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‘Kup’s Show’ Signs Off after 27 Years

January 27, 1986

CHICAGO (AP) _ Irv Kupcinet, the journalist and broadcasting pioneer, is ending his late- night, television talk show at the urging of his doctors and his wife.

″Kup’s Show″ made its final regularly scheduled appearance Saturday night on WTTW, a Chicago public TV station. That final installment will be shown this week in the markets that carry the syndicated program.

Kupcinet, 73, who launched a late-night talk program 27 years ago, missed nine weeks of shows recently during a bout with hepatitis.

″I have to ease off a little bit, even though the show has given me so much joy and association with so many great people,″ he said.

His nationally syndicated Kup’s Column will continue running six days a week in the Chicago Sun-Times, and he still will make regular appearances as a gossip reporter on Chicago’s WBBM-TV.

Kupcinet said he will continue doing occasional specials, and that ″Kup’s Show″ is not dead forever.

Kupcinet’s show, which was always introduced by his trademark phrase ″the lively art of conversation,″ was launched in 1959 as ″At Random.″ It was a live program that began at midnight and ended when conversation lagged, sometimes at 5:30 a.m. The show moved to two other commercial stations before settling at WTTW in 1977.

The show appears in about 50 markets, down from its high of around 150, said Bill Murray, a spokesman for WTTW.

Kupcinet’s show often featured a mix of celebrities, politicians, authors and sports figures, and he was proud of involving his guests in all sorts of topics.

″We never asked about their latest movies,″ Kupcinet said. ″We tried to make it meaningful.″

The guest list for his final program included actor Danny Glover, who stars in the movie ″The Color Purple″; Joan Allen, a Chicago stage and film actress; British film director Michael Powell; and film scholar Ian Christie.

Kupcinet estimated he has interviewed 6,500 guests on his show, including former presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, Sen. Robert Kennedy, actor Yul Brynner and Liberace.

″The most memorable show was former President Harry Truman revealing why he fired General Douglas MacArthur,″ Kupcinet said, referring to Truman’s comment that he fired the general for advocating use of the atomic bomb in the Korean War.

A native Chicagoan, Kupcinet attended Northwestern University before graduating from the University of North Dakota in 1934. He played professional football with the Philadelphia Eagles for one year before injuries cut short his career. He began writing his column in 1943.

In 1967, ″Kup’s Show″ received a George Foster Peabody Award, given for broadcasting excellence.

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