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Encore Presentation: Larry King -- Celebrating 50 Years in Broadcasting

Aired June 14, 2007 - 19:00:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Fifty years, 40,000 interviews. One broadcasting legend. Tonight we welcome the man who has chatted with everybody from Brando to Bush, the man who`s talked us through some of the most unforgettable events in the last half century.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Police radio saying Simpson has a gun at his head.

BECK: Honest questions, memorable moments and a few surprises as we welcome the one and only Larry King for the full hour.


BECK: Tonight, with Mr. Larry King. Fifty years on the air, a broadcasting icon.

How are you, sir?

KING: I`m great.

BECK: How weird is it to be an icon?

KING: You know, it means you`re old, in my opinion, when people come up to me and say, "I listened to you when I was a kid" or "you`re a legend" or "you`re an icon." It means you`ve got some years under your belt. If you`re celebrating 50 years.

BECK: Yes.

KING: You`re not 50 years old.

BECK: You know, it`s amazing. You have gone through now a month of Larry King 50-year anniversary, yada, yada, yada. Difference between you and I, because I`ve been -- I have been reading up on you, and the more I read up on you, the more I find we have in common.

Your father died when you were 9. My mother died when I was 13. We both got into radio young. We broke -- we both grew up relatively poor. I think your family was probably poorer than mine. We got into in network radio about the same time. Your 50th year anniversary is May 19. My 30th is May 1.

And we both married Mormons. You know what? You`re a belt away from being me. How sad is that?

KING: However, you became a Mormon.

BECK: Yes.

KING: I stayed Jewish.

YES: Yes.

Well, I want to get into that. I want to start at the beginning.


BECK: With you on -- the beginnings, you were from Brooklyn. You were dirt poor.

KING: Yes. I was...

BECK: When did --

KING: My father died. My father was an immigrant from Austria. My mother was from Russia, Jewish parentage. They came to the United States. And my father was someone who just loved America. He loved you. He was a patriot. I mean, he was America first.

And World War II broke out, and he owned a little bar and grill, not very -- a small little place in Brooklyn. Tried to enlist. He was 42 years old. They wouldn`t take him because he was over 40. So he immediately sold the business and went to work in the defense plant, building ships in Corning, New Jersey, for America. If he couldn`t serve in the Army, he was going to serve America.

And one night he went to work and dropped dead of a heart attack. I was 9, nine-and-a-half. In fact, this little button here, that`s a picture of me taken about a month after he died, and that was really a blow to me. I was very close to him. He was a big baseball fan, and he introduced me to sports.

BECK: He was right about America. Look at this, first generation, boom.

KING: Yes.

BECK: Here you are.

KING: I wonder what he would think.

BECK: Wildly successful and an American icon.

KING: I wonder what he would think. I was on Times Square, and they had a big -- they had a big poster there.

And anyway, I always wanted to be in broadcasting. I have no idea why. When I was 5 years old, I`d stare at the radio.

BECK: That`s so funny.

KING: Programs would come on and I would then, when the program was over, imitate the program.

BECK: Yes.

KING: A tale well calculated to keep you in suspense.

BECK: Suspense. Yes.

KING: "The Shadow". The Lone Ranger rides again. Tom Mix.

BECK: So you -- but you were not Larry King. At that time...

KING: I was Larry Zeiger -- Z-E-I-G-E-R. And my brother is Martin Zeiger.

BECK: When did you become Larry King?

KING: First day on the air. I was Larry Zeiger. I finally got hired, nervous as hell, and the program manager said, "What name are you going to use?"

And I said, "Well, Larry Zeiger."

And he said you couldn`t use -- they wouldn`t now. He said, "You can`t use Larry Zeiger." It was too ethnic. How are you going to spell it, E-I, I-E. So he made another name and he had the "Miami Herald" open, and there was an ad for King, this wholesale liquors. And he said, "How about Larry King."

And I said, "Sounds find to me." So when I went on the air, nervous as hell that morning, and he had to prod me to say something. I said, "My name is Larry King, and that`s the first time I`ve ever said that." And then I legally changed it about a year-and-a-half later.

BECK: Is that the secret of success or maybe your success? I think it`s the secret of success: just be who you are. Be honest.

KING: I got very close to Arthur Godfried (ph), unfortunately, a forgotten name but one of the major names of broadcasting history. And he got friendly with me in Miami.

And he said to me, "Kid, the only secret in this business is there`s no secret. Be yourself."

So I was telling him the story of my first day on the air where I told him I was nervous. I told him it was my first day on the air. And I told him the first time I had that name.

