There are life lessons to be learned from Linkletter, program

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 12, 2010

If you can remember watching Art Linkletter’s show, “House Party,” on TV, you’re telling your age.  His program ran on CBS radio and TV from 1945 – 1967.

My family and I watched the program on our black and white television set when I was growing up. We enjoyed Art’s interviews with the children and their unpredictable responses. Many of their humorous comments were later published in a series of books, “Kid’s Say the Darndest Things.”

News reports announcing Art Linkletter’s death at the age of 97 brought to mind a time in January 1996 when I heard him speak in person.  He was 84 then and talked about his life experiences and the importance of researching Alzheimer’s disease, now more prevalent because people were living longer.

He told of visiting a nursing home and giving residents autographed photos of himself.  “Do you know who I am?” he asked a resident who replied, “No, but if you will ask the nurses they will tell you.” His 23rd book was titled, “Old Age is Not for Sissies.”

Linkletter was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1912, and once jokingly said the city was considering renaming the town “Loose Jaw,” in honor of his career as a radio and TV personality.  He stated, “I stand fearlessly for small dogs, the American Flag, motherhood and the Bible. That’s why people love me.”

Art, born Arthur Gordon Kelley, was abandoned by his birth parents, who left him on the doorsteps of a local church.  An itinerant preacher and his wife named John and Mary Linkletter adopted him and the family later moved to California.

One of his best known quotes reads, “Things turn out the best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” He was and his wife, Lois, were married 74 years, and the couple had five children – three of whom he outlived.  After one of his daughters jumped to her death reportedly from experimenting with LSD, Linkletter led the fight against drug abuse in America.

If my memory serves me right, Art invited a unique guest to appear on his “House Party” program every couple of months. The man, in a dark suit wearing an inch-wide necktie, was searching for heirs to deceased persons whose valuable estates had not been claimed. He would tell of property and monetary awards awaiting a person of a certain lineage who would inherit this wealth.

Did you know the Bible speaks about the subject of inheritance and wealth?  In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

A man once came to Jesus and asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  The answer had nothing to do with possessions or riches.

Jesus told him to do what is written, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 10:37).