While most Hollywood types scurry away from the National Enquirer--or take it to court--Art Linkletter, 84, the fella next door who always seemed to exemplify the notion that nice guys can finish first, has announced that he plans to write a weekly column for the gutter-sniffing tabloid.
There's definitley a side we never knew to Linkletter, who pioneered reality television when reality was a whole lot more congenial. There was House Party, featuring Art interviewing opinionated youngsters, and People Are Funny, a quiz show with contestants made to pull gentle pranks on unsuspecting passers-by.
He also wrote the best-selling book Kids Say the Darnedest Things and the inspirational Old Age Is Not for Sissies. Linkletter has also campaigned against drug use (his daughter killed herself after problems with LSD in 1968) and for respect for the aged (he leads a center on aging at UCLA). He was the original host of the Pillsbury bake-off, for gosh sakes.
But it turns out that Art, 84, has a dirty little secret: he is a fan of the Enquirer. "I pick it up for a little light reading," he tells Daily Variety, "and to see who screwed who."
Not to worry. Art won't be writing on that particular topic. In fact, the column will be all about the darned things that kids say, drawing on the interviews he did for 25 years on House Party.