And he says, "See, you got a valuable lesson that day. You were never nervous again, I`ll bet."

"Right." Never nervous again, ever.

And I told that story once to somebody, and they said, "Well, what if you were walking down the hall, let`s say, at NBC. Someone grabbed you, sat you down and said, `Tom Brokaw is sick. You`re on`." Just like that.

I would look at the camera and say, "I was walking down the hall. Someone just grabbed me, said, `Tom Brokaw is sick. You`re on.` I`m going to do the best I can."

Now when you do that, the good idea behind that is the audience is now in your shoes.

BECK: Right.

KING: You`ve never done this before. Somebody grabs you walking down the hall, and you goof, you goof.

BECK: It`s the underdog. They`re with you.

KING: Bring them into you.

BECK: But you had Merv Griffin, if I`m not mistaken, who said you`ll never make it in TV. "Listen to me, kid. You`ll never make it."

KING: A radio guy.

BECK: Yes.

KING: But I got into TV real quick. I started in radio in `57, and early 1960 I was getting hot on radio doing interview shows at a restaurant. And the people at Channel 10 -- then Channel 10, WPLG, they liked me. And they wanted a late Sunday night show and I got that show. It was called "Miami Uncovered".

I remember my first topic was should China be admitted to the U.N.? Should red China be admitted to the U.N.? And it was funny, Glenn. I was not nervous. But I had a swivel chair. I smoked on television. I smoked up until my heart attack. So I smoked all the time, and you always smoked on television in the `60s.

And I had two guests. One said yes. One said no. And I had a swivel chair. I came on, "Good evening. Welcome to the initial edition of `Miami Uncovered`. Our subject tonight, should communist China be admitted to the U.N.? Our guests are," and I turned, and I kept swiveling. I swivel all night long.

And "The Miami Herald" said, "We have a whole new concept in American television, the swiveling host."

BECK: That`s funny.

KING: I couldn`t stop the damn thing.

BECK: So when you -- how did the CNN happen? How long have you been doing television? I remember you...

KING: Radio 50 years, television 48. I`ve always done them both.

BECK: I know that -- you were on Mutual. I remember you were fantastic on the radio.

KING: While I was doing that all night radio show, the first nationally syndicated -- the first -- the first network coast to coast talk show was that show, was the idea of Ed Little who can see that AM radio is dying and it needed something to reinforce it. Because FM, it wouldn`t work on FM.

But I was always doing television. I did television shows in Miami all the time. In fact, I got really famous in Miami from television more than radio. And then when I went to Washington to do the Mutual show I got a local show on Channel 7. Ted Turner had guests -- this is the kind of guy Ted Turner is, one of the treasures.

BECK: He doesn`t like me.

KING: Why?

BECK: You`ve never watched this show, have you?

KING: Because of your opinions?

BECK: Yes.

KING: Here`s the best thing about Ted.

BECK: Yes.

KING: He would disagree with your opinion. Violently, and he would - - he would have dinner. He would be your employer and say -- he drives me crazy, fire him. Oh, I wouldn`t do that. Oh, he would never do that.

BECK: That`s good.

KING: That would be a low blow. That would be not fair.

BECK: Well, I think the difference in the story is he wouldn`t have hired me in the first place. But...

KING: He hired me.

BECK: He hired you.

KING: When he called me up, it was funny. He had a show called "The Freeman Report". I started on the fifth anniversary of CNN. They started June 1, 1980. I started June 1 of `85.

The week leading up to June 1, Ted Turner, who had been on my radio show and my local television show in Washington, who I knew pretty well and, because I was a baseball fan, had been to Brave games with him. So we knew each other. He called me up, and he said, "Your local television contract, can you get out to do national television?"

I said, "Well, sure."

He said, "I`d like you to take over starting next Monday on CNN at 9 p.m."

KING: I said, "I don`t know, Ted. You know, my agent is Bob Wolf, the late Bob Wolf, the famous sports agent."

He said, "No, I`ve got to get rid of this Freeman girl."


"Because her husband is driving me nuts. Her contract is up, and he`s backing me up against the wall. And I just want to be able to jab it to him. He`s driving me crazy." That was Ted. "So say, yes, please. Give me an answer by tomorrow."

So I call up Bob Wolf and Bob Wolf calls him, and they made the deal. And I started the following Monday, and he was able to tell Sandy Freeman`s husband, who was her agent, good-bye. And that started June 1, 1985.

BECK: Did you have any idea? Any idea?

