You may have heard of the forthcoming film Frost/Nixon, which explores the series of long interviews conducted by British journalist David Frost of the disgraced president in 1976. Turns out I know someone who was heavily involved in the interviews themselves.
Bob Zelnick, formerly of ABC News and about a thousand other places, was the acting head of the journalism department at BU when Perry Ellis, parts of the Beast Lair, and Lucy the Dog were there learning a skill only slightly more marketable than sanskrit. Anyway, according to this article, Zelnick headed up the research team that helped Frost prepare for the interviews themselves.
Zelnick recalls being partially swayed by Nixon’s blame of Congress for screwing up the Vietnam War and appalled at Nixon’s incessant lying about Watergate. The best part, though, is that Nixon was apparently something of a perv:
Did you have much interaction with Nixon beyond the camera?
Occasionally, he’d come out during a break. One time he came out specifically to meet the Frost staff, and we shook hands. He had ridiculed “Frost’s well-paid staff” on camera and had used “well-paid staff” two or three times. When I met him, I said “You know, Mr. President, I found your reference to David’s well-paid staff so offensive that I almost choked on my caviar.” So we had that sort of banter, but it was infrequent. He would, of course, banter with David on the set as they were waiting for the cameras to roll. The classic moment was one time Nixon sat down next to David and after a long silence said, “So, David, did you fornicate much over the weekend?” David just looked at him like he couldn’t believe he’d just been asked that question.
There you have it. David Frost triumphed in a battle of wits over Richard Nixon but missed out on one of the all-time opportunities for a joke about Nixon’s mom.
In The Basement — Teenage Bottlerocket (obviously)
Waitin’ for a Superman — The Flaming Lips
I’m a Changed Man — Otis Redding
King of the Gypsies — Johnny Thunders
Single File — Elliott Smith
Hackensack — Fountains of Wayne
Lockdown — Fugazi
The Devil’s Workday — Modest Mouse
Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo — Jens Lekman
Family Tree — TV on the Radio
Bonus Audio Extra (requires Internet Explorer or Safari):
Boob Scotch — Bob Log III
Black Woman and Shame and Scandal in the Family — Odetta and Johnny Cash
The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.