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Art Linkletter's Stewed Chicken with Noodles

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Frugal Celebrities Recipes

Art Linkletter was one of the most beloved television personalities of the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, to date, he is the only person in TV history to have had five shows concurrently on network TV. The future radio broadcaster and TV host was born in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1912, where, after being abandoned by his parents on the steps of a church as a baby, he was adopted by a minister and his wife.

When little Art was 3, the Linkletter family moved to California. Linkletter attended San Diego State College. There, he studied English/linguistics and drama and was active in many extracurricular activities, including participation on the football, handball, and swimming teams. He was also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. During his junior year in college, Linkletter was hired as a radio announcer for a local San Diego radio station, KGB. Upon his college graduation in 1934, he changed his plans to become a teacher. Instead, he remained at KGB, where he was promoted to chief announcer for the station.

Art Linkletter in 1978

For the remainder of the 1930s, Linkletter continued to develop his craft as a radio broadcaster. His natural humor and ease with interviewing people led to progressive success. After working successfully in radio on hundreds of programs, he went to Hollywood in 1942 to try his luck there. In Hollywood, he met John Guedal, with whom he eventually partnered to create two of radio's most memorable productions — House Party and People Are Funny. Linkletter easily made the transition into the infant television industry by adapting both of his popular radio shows House Party (1955-70) and People Are Funny (1954-61) for TV audiences; with their combined years on radio and television, these two popular shows are among the longest running in US broadcast history. Linkletter also hosted Inside Beverly Hills (1955), Hollywood Talent Scouts (1965-66), The Art Linkletter Show (1963), and the recurring show about Hollywood, Screen Snapshots, which aired through the 1950s. He filled in a number of times as a guest host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and was a favorite panelist on the popular game show What's My Line?

Among his long list of friends was Walt Disney. Walt Disney could only afford to pay Linkletter scale wages to help host his new theme park Disneyland's grand opening special in 1955; in return, Linkletter asked for and received the park's camera and film concessions for 10 years. Coincidentally, he shared his birthday (July 17th) with the opening of Disneyland; not only did Linkletter host the grand opening in 1955, he returned 50 years later, at age 93, to help host the park's celebration on July 17, 2005. He is the only celebrity to appear at Disneyland publicly on both of those days.

Linkletter’s easygoing ability to entertain through ordinary people enhanced his likable character. In the late 1950s, his remarkable skill on his TV show at interviewing children, whose candid remarks provided some of his shows most hilarious moments, was turned into a publishing goldmine with a series of children’s books, including Kids Say the Darndest Things! (1957), The Secret World of Kids (1959), Kids Still Say the Darndest Things! (1961), and Kids Sure Rite Funny!: A Child’s Guide to Misinformation (1962). Kids Say the Darndest Things! was, according to Publisher's Weekly, the nation's top-selling nonfiction hardcover book for both 1957 and 1958... a remarkable feat that few books have ever duplicated.

Linkletter has had many other successful projects and was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for his radio work and one for his television work.

 

Vintage Print Ad, New-Blend Tender Leaf Tea, with Art Linkletter, Family Circle, April 1958 | Photo credit: jbcurio, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Vintage Print Ad, New-Blend Tender Leaf Tea, with Art Linkletter, Family Circle, April 1958 | Photo credit: jbcurio, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

Linkletter married Lois Foerster in 1935, and they had five children. Still married as of this writing, they are considered one of the most happy couples in the industry, and their marriage is one of the longest. Tragically, in 1969, his daughter Diane committed suicide by jumping out of her kitchen window. Linkletter was devastated and blamed LSD for his daughter's death. Linkletter had been speaking out against drugs before Diane died; his record, We Love You, Call Collect, which was recorded before Diane's death, featured a discussion about permissiveness in modern society. It also featured a rebuttal by Diane, called "Dear Mom and Dad." The record won a 1970 Grammy award for the "Best Spoken Word Recording." Because of his daughter's tragic death, he became even more outspoken against drugs. Several reports at the time of Diane's death indicated that LSD didn't play a role in Diane's suicide, but Linkletter continued to speak out, nonetheless, on his crusade against the psychedelic movement for many years. He was later appointed to President Richard Nixon's national advisory council for drug abuse prevention, education and information.