KING: I love it and I had no -- he gave me a good deal. He said, "Look, you may not like it. We may not like you. I`m going to give you a three-year deal, but at the end of one year you`ve got an option to get out."

I was making $200,000 on radio. He gave me $200,000 on television. I doubled my pay.

BECK: Wow.

KING: Even though it meant missing baseball games, hockey games, basketball games, because I had to be on at 9 and then midnight. But he said to me, "At the end of a year, if you`re not happy, you can get out."

But I knew the first night, the first five minutes, in a little studio in Georgetown in Washington -- Mario Cuomo was the guest. And five minutes in, I knew this is going to work.

BECK: Back with Larry King in just a second.



KING: Do you know it`s funny before you say it?

BOB HOPE, COMEDIAN: Well, you`ve got a better idea than anybody else.

KING: The tournament you won, the famed masters, blacks couldn`t play it, not too long ago.

TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: Yes, 1975 when the first time they ever played.

KING: Did you ever question whether telethons were using pity? One of the early critiques...

JERRY LEWIS, COMEDIAN: No. Compassion, Larry, is not pity. Compassion and concern for someone that you care about is not pity.

KING: Is it difficult when you see films of yourself walking?

CHRISTOPHER REEVE, ACTOR: No, because I`m glad that -- I have to say I`m very glad this happened to me at 42 and not at 22.


BECK: Ever blow you away? That`s you. You look at all the people that you`ve talked to.

KING: I`ll tell you, Glenn, there are times, and this is the truth, that I pinch myself. I can`t believe I`ve gone through all this, and I tell you also the truth.

Paul Newman said to me once, any successful person in discussing his or her career who doesn`t use the word "luck" is a liar. There`s a lot of luck.

For example, supposing Sandy Freeman`s husband made the deal with Ted. Sure it may be the residue of design, you make your own luck, but you need an opportunity. You need somebody to give you a camera. You need somebody to give you a microphone.

BECK: Right. It`s a team effort. I mean, we are a product of a lot of people around us. But you know, what amazes me is everybody who knows you, everybody in this building, the few encounters that -- that we have had. There`s no reason that you need to be nice to me or anybody else.

KING: Why not?

BECK: There are a lot of people that, you know, good God, man, you`re Larry King.

KING: So what?

BECK: I know. But that`s what makes you so great. You -- you are still the kid in Brooklyn, aren`t you?

KING: I never got that out of me.

BECK: God bless you.

KING: I don`t know...

BECK: That`s amazing.

KING: But I don`t take any credit for that. I didn`t sit down one day and say, "I`m going to be a nice guy." I`m just...

BECK: A nice guy.

KING: I`m a regular -- I am a product of my roots. My best friends are my best friends from childhood. We`re together almost every day in Los Angeles. I like regular people. I -- I just -- I don`t -- I think I`ve been -- here`s what I think.

BECK: I just had a -- an image of "Entourage", the Larry Kind entourage.

KING: Sid, Asher, Herbie. I`ve been -- I remember once we went to Vegas to a fight, me and three friends I grew up with. And there was a mob scene, and they were going, "Let him through, let him through." No, don`t do that.

I -- no. I`ve been blessed with a talent. I can make people laugh.

BECK: Yes.

KING: I like making speeches. I like interviewing people, and I`ve been able to great a great living doing it. But that`s all a gift that I had nothing to do with.

BECK: So out of all these people, here you are, this kid from Brooklyn. All the people that you have met. And I know you answer Sinatra as your favorite. Who -- so let me -- instead of...

KING: There are many others. Sinatra...

BECK: Who`s the -- let me -- let`s just bullet point here. Who`s the person that you say, "This person creeped me out? They were on my set or I was doing an interview, and I just thought this is not a good person." Is there any world leader? Is there anybody that just kind of make your skin crawl?

KING: Not a good person?

BECK: Kind of...

KING: Yes.

BECK: Like, you know, a dictator. Somebody that is...

KING: No. It wasn`t a dictator. It was George Wallace, when he was governor of Alabama. Didn`t like him. I don`t like racists. I don`t like anybody who thinks they`re better than anybody else because of their color of skin or whatever. I didn`t like him at all.

BECK: So who is the person that you sat down with and you thought, "I`m not going to like this person," and you did?

KING: Oh, the Watergate character who`s now got a radio talk show.

BECK: G. Gordon Liddy.

KING: G. Gordon -- I loved G. Gordon Liddy, and I was prepared to hate G. Gordon Liddy. He came to the studio: "You low life. You`re no good for invading headquarters." But I liked him in spite of himself; still like him.

