45 Years Ago: John Lennon and Yoko Ono Become TV Hosts
We tend to look back on the ’60s and early-to-mid ’70s as a pretty turbulent time in terms of the establishment trying in vain to crack down on the counterculture, but it wasn’t always adversarial. The two sides met in February 1972, when John Lennon and Yoko Ono took over hosting duties on The Mike Douglas Show.The idea, as Ono explained in an interview after their week-long stint ended, was to try and bridge the generational divide by reaching out to older or more conservative viewers. “There’s such a gap between the young generation and the old generation now,” said Ono. “Because this is a show that really communicates more with the older generation, we wanted to reach our hands out to them and say, ‘Don’t be afraid of us. And we shouldn’t be to hostile to you either. Let’s work it together, because we have to work it together.’”That’s an indisputably noble goal, although as fans of either act are most likely already aware, things didn’t exactly go off without a hitch. A segment that’s proven particularly memorable over the years occurred when the duo invited rock legend Chuck Berry to stop by for a performance — during which Ono, for reasons that will presumably remain forever unknown, broke in with a wordless howl that seemed to startle Berry.Rough edges aside, Lennon and Ono’s residency made for overall compelling television — and looking back after the tapings were finished, Lennon seemed happy with the way it all worked out.