Art Linkletter Collection MS-0391

Ellen E. Jarosz
Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA 92182-8050

Contributing Institution: Special Collections & University Archives
Title: Art Linkletter Collection
Creator: Linkletter, Art (Arthur Gordon Linkletter)
Identifier/Call Number: MS-0391
Physical Description: 16.78 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1940-2005
Date (bulk): 1960-1979
Language of Material: English .

Scope and Contents

The Linkletter Collection documents Linkletter's professional career as a radio and television personality, author, and public figure. The papers date from approximately 1940-2005, with the bulk of documents created in the 1960s and 1970s. The collection consists of subject files, scrapbooks, photographs, and memorabilia, and includes items in several differing media. The collection is divided into five series: Subject Files, Scrapbooks, Photographs, Memorabilia, and Media. The Memorabilia series includes three sub-series: General, Keys to Cities, and Plaques and Certificates. Aside from select recordings and highlight reels, the collection does not include the recordings of Linkletter's House Party radio and television series. Inquiries regarding the recordings of these programs should be addressed to the original production company or distributor: CBS (1952-1969), NBC (1969-1970), Screen Gems Television (1952-1970), or John Guedel Productions.
The Subject Files are arranged alphabetically by file title, and date from 1939-2005. These files document numerous television and radio programs that Art Linkletter was involved with, including The Art of Positive Thinking, House Party, and People are Funny, as well as other projects he involved himself in throughout his career. The series contains few records from Linkletter's very early career, or from his very late career, but is strong in documenting the middle of his career. The series includes scripts, teleplays, all correspondence in the collection, some marketing and promotional materials, and press clippings.
The Scrapbooks document Linkletter's advertising career, and the interaction between Linkletter, his family, and the media. One scrapbook documents Linkletter's anti-drug work, consisting of letters written to Mr. Linkletter from elementary school children in Appleton, Wisconsin, thanking Mr. Linkletter for speaking at their school. The scrapbooks are arranged numerically by scrapbook number.
The Photographs document Mr. Linkletter's varied career, including images of him shooting television specials with children, with Ronald Reagan, or Richard Nixon, and appearing on Great American Game Show. Most of the images are undated, and most individuals are unidentified.
The Memorabilia are arranged in three separate sub-series: General, Keys to Cities, and Plaques and Certificates. The General Memorabilia sub-series documents Linkletter's involvement in numerous community events, including the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and Friars Club. The Keys to Cities sub-series includes keys Linkletter was gifted from large and small cities and towns across the United States, and the Plaques and Certificates subseries includes numerous awards, certificates, plaques, honorary degrees, and other special recognition Linkletter received over his long career.
The Media series includes materials in various non-paper-based media. Several LPs, as well as books on tape and DVD's are included which document several of Linkletter's television, radio, and film performances throughout his career, as well as his subsequent career as a writer.

Arrangement Note

I. Subject Files, 1939-2005
II. Scrapbooks
III. Photographs
IV. Memorabilia
     1. General
     2. Keys to Cities
     3. Plaques and Certificates
V. Media

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Source of Acquisition

Art Linkletter

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, folder title, box number, Art Linkletter Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, San Diego State University Library.