BECK: Most intimidating person, somebody that you sat down and you -- you were intimidated by.

KING: Frank initially, but I got over that quickly. Sinatra. And he`s a great guest, because he has everything you want in a guest. He was a great guest, because he had passion, a sense of humor, a little chip on the shoulder and the ability to explain what he did very well.

First time in the White House, it was a little, "Whoa." You know, this is a place you`ve read about all your life and now you`re interviewing a president of the United States. But you do realize very quick, as you know now, of course, it`s pants one leg at a time.

BECK: Yes.

KING: They`re all the same, but the more I think of the career, like a couple weeks ago we celebrated Jackie Robinson`s 60th appearance in baseball, 60th anniversary. I was at that game. And I was 13 years old. I was sitting over in the bleachers for 50 cents. And I interviewed him six weeks before he died.

He was blind. And you`ll be happy to know he was a Republican and supported Nixon.

BECK: Well, let`s not go down that road.

Who is the -- who is the one that you say, "I wish I would have talked to," or who is it that`s still is out there that you say "holy grail"?

KING: Good question, double answer. The wish gone now was the pope, the previous pope.

BECK: John Paul.

KING: Because he had -- he was extraordinary.

BECK: Yes.

KING: He was a poet, a playwright, a recording artist.

BECK: A recording artist?

KING: Yes. He had hit records. And he grew up among Jews, more Jews than Catholics where he grew up in Poland.

BECK: Yes.

KING: He was shot.

BECK: Yes.

KING: He kissed the person who shot him.

BECK: Is that amazing?

KING: The guy was...

BECK: Yes.

KING: He was the ultimate renaissance person, great looking guy.

BECK: Yes.

KING: You ever see early pictures of this pope?

BECK: Yes.

KING: Whoa, steel blue eyes.

BECK: Yes.

KING: And the guy I`d like to do is Castro, because he fascinates me.

BECK: Better hurry on that one.

KING: I know. When you -- we`re getting close. When you can run a country for more years than anybody ever ran a country in this century, the 20th century until now, you`ve got to -- there`s got to -- somebody likes him.

BECK: I don`t really know who that would be.

KING: Except -- no, but the weird part is he doesn`t go out with bodyguards. He doesn`t walk down the street. There`s not a lot of super secret service around him. He goes out fishing alone, goes to baseball games.

BECK: Why won`t they do the interview or why haven`t they yet?

KING: Don`t know.


KING: You keep trying.

BECK: Much more with Larry king in a minute.


KING: Is it still a kick when the man says, "Now, ladies and gentlemen" -- they don`t even say it anymore. You just walk out, right?

FRANK SINATRA, SINGER: No, they make an announcement.

KING: "Ladies and gentlemen, Frank Sinatra."

SINATRA: Still a kick.

KING: That`s still a kick?

SINATRA: Absolutely, and the first -- the first -- I swear on my mother`s soul, the first 40 -- the first four or five seconds I tremble every time I walk -- take the step and I walk out of the wing onto the stage.




SAMUEL L. JACKSON, ACTOR: I`m always frank and earnest with women. In New York I`m Frank, and in Chicago I`m Earnest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t get away from that guy. He`s everywhere.

KING: Are you saying this is a conspiracy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am saying this is a conspiracy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Baby, listen to this fascist gasbag.

KING: Tonight, an aid of Governor Jack Stanton has asked to join us in order to play a tape.


BECK: "Ghostbusters". You were everywhere. "Shrek."

KING: "Shrek", "Shrek 3".

BECK: What is the -- what is the favorite thing you`ve done in the movies?

KING: Probably the most fun I had doing was "America`s Sweethearts", because I get to yell at Catherine Zeta-Jones while Julia Roberts is looking on, and then she really puts me down and gets angry, and -- and then "Shrek". "Shrek" is right with that, because "Shrek" was such fun. I`m in "Shrek 2" and now "Shrek 3".


KING: Let me clue you in.


BECK: We were in the makeup chair and Larry said, "Yes, I just got off the phone with Jeffrey Katzenberg."

KING: I wasn`t boasting.

BECK: No, I know you weren`t. But I`m, like, yes, he calls me every day, too.

KING: He called me to tell me there was going to be a party for the cast of "Shrek".

You know what I`m proudest of in "Shrek"? At the end of "Shrek 2", they had -- in the DVD, they had a musical contest from all the characters. Each one sang a little song, and the public was asked to vote.

And I sang, my character, Doris the ugly stepsister, sang "Girls Just Want to Have Fun. They only want to have fun," and I won the DVD.

