Better Call Daddy

210. Getting Lucky With Jerry Springer, 20 Years Later

March 7, 2022

The man, the myth, the legend, 27 years on air, nearly 4000 episodes, one of the longest-running talk show hosts in history, Jerry Springer!  Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!  And he had a question ready for my daddy too!  This episode was a dream, one I won't forget!  Definitely not censored!

The successful have a calming effect because they got there and they’re seeing us from a different sightline.  That’s the calm we have to get to. 

Would you want to be famous?  I truly believe Jerry's legacy is all the lives he's touched and the careers he's made, we are all taking a piece of him with us. 

What does legacy mean to Jerry?  How does show business work?  What advice does Jerry give?  How does one become a star?

The Jerry Springer Show was one of the best experiences of my life!  Today we talk about what it was really like behind the scenes of producing the show and the American Dream!  Better Call Daddy: The Safe Space For Controversy!

Throughout an illustrious career, Jerry Springer has become a cultural and civic icon. In addition to being one of the world’s most well-known talk show hosts, Springer has been the mayor of Cincinnati, a political pundit, lawyer, Emmy award-winning newscaster, game show host, country recording artist, international emcee, and TV personality. Springer has been in movies and on Broadway, he's a progressive talk-radio broadcaster and Springer won America's hearts with his ballroom dancing. Recently Springer added Podcaster with the wildly popular “Tales, Tunes and Tomfoolery” at www.JerrySpringer.com  

Because of the lasting popularity of his talk show and political interests, Springer has become a favorite guest speaker at college campuses across the USA and the world. In recent years, Springer was welcomed at The Clinton School of Public Service, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, George Washington, American University, Tulane, as well as other academic institutions.  

Springer was personally invited by both the Oxford Union of Oxford University and Cambridge University to participate in their guest lecture series. In Oxford, Springer broke all attendance records for that long-standing series and has been invited back several times. In 2011, Springer kicked off the prestigious Eisenhower Symposium at Johns Hopkins University speaking on the topic of “America’s Boundless Possibilities.”

Everyone knew Springer had "arrived" as a true cultural icon when he was the featured character in The Simpsons' 1998 Halloween Special.  He has also graced the cover of Rolling Stone, Esquire, TV Guide and New York Magazine. Springer has also joined the exclusive club of being named one of Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People.

"Ringmaster" hit bookstore shelves in 1998. Penned by Springer, it was a personal account of his experiences along with remembrances from his childhood and professional career. Also, in 1998, Springer made his first venture into feature films, starring in Ringmaster, a fictionalized movie chronicling his television talk show. In 1999, Springer teamed up with Mike Myers, where he portrayed himself in the hit movie "Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me."

In 2009, Springer brought his comedic skills and theatrical style to London’s West End playing the role of Billy Flynn in the hit musical production of Chicago. Warwick Thompson of Bloomberg News, said, "There’s the sheer pleasure of watching a genial TV pundit in a fish-out-of-water situation and having a good time.”  Springer reprised the role in the United States and, as a culmination, played Billy Flynn on Broadway – a life-changing event for Springer.

 

A parody of The Jerry Springer Show, Jerry Springer: The Opera played in London to sold-out crowds at the prestigious National Theater and then won the Lawrence Olivier Award for best musical which is akin to the Tony Awards. The Opera toured throughout England and received outstanding reviews. The Opera had its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall in January of 2008 with movie star Harvey Keitel playing the role of Springer. JSTO continues to travel across the USA and the world to sold-out crowds and controversial but rave reviews.

 

Additionally, Springer has hosted a variety show in England and South Africa. The South African program was broadcast in more than 40 African nations, featuring interviews with celebrities, monologues, and skits in front of a live studio audience. It ranked among the most popular television show in South Africa.  All proceeds from the show went to AIDS charities.

Springer has spread his wings recording two CD's in Nashville, one aptly titled "Dr. Talk." He has also twice served as the master of ceremonies for the “Miss World Pageant.” Springer added a Broadway appearance to his distinguished list of achievements, starring for a week in the production of the Rocky Horror Show Live. Springer again hit the London stage in a limited engagement playing the role of Captain Hook in the UK New Wimbledon Theatre's production of Peter Pan.

Gerald Norman Springer was born on February 13, 1944 in London’s Highgate Tube station (subway station) due to the bombs falling on London during World War II. His parents had successfully fled Eastern Europe and the Holocaust but unfortunately, Springer lost most of his family in the concentration camps.

 

At 5 years old, Springer and his family immigrated to New York City from London on the Queen Mary. For the Springer family, America represented a place where people could live without the persecution his parents knew all too well. They settled in Kew Gardens, Queens.

His college years took him south to Louisiana, where he earned a degree in political science at Tulane University. He then received his law degree from Northwestern University in Illinois. In 1968, his life changed during a dinner meeting with then New York Senator, Robert Kennedy, who was running for president behind the push for social change. Springer signed on with the Kennedy campaign, but shortly thereafter felt the horror of Kennedy's assassination along with the rest of the world. That moment in history served as a catalyst for Springer, compelling him into political action which he has never abandoned.

After joining a law firm in Cincinnati, he spearheaded the movement in Ohio to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, culminating with Springer being invited to address the Senate Judiciary Committee giving testimony in support of ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution. He ran for Congress in Ohio in 1970, nearly beating the entrenched Republican incumbent. In 1971, he won a seat on the Cincinnati City Council and served five terms before becoming mayor at the age of 33 with the largest plurality in the city's history. He was the youngest Mayor ever elected to a major US city at that time.

After an unsuccessful bid for governor of Ohio in 1982, Springer was courted by the big three networks, ultimately signing with the then last place NBC affiliate, WLWT. As their anchor and Managing Editor, Springer took WLWT to first place. It was his nightly commentaries, the precursor to his now legendary "Final Thought," that landed him seven Emmys. Springer was voted television's best anchor for five consecutive years by readers of Cincinnati Magazine.

 

While Springer was still successfully anchoring and managing the news in Cincinnati, he was ‘assigned’ a new job as host of a new talk show. The company that owned the NBC station in Cincinnati also owned The Sally Jesse Raphael Show and The Phil Donahue Show. So, in September of 1991, The Jerry Springer Show was born. The show was shot in Cincinnati the first year and Jerry continued to do evening news. The show moved to Chicago in its second year, expanding the number of syndicated markets. Jerry would tape shows in Chicago in the morning and fly back to Cincinnati to do the evening news. Finally, in 1993, Springer did his last newscast in Cincinnati although he still thinks of that city as ‘home.’

In May of 2008, Springer was invited to be Commencement Speaker at his alma mater, Northwestern University School of Law, Juris Doctor 1968. Springer ended his address with a story about his parents, who escaped the Holocaust and immigrated to the United States in 1949. "In one generation here in America, my family went from near-total annihilation to the ridiculously privileged life I live today because of my show," Springer said, his voice wavering slightly. "Indeed, in America, all things are possible."

 

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