Another tragedy hit when Linkletter's son, Robert, was killed in a car accident in 1980.

One of America's most dedicated humanitarians, Linkletter has been recognized for his work for the National Easter Seals Foundation, the National Heart Foundation, the Foster Parents Plan and Goodwill Industries. According to one biography, in addition to his success in the entertainment industry, Linkletter has been successful in the business sector. As president of Linkletter Enterprises, he holds assets that include numerous oil and real estate holdings.

Linkletter has been awarded ten honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities, including University of Prince Edward Island and Pepperdine University, for his humanitarian work and his passionate campaign against drug abuse. Linkletter was so optimistic about his own future that he had signed a contract to lecture in Washington, D.C., on his 100th birthday on July 17, 2012.

In 2000, during an interview with Larry King, Linkletter was asked how old he was and if anyone would be surprised at his age. His response was, "Well, I think they're more surprised to learn that at 88, I travel 200,000 miles a year, speak 70 times a year, have four, five businesses, I run, surf, ski, and I look at the girls. I can't remember why, but I look at them."

 


This recipe of Art Linkletter's Stewed Chicken with Noodles was published in a 1960's cookbook, a compilation of famous men's favorite recipes, Kings in the Kitchen, Favorite Recipes of Famous Men. It's a super-cheap dish to make and very satisfying and filling. It's a guaranteed kid-pleaser.

Note: You can substitute your own homemade chicken or vegetable stock to replace some or all of the water listed in the recipe: The A-Z of Making Vegetable Stock from Scratch and Save Those Bones! Meat Stock to the Rescue

 

Art Linkletter's Stewed Chicken with Noodles

Cut chicken into serving pieces. Put water, carrot, union, and celery in large cooking pot, and bring to boil. Drop chicken, piece by piece, into boiling liquid. (As the mixture increases in volume, the chicken need only be covered to the depth of 1/2 inch.) Cover pot and let simmer for 2 hours or until tender. After 1 hour, add salt and paprika.

When it is done, remove the pieces from the liquid and make a thick gravy of stock left in pot, using your favorite recipe. If gravy tends to separate, stir in slowly 2 T. cream.

Prepare noodles 10 to 15 minutes before chicken is done. Place chicken on bed of noodles and serve. Gravy may be poured over chicken before serving or served separately. Dumplings, boiled rice, spaghetti, or baked macaroni may be used instead of noodles.

Serves 8 to 10.


Here is a funny exchange with a caller from that same Larry King interview in 2000:

KING: Cranston, Rhode Island, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Mr. Linkletter, how are you?

LINKLETTER: I'm fine, having the time of my life.

CALLER: Great. You are a charm. I want to thank you for putting a smile in so many young children's lives.

LINKLETTER: Thank you.

KING: Yes, he did that. What's the question?

CALLER: Are you available?

KING: Oh, yes. Are you? Is your wife still with us?

LINKLETTER: My wife and I are celebrating our 65th wedding anniversary, but she lets me out on Wednesday afternoons.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: What's the secret of longevity in wedded bliss?

LINKLETTER: To be married happily you have to have a sense of humor and you have to communicate. Don't go to bed mad. In other words -- and this is very important: You can disagree, but you don't get disagreeable. That "a-b-l-e" is the big difference between disagree. And by being friendly, you can always get by things.

And then, of course, if you have a sense of humor. Lois and I might have an argument, and if I see it getting serious, I say: Honey, this is getting serious. If it gets much more serious, I'll have to kill you.

(LAUGHTER)

Sadly, Linkletter passed away on May 26, 2010 at age 97. He will be missed.

 

 

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Sources:
Biography.com, Art Linkletter, (http://www.biography.com/articles/Art-Linkletter-9542345). Booth, Gertrude, Kings in the Kitchen, Favorite Recipes of Famous Men, A.S. Barnes and Company, Inc., New York, 1961.
CNN, Larry King Live, Art Linkletter Discusses His Career in Television, June 30, 2000, (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0006/30/lkl.00.html).
Internet Movie Database, Art Linkletter (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0512939/).
Publisher's Weekly, Year-By-Year, 1912-2002, (http://home.comcast.net/~netaylor1/bestsellersnonfiction.html).