BECK: Did you really?

KING: Won. So they had a party at Spagos. And it was a big thrill to me. And in the new "Shrek 3", which Katzenberg said is even funnier than "Shrek 2" and "Shrek 1".

BECK: Ever want to play anybody but yourself?

KING: That`s the only time I have is Doris. Two Doris movies. I`m Larry B. King. I`m a "B" in Jerry Seinfeld`s "B Movie", coming in November.

BECK: Right.

KING: But I`ve always said that I`ve wanted to -- I`m tired of playing Larry King. You know, it`s easy to play Larry King. It ain`t hard. Al Pacino told me the only way it would work is if you play a continuing character throughout the movie. It could never work if it were a cameo, you just appeared in one scene.

BECK: You`re Larry King.

KING: Yes. But if you were the judge in a criminal trial they`re going to buy it.

BECK: That`s kind of like -- and see, this is, I think, the problem that Hollywood doesn`t understand with some of their activism. It`s not necessarily that people don`t want to watch the movies that they`re in, but you can`t -- like Martin Sheen, when he was in "The West Wing" for a while there, I wasn`t seeing -- I love Martin Sheen, and I love "The West Wing". But for a while you saw Martin Sheen and not Bartlett. Do you know what I mean?

KING: Why?

BECK: Because you are seeing them exposed so much as the actor. It`s the same thing really with you. It has not as much to do with politics.

KING: If you have a continuing role. What are you supposed -- what do you do if you`re Martin Sheen? What do you do? You`re playing the president.

BECK: I know.

KING: You`re getting paid well. This is your part. You`re Bartlett. It`s always Bartlett.

BECK: Right.

KING: George Bush is Bush; Clinton is Clinton. I mean, they are what they are. You`ve got a role to play.

BECK: Right.

KING: I don`t hang it up on Hollywood. I -- first of all, I know that you like to pick on Hollywood.

BECK: What?

KING: But I want to tell you something...

BECK: That`s why I get Fabio as guests, and you get everyone else.

KING: I don`t know how to break -- I don`t know how to break this to you, Glenn.

BECK: Yes.

KING: I like Fabio.

BECK: I do, too. But he`s the only guest. Him and Danny Bonaduce, that`s it.

KING: I don`t know how to break this to you.

BECK: Yes.

KING: There is no Hollywood. That`s like saying, "Oh, the media." Well, who`s the media? Is the media Glenn Beck and Larry King? Is the media Rush Limbaugh?

BECK: Hang on. Back...

KING: Who is the media? Who is Hollywood?

BECK: Back in just a second with Larry King.



MONICA LEWINSKY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE INTERN: It was a mutual relationship. It was a mutual, physical relationship and emotional. And...

KING: So if he was satisfied, you were satisfied?


KING: You never felt like, "I am some sort of slave to this."


KING: Is it hard to come back to this city? Is it hard to drive by the Watergate?

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I`ve never been in the Watergate, so it`s not a hard...

KING: Never been in?


NIXON: Other people were in there though, unfortunately.

KING: Did you ever think you might die?

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, although I didn`t just leave it to chance. I talked to my friend upstairs about that.


BECK: What did you think of him, Larry King?

KING: I liked him. He was a great storyteller. I love his wife. We`re very friendly, and I admired him a lot. Here`s a guy who had a career as an actor, a successful film actor. That took an ebb. And then, bam, he gets into politics, comes on strong.

He was a Democrat who became a Republican. You know that he gave the last great speech in 1948 in support of Harry Truman in a big rally in California? Truman won California. He had an extraordinary life. He lived a full life. And he was very easy -- you know what he didn`t have? Hate.

BECK: Yes.

KING: One of his best friends, Tip O`Neill was one of his best friends. They`d exchange jokes every day if they ripped each other apart.

BECK: Do you think our culture has changed in that? It seems to me that we are constantly dividing ourselves...

KING: Yes, we are.

BECK: ... by Democrats and Republicans, and I know so many Democrats I love.

KING: Maybe we play a part in that. Maybe your 24-hour news and tabloids and grab them, grab them, stab them. "What did you say?"

BECK: OK. Let me say something. Let me say something risky here at CNN. I`ve been thinking about it lately. I think one of the biggest problems with our country or maybe one of the biggest mistakes we`ve made is the 24-hour news cycle, and then to have a bunch of competing networks, because that is all it is. It`s grab the eyeballs.

KING: It`s free enterprise.

BECK: I know. I know there`s nothing you can do about it.

