This I Believe

Linkletter, Art

  • Art Linkletter talks about his experiences in the entertainment industry as a host and announcer and how his focus on his own abilities, limits and performance, as well as his appreication of people, has contributed to his success.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Art Linkletter, the popular radio and television master of ceremonies, was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and as a boy traveled over most of the United States and Canada. Somehow he developed an intense curiosity about people which he has been satisfying in the last fifteen years by questioning over 25,000 of them. Now, Art Linkletter gives the answers to some searching questions he asked himself.
For twenty years I’ve been engaged in building a career in a field wherein the only unchanging thing is change itself. Insecurity is the norm. Frustration is commonplace. The stars worry
about the fickle public. The supporting players are striving to win marquee space for their names. What I believe has kept me relaxed and—my friends tell me—normal, in spite of this dizzy daffodil surrounding.
First, I believe a man can do no more than he can. It seems almost stupid to parrot such ancient advice, but everywhere around me I see smart operators disregarding it. Instead of worrying about what might happen during a performance or what critics might say after a show, I spend my time getting ready to do the very best I can. And I believe if that isn’t good enough, they can get another boy. Instead of going over and over a blunder committed during a program, I give myself one good hard mental kick in
the pants, make a careful note of what led up to the boner, and go on to the next production challenge.
This kind of belief cannot be blithely acquired like a new necktie. You must live it to believe it, and perhaps I can believe it and live it because of the way I began my career. As the only adopted son of an itinerant evangelist, who never knew what it was like to have the rent paid in advance or a 5 dollar bill in the bank, I had to make my start from zero altitude. And as my old friend, “Stuttering” Joe Frisco, says: “Wh-when you y’ain’t got’n nuh-nothing to start with, th-the worst that can happen is you’ll b-break even.”
Well next I believe that every human being must have a goal in life that is a constant challenge. As
fast as a temporary goal is reached, I must move the boundaries and take a fresh start. I personally have never chosen goals so far distant as to be discouraging in their unattainability. When I was a studio staff announcer, I dreamed of introducing dance orchestras, coast to coast. And when I at last could call Freddy Martin by his first name and glibly present his band to the nation, I dreamed of starring in my own show with a real live local sponsor, who could afford to pay me as much as 300 dollars a month.
At each turn I promptly discovered that my life’s ambition had its limitations and something more was needed to make me satisfied. And so today my pattern for the future is bound up in a desire to use my
talents for the good of mankind. And lest you think this grandiose, consider my principle belief: I believe in people. I’ve always been more interested in people than in ideas or things. As a youngster I remember being teased by older friends about my persistent questions concerning why other folks loved or hated, laughed or cried. In college I took many subjects devoted to the study of human psychology. Unlike Will Rogers, I cannot say that I have never met a man I did not like. However, I can truthfully say that I have never met a person in whom I was not interested.
I believe that people are innately good and that they want to be loved, respected, and remembered. They’re often otherwise because of where they must live, and how, and with whom. But my faith in their
need for one another and in their basic good is such that I want to always be doing something wherein I can underscore the good and diminish the evil. And whether I continue as a broadcaster or use my abilities in social work, politics, or teaching, my goal is to help people know that they are part of a perfect pattern, first traced by God, and that in the return to this ideal we must all do our share.
That was Art Linkletter, a popular radio and television personality, who lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and five children.