Salvador Dali Gets Surreal with Mike Wallace (1958)

Before he became a fix­ture on 60 Min­utes, Mike Wal­lace host­ed his own short-lived TV show, The Mike Wal­lace Inter­view (1957–58), which let Amer­i­cans get an up-close and per­son­al view of some leg­endary fig­ures — Frank Lloyd WrightEleanor Roo­seveltRein­hold NiebuhrAldous Hux­leyErich FrommAdlai Steven­sonHen­ry Kissinger, and Glo­ria Swan­son.

Then let’s also add Sal­vador Dali to the list. In 1958, Wal­lace tried to demys­ti­fy “the enig­ma that is Sal­vador Dali,” and it did­n’t go ter­ri­bly well. It turns out that sur­re­al­ist painters give sur­re­al answers to con­ven­tion­al inter­view ques­tions too. Pret­ty quick­ly, Wal­lace capit­u­lates and says, “I must con­fess, you lost me halfway through.” Hap­pi­ly for us, the video makes for some good view­ing more than 50 years lat­er.

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Relat­ed Sal­vador Dali Con­tent:

Des­ti­no: The Sal­vador Dalí – Dis­ney Col­lab­o­ra­tion 57 Years in the Mak­ing

Sal­vador Dali Appears on “What’s My Line? in 1952

Alfred Hitch­cock Recalls Work­ing with Sal­vador Dali on Spell­bound

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Comments (3)
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  • Nathan says:

    This is most inter­est­ing in Part 1 (which was linked) to see Mike Wal­lace tell us how great the cig­a­rettes he is smok­ing are. That part is such a great blast from the past and a great his­to­ry les­son. Dali just comes off as a clown in these inter­views. Today, I’d say he’s try­ing too hard to be dif­fer­ent or “too cool for the room”.

  • Christian Hege says:

    Dal­i’s grop­ing through Eng­lish words (cos­moge­ny?) and Mike Wal­lace’s strug­gle to under­stand him made me think imme­di­ate­ly of the bril­liant work of John Sperm:

  • It is a delight to see how a typ­i­cal jour­nal­ist strug­gles to pen­e­trate a bril­liant mind and how superbly he fails.
    Genius­es tru­ly think dif­fer­ent and show that in all aspects of ttheir out­er and inner lives.
    Thank you!

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.