KING: It is what it is, you know? One thing I`ll say for CNN, and I mean this not just that I work here. I think we mostly are above the fray. I think -- I think we stand apart. I know that people criticize -- like to label us, and they say we`re like the Democrats. I`ve never seen that. I`ve never seen bias at CNN. I have friends that tell me, "You know, your network is anti-Israel." Give me an example. Never seen it.

BECK: I will tell you that I`ve seen bias here, but I`ve also seen bias at FOX.

KING: Bias at FOX?

BECK: But I don`t think it`s -- I don`t think it`s an evil, "Let`s call each other up." I think that`s just the way it happens. That`s the way people see it. People are people. You know what I mean? People are people.

KING: All news is subjective. For example...

BECK: Yes.

KING: ... tomorrow morning`s "New York Times" will have a front-page headline. That`s the product of a decision made by an editor, the front page editor, the city editor, and they`ll all combine together. They`ll argue the case. Some say, "No, no, I think this should be it," and somebody will win out, and that will be the headline. It`s not devious; it`s not designed. It`s that guy`s best opinion to what will attract you to the paper that day. And that`s true of "The Des Moines Register" and it`s true on the first item on CNN in the morning.

BECK: Everywhere. Absolutely. Absolutely. Here we are sitting at news, and I remember seeing the O.J. Simpson chase with you.

KING: Well, that was one of the wildest broadcasting nights in my life. One, I`m on in Washington. I`ve just interviewed a couple people talking about O.J. and the fact that he didn`t show up when he was supposed to appear, and suddenly there`s a car on the screen. It`s five to 10:00. I`m about to go off.

Someone comes in my ear and says, "That`s O.J. in that car. We`re going to stay with that car." Now, I don`t know -- I live there now, but I don`t know L.A. at the time. Someone brings me a map, so I`m sitting there with a map of L.A. I know that he`s on the San Diego freeway, and he`s heading towards Brentwood, and I`m following the car, 4,000 police cars. He`s got a gun in the car.

There was no broadcast like that. And I ran into so many people that were at airports, and at basketball games, and people were just -- and that was -- that was an example. That`s a broadcast. I`m proud of that, but that was flying by...

BECK: You know, I was thinking about it today, as I was remembering that broadcast. I remember watching you, and I was laying in my bed, and I thought, "My gosh, how many things have I seen with Larry King holding me by the hand, you know?"

KING: Witness to history.

BECK: Yes, so what is it for you that is a vivid memory? A lot of our memories are through your eyes. What was a vivid memory for you? Where were you, Oklahoma City bombing? Where were you, 9/11?

KING: 9/11, I got up in the morning. It was a little after 6:00 in L.A., and I got on my treadmill, and I hit the TV. And I saw the first building going up, and I swear I thought it was the commercial for Arnold Schwarzenegger`s movie, because I had seen him, and he told me he`s got a movie coming on terrorism.

BECK: Oh, I remember that.

KING: Logical thing to think that that was what it was. Then the other building hit, and everything. I woke up the family, and I walked around the streets, and the streets of Beverly Hills were weird.

And then the weird occurrence was two weeks later, I`m at Ground Zero, CNN. I`m watching it, and then two weeks later the fire commissioner is taking me through the rubble, and I`ve got Vicks vapor rub under my nose so I wouldn`t smell the smell, and I`m talking to firemen, and I started to cry. I lost it, because then I went to the burn center at New York Hospital, but I`m up with the firemen. And I said, "Why? Why do you do this? Why do you run into buildings that I run out of?" And he said, "It`s what I do."

BECK: I didn`t get the Vicks vapor rub, and I will never get that smell out of my -- I can smell it when I close my eyes. What a horrible, horrible, horrible...

KING: I`ll never forget. You`ll never forget. But that moment, standing there amidst that, you never forget that. Someone told me, though, another fireman told me, "You know why I became a fireman? Because people are always glad to see me. They`re not always glad to see cops."

BECK: I remember seeing the firemen come down that alleyway, and they were -- oh, they were so tired, and dirty, and just -- I remember, just my wife and I just stood there, and we just applauded.

KING: I went into the special of the firehouse here in the theater district that lost 15, I think 15 men on 9/11. And I went around, took my two little boys, and we went around the fire truck, and they had the pictures on the wall. And I interviewed a bunch of the firemen. And by the end, you`re all weeping, because, see, they do what we don`t do. This is easy.

BECK: Yes.

KING: Come on, what, are you kidding? This is easy.

