

For photographs of Little, check the images section below.

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Andreas Brown:

Andreas Brown owned and operated the legendary Gotham Book Mart in New York City from 1967 till the shop's closing in 2007. During its lifetime, The Gotham was frequently considered the most important independent bookstore in America. Mr. Brown is still recognized across the country by book dealers, authors, and libraries as having been one of the foremost booksellers and literary estate consultants in the field of American literature. He had a close relationship with some of the world's leading writers, from Nobel Prize winners Saul Bellow and Samuel Beckett to contemporary writers such as John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth, Allen Ginsberg, J.D. Salinger, and Edward Gorey; as well as playwrights Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, and Lanford Wilson.

Mr. Brown graduated with honors from San Diego State University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. While at the university, he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and Pi Kappa Delta, the national honorary speech fraternity. After graduate studies at Stanford University, and serving in the United States Army, Mr. Brown returned to San Diego State to teach speech for three years. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from San Diego State University in 2005.

My Forty Years as a Book Collector (1/20/1990):

Download the PDF transcript: Brown 1/20/1990 transcript, Part 1; Brown 1/20/1990 transcript, Part 2.

In this talk given to the Friends of the SDSU Library in 1990, Andreas Brown discusses his childhood bibliophilia, and the history of the Gotham Book Mart, particularly its legendary founder Frances Steloff. In part 2, Brown answers assorted questions from the audience, including what he studied at San Diego State and his experiences with famous customer Jackie Onassis. (Introduction given by Chuck Valverde, then owner of Wahrenbrock's Book House.)

Note: the original analog tape was recorded at many varying incorrect speeds, which were digitally corrected.

For photographs of Brown, check the images below.

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