Art Linkletter's 'Kids Say The Darndest Things'- Were the Kids set up?

The answers the kids give are (at least to me) clearly rehearsed.

Was the show ever exposed for this?


First of all, the tape shows only highlights. In the actual segments, the kids would only get one or two real laughs; most of the answers were cute and sometimes even dull (I don’t know how much the segments were edited). Linkletter knew how to make the best of a weak answer, though, and would pull laughs out through his own reactions and follow-up questions.

So there really wasn’t any need to rehearse the kids.

Here’s amore extended look. The kids don’t seem to be rehearsed; they may have had a little bit of coaching in the beginning (the kid playing with the clay may have been told what to make), but the rest of the conversation was genuine.

I remember an interview with Art Linkater; the kids of course knew they were going to be interviewed on the show, as did their parents. Art said that one of the best questions to ask is “what did your parents tell you not to tell me?” The kids were often too young and too nervous to realize they were letting the cat out of the bag. (“My mom said not to tell you daddy calls her bubble-butt.”)

Of course, then his daughter went on to be one of the early teen pregnancies to hit the tabloids, prompting the joke that “Kids*** do*** the darndest things, too.”

Let’s move this to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

The only daughter he had that became (in)famous was Diane, who died under unusual circumstances not related to to teen pregnancy. It was ruled at the time a suicide with no drugs found her in system. (But nonetheless Art continued to blame drugs for her death.) However, the guy who was with her at the time turned out to be really, really skeevy and was also involved in Carol Wayne’s mysterious death. So foul play is generally believed.

If Diane was murdered and not on drugs, she herself wasn’t all that scandalous. in fact, if Art hadn’t gone into the “blame it on drugs” thing, she’d have a significantly better legacy. (For example, not being the subject of a John Waters film.) It’s what Art said that hurt her memory.

I was on Linkletter’s House Party( the radio show) in 1953, I think, and before the show his assistant interviewed us (there were four from my school) and asked us questions in the hopes of getting interesting answers.

One question was: why do you think the four of you were chosen? I piped up with, “Because we are smarter than all the other kids!” The assistant wrote that down and later Linkletter asked me the same question and got the same answer. Mild amusement from the audience, and my fifteen minutes of fame were over.

The show donated a 21-inch black and white TV to our school. It was placed in the library and a few months later we got to watch the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

That was my brush with fame, and I still think about it, about once every eight or nine years.