BECK: Do you -- I mean, here`s a guy -- you`re a guy who has perspective. You`ve seen so much. It`s easy for us to drop in and say, "Oh, things are going to hell in a hand basket, and we`re so concerned," but somebody with perspective can say, "Relax." Are you concerned about the future of our country?

KING: No. One, we`re not going to hell in a hand basket. It`s easy to do that and wring our hands, but some people play to that. They play to fear. "Oh, times are terrible." I think...

BECK: You`re not talking about me, are you?

KING: I`m not talking about you. Mostly it occurs in -- a lot in left-wing radio and a lot in right-wing radio. They breed off raising the -- they raise the temperature. That`s part of the thing. "Hate him, hate him, hate her, hate her, he`s bad, he`s bad."

I have a lot of faith in the spirit of this country. I have a lot of faith in the people of this country. I love the Constitution in this country. I support the Constitution in this country. I believe in things people really don`t believe in. I believe in innocence before guilt. I believe in the presumption of innocence. I don`t find people guilty. I don`t make presumptions. I didn`t convict the guys on the Duke lacrosse team.

BECK: Good for you. You know, when you said that -- first of all, I think I just met your dad. I think you just -- I just met your dad.

KING: Thank you.

BECK: I just had this realization the other day about the Constitution. You know, I`m thinking about all the things that we`re facing and how we`re dividing ourselves in Washington, and then I smiled, because I thought, "My gosh, our founding fathers were amazing." They put the key -- did you ever see the movie "National Treasure"?

KING: Loved it. Just saw Nicolas Cage the other day.

BECK: Yes, me, too.

KING: They`re making "National Treasure 2." If you were in the hotel, he walked by...


BECK: They won`t even let me in that hotel.

KING: They`re making "National Treasure 2," him and Harvey Keitel are coming back.

BECK: But it`s kind of like that movie, where you`re looking at something, and then all of a sudden you see what the message was. And I`m thinking about the Constitution, and I`m thinking all the things that we have to fix and how do we do it, and then I realized, "My gosh, the founding fathers, not because it looked pretty, put the answer right there: We the people."

KING: But do you know, Glenn, like you were saying about the way we are today...

BECK: Yes.

KING: ... they were pretty wild, those guys.

BECK: Oh, I know they were.

KING: Their fights, they got into incredible fights.

BECK: I know. I know.

KING: They didn`t like each other.

BECK: I know.

KING: A lot of our great forefathers didn`t speak to each other.

BECK: The thing I love is the story between -- was it Adams and Jefferson, when they`re yelling and fighting back and forth, and basically George Washington grabs them both by the ears and says, "Knock it off. We are Americans first."

KING: And they died the same die, Adams and Jefferson. July 4th is the day they died, and Adams` last words are, "Jefferson lives."

BECK: Back with Larry King in just a minute.


BECK: Back with a man who has been celebrating 50 years in broadcasting. Thrilled to be with Larry King.

KING: Thank you, Glenn.

BECK: You and I sat backstage in the Green Room, and it was just the two of us in California, and we had a fantastic conversation. I don`t know if you remember it.

KING: I remember.

BECK: But we talked about a lot of things. The first thing I think you said to me is, "So you`re a Mormon." And I said, "Yes, sir, I am." And you said, "I married a Mormon." And I said, "Yes, sir, I know that." And we started talking about faith, and you said something to me -- you said faith -- or you didn`t say faith -- you said religion doesn`t really work for me if I engage my brain, and I start to think it just doesn`t work. Why is that?

KING: I was raised Jewish, and I observed all the things that Jewish people do, and their boys, and I was bar mitzvahed, and I prayed to God, and somewhere along the way I would talk to rabbis. I was 16, 17. I didn`t like God, the God of the Old Testament. Smite my enemies! Show me 10 good people! Get even!

My logic gets in the way. That`s what happens to me. Logic gets in the way of faith. Intellect gets in the way of faith. Here`s the truth: I`m an agnostic. I just don`t know. I`m amazed...

BECK: Did you look? Did you look?

KING: No, I didn`t search.


KING: I`m amazed that an atheist says, "No God." That`s amazing to me as a religious person saying, "Someone is looking down on me."

BECK: Right.

KING: Both things are to me amazing.

BECK: How did you meet your wife? She`s Mormon, and you told me you lived in Provo from time to time.

KING: We have our home in Provo.

BECK: I`m trying to think of Larry King in Provo.

KING: The whole family is Mormon. I`ll tell you what I like about them. Mormon people, much like Jewish people, are very family-oriented.

BECK: Yes.

KING: A lot of things with the children.

