Joe Franklin (March 9, 1926–January 24, 2015) was a radio and television personality from New York City who hosted the first television talk show. The show began in 1950 on WJZ-TV (later WABC-TV) and moved to WOR-TV (later WWOR-TV) from 1962 to 1993.
Known as the "King of Nostalgia," Franklin's highly-rated show focused on old-time show business personalities. Franklin would delight his audience with trivia about the most obscure entertainers from out of the past, and equally unknown up-and-comers from the present. His guests ranged from novelty performers (Tiny Tim, another person obsessed with entertainment of the past, was a frequent guest) to popular mainstream show business icons like Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, and Bing Crosby among many others. This show was often parodied by Billy Crystal during the 1984–1985 season of Saturday Night Live.
After retiring from the TV show, Franklin concentrated on an all-night night radio show, playing old records on WOR-AM on Saturday evenings and later interviewing a number of celebrities on the Bloomberg Radio Network.
Franklin interviewed over 100,000 guests during his 43-year TV run. These included five U.S. Presidents, and screen legends such as Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, and Cary Grant.
An author, Franklin has written 23 books. He also starred as himself in countless films, most notably the original Ghostbusters and Broadway Danny Rose.