getTV celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with one of THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW’s most important episodes on Monday, January 16, at 8 p.m. ET, as civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr. joins the talk show icon for a powerful discussion that still rings true today, addressing the victories of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as his views on riots, race relations, and the Vietnam War.
The rarely seen extended sit-down, which originally aired on June 6, 1967, was one of Dr. King’s first appearances on an entertainment-based talk show. He was initially there to promote the release of his fifth book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, appearing alongside close friend and fellow Civil Rights activist Harry Belafonte, who reveals early in the episode that Dr. King – while a fan of the show – had some concerns about appearing on this type of program. (Note: getTV’s THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW episodes air regularly in its new time slot of Sunday nights at 11 p.m. ET.)
However, once the interview starts, Dr. King puts any trepidation aside in a particularly memorable introduction that gives a charming glimpse at the man behind the hero. Smiling and laughing, Dr. King puts his charismatic personality on full display as he jokes about the limitations that being a clergyman has placed on his ability to experience the “fun” side of New York, before talking about his move to Atlanta; his young family; his job as co-pastor at his father’s church; and the blame he incurred for inciting violent riots, despite his fervent emphasis on peaceful demonstrations.
Following THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW, the evening of variety programming continues by featuring rare performances from iconic African-American stars. At 9 p.m. ET is THE SONNY & CHER SHOW, as the beloved duo sings alongside former Fifth Dimension leaders Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., and then they step into the ring with late boxing superstar Muhammad Ali in a charming skit that pits Cher and Ali against each other in a battle for the Heavyweight Poetry Championship of the World. Then, at 10 p.m. ET, legendary funnyman Redd Foxx brings his trademark comedy to CHER, starring in hilarious sketches about attitude, the merits of milk, and more, followed by Cher’s duet with soulful trio LaBelle performing “What Can I Do For You?” and their smash hit “Lady Marmalade.”
Leading in to the unforgettable evening is a special IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT all-day marathon, starting at 8 a.m. ET. The critically acclaimed 1988 drama stars Carroll O’Connor, Alan Autry, and Howard E. Rollins Jr., as police officers in the Deep South working to keep the streets safe amidst rising racial tensions. The marathon highlights some of the series’ best two-part episodes, and features appearances by Wayne Brady, Stacy Keach, and Burgess Meredith.