BECK: Yes.

KING: And sometimes they`re too herd together, if that`s the term.

BECK: Clannish.

KING: They`re clannish. Jews are clannish, too, but not like Mormons. Mormons really...

BECK: Brother Larry, we`ll welcome you at any time.

KING: I know. If you have some Jell-O, I`ll be over.


BECK: You have a child that is 50, and your youngest is 6?

KING: About to be 7.

BECK: About to be 7. Raising kids, 50 years ago, Dad had to be different. Even dads were different.


BECK: Even Dads were different.

KING: I mean, 50 years ago, Dad was doing three jobs, and running from here to there, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, and always skirmishing.

BECK: What is the biggest lesson you can have, for having those two glimpses at it, that you can pass on to say, "This is the secret of being a good dad"?

KING: Be there. Be there. And when you`re not there, I wasn`t there a lot for the three others growing up. I`m close to them now. But for the two little ones, I have become so there. You know, we have Dodger season tickets, and the boys sit on the dugout.

But like I came to New York, the truth, I came to New York, and here`s where they can get you, combination Mormon and Jew, and here`s where it`s killing. I`m leaving -- I`m in New York. Chance`s mother, my wife, Shawn, is coming to New York for the big celebration. Chance calls me on the phone. He`s 8. "Dad, this is the biggest week of your life, and you didn`t invite me. So I want to tell you something, Dad. At my next big event, please don`t come."

And I said, "Chance, you`re 8." "No, please don`t come. I am very hurt." He had to go to school. There will always be school.

BECK: Oh, that`s great.


BECK: Back with Larry King in just a second, and your phone calls, next.


BECK: It would not be the "LARRY KING LIVE" program -- which it`s not, but he`s here -- if we didn`t take some phone calls. Let`s go to Don in California. Don, you`re on with Larry King.


KING: Yes, Don?

RICKLES: I`m so excited. I can`t believe that I`m calling you. This is such a treat for me. I swear to God, I`m perspiring just knowing that you`re going to be celebrating 50 years on television, and I don`t know why. I don`t know why, Larry.

You really don`t deserve it. You`re a Jew from Miami, like I knew you, 45 years ago, looking for a lox and bagel sandwich.

BECK: I mean...

RICKLES: And now you`re skyrocketing with this big 50th anniversary party. Every star in the business is going to kiss up. And why? But I don`t need it, Larry. They begged me to do this. I`m sitting here on a couch waiting for a ball game to go on, and I`ve got to cut it out to talk to you, a guy I know, skyrocketing for no damn reason.

KING: Stop it. Stop it, Don!

RICKLES: I don`t need it, Larry. I hope you put on your glasses tonight and walk into a wall. How about that?


BECK: Now you might recognize Don Rickles.

KING: My dear, dear friend, Don Rickles...

RICKLES: Dear, dear friend, sure, sure.

KING: I want to see...

RICKLES: As soon as you got the job, everything, you walked away. That`s it. It`s over.

KING: Hey, wait a minute, Rickles. They don`t come any better than you. I would do anything for you. Anything.

RICKLES: You would? Well, run in front of a bus.


I can`t take it anymore, Larry, I swear to God. You`re on television every night with the suspenders, leaning over, spitting up on your guests. It`s annoying. They don`t want to tell you. I sincerely hope I`m going to be on your show so I can straighten out your life. I really mean that.

KING: You`re scheduled for a couple weeks from now.

RICKLES: Yes, what a schedule. Look at your paper and find out when I`m scheduled. I`m an act, not a train. OK. Listen, do me a favor, though. Go back and have them all call you and tell you how wonderful you are. And I spoke to your brother, you hear? And he`s very upset that he`s not in the will. I spoke to your brother, and he`s really upset.

BECK: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it. Bye-bye.

KING: He`s a national treasure.

BECK: I have to give you this, because we`re about to go, and I don`t know when -- I didn`t get to the question of when you decided, "No belt for me. I`ve got to go suspenders for the rest of my life," but I bet you don`t have these. They`re specially made suspenders with my face on it.

KING: Yes.

BECK: You think that`s a little too egotistical?

KING: Oh, no, that isn`t egotistical, Glenn.

BECK: Larry King, thank you, sir, and congratulations on 50 years.

KING: What if I wear these and someone shoots me?

BECK: What does that -- that`s not a good thing to say.

KING: Somebody doesn`t like you, thinks you`re me, and I`m you. "That must be Glenn Beck." Boom!

BECK: Thank you for being here, sir. We`ll see you again.

KING: Good night. Bye.


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