Biographical Note

Arthur Gordon Linkletter was born July 17, 1912, in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. He was abandoned by his parents immediately after his birth, and adopted as an infant. He moved to Lowell, Massachusetts with his adoptive parents, and then migrated to California at the age of three. Linkletter attended high school in San Diego, where he was a star basketball player and swimmer. He graduated when he was 15, and subsequently spent 3 years drifting from state to state, working as a bus boy, meatpacker, and sailor until he was 18 years old. In 1930 he returned to California to attend San Diego State College. He participated in a wide number of extracurricular and athletic activities while at State, and graduated in 1934 with degrees in English and Psychology.
KGB, a local radio station, offered Linkletter a job as a radio announcer during his junior year at San Diego State. During the 1930s he participated in hundreds of radio programs, including one of the nation's first man-in-the-street programs, which in turn led to one of the first live audience shows in radio. He was eventually promoted to Chief Announcer at KGB, and in 1942 decided to move to Hollywood and explore other opportunities in the radio and entertainment industries. While there he met John Guedal, with whom he partnered to create two of radio's most memorable and popular productions – House Party and People Are Funny.
In the early 1950s Art Linkletter adapted both House Party and People Are Funny to the small screen, thus embracing the new medium of television, while continuing to air the programs on the radio. House Party ran on CBS for 25 years, and People are Funny aired on NBC for 19 years. Throughout these years he created several hare-brained audience participation shows, including Inside Beverly Hills (1955) and The Art Linkletter Show (1961). He was especially adept at interviewing children, whose unrehearsed and sometimes painfully honest remarks formed the basis of several popular shows including the television adaptations of House Party and People are Funny. These long-standing stints on radio and television have given Linkletter a trustworthy, easygoing, and honest image, which has made him an ideal spokesman for a variety of consumer products including breakfast cereals, canned foods, tobacco, and even new neighborhoods in suburbs across America.
Throughout his career, Linkletter has published books, articles, websites, and speeches on various subjects. He has written over 26 different books, the first of which appeared in 1947 and is eponymous with his most popular show, People Are Funny. His more recent interest in senior health and well-being prompted the book, Old Age is Not For Sissies, which was published in 1988. He has published two autobiographies, Confessions of a Happy Man (1960) and I Didn't Do It Alone (1980). Linkletter's most popular book, Kids Say the Darndest Things, has illustrations drawn by Charles Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts cartoons.
Art Linkletter is often referred to as "America's Grandfather" and is renowned and trusted for his work with children because of the carefully constructed questions and lighthearted interviewing style that endeared him to many Americans during his long career in show business. His own family began with his marriage to Lois Foerster in 1935. Linkletter always credits his family (which now includes 8 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren) as the primary joy of his life. He and his family have borne tragedy with the premature deaths of two of his children. His daughter's death in 1969 prompted him to begin national and international dialog about the reasons for drug use and abuse in our everyday lives.
Linkletter sat on the boards of directors for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Western Airlines, and Kaiser Hospitals. In 1979 he served on the President's National Advisory Council for Drug Abuse Prevention, the Presidential Commission to Improve Reading in the US, the National Coordinating Council on Drug Abuse Education and Information, was the Ambassador of Goodwill Abroad for the US Department of Commerce, and a member of the US National Commission for UNESCO.
Later in life, Linkletter owned and ran at least eight businesses, built and managed public storehouses, office buildings, livestock operations, real estate development, and cattle and sheep stations in Australia. Linkletter Oil Enterprises has operated throughout South America and the US. He sat on the YMCA's board of directors, the Boy Scouts of America's public relations committee, chaired the John Douglas French Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease board, and served as the United Seniors Association's National Spokesman. He passed away in 2010.



Subjects and Indexing Terms

Audio Recordings
Personal Papers
Video Recordings
Entertainers--United States--Biography--Sources
Radio programs--United States
Television programs--United States
Cable, John Rufus--Mental health
Linkletter, Art, 1912--Archives
San Diego State University--Alumni and alumnae--Biography--Sources


Subject Files I

box 1, folder 1

Advertisements Folder 1

box 1, folder 2

America: Cavalcade of a Nation Folder 2 September 1940

box 1, folder 3

Art of Positive Thinking Folder 3 1978-1979

box 1, folder 4

Positive Thinking - Distributors Folder 4

box 1, folder 5

Positive Thinking 1980 Demo Copy and 1981 Fact Sheet Folder 5 1980, 1981

box 1, folder 6

Art of Positive Thinking Index/Cues Folder 6

box 1, folder 7

Art of Positive Thinking Scripts Masters Folder 7

box 1, folder 8

Art of Positive Thinking Scripts Masters Folder 8

box 1, folder 9

Art of Positive Thinking Program Titles Folder 9

box 1, folder 10

Art of Positive Thinking Week 1-27 Folder 10

box 1, folder 11

Art of Positive Thinking Scripts Week 1-16 Folder 11

box 1, folder 12

Art of Positive Thinking Scripts Week 17-28 Folder 12

box 1, folder 13

Art of Positive Thinking Scripts Week 29-39 Folder 13

box 1, folder 14

Art of Positive Thinking Week 40-52 Folder 14

box 2, folder 1

Australian Bicentennial Folder 1

box 2, folder 2

General Electric (GE) Theatre - Badge of Honor Folder 2

box 2, folder 3

Calendar of Art's little links Folder 3 1980

box 2, folder 4

Cavalcade of the Golden West Script Folder 4

box 2, folder 5

Closing Day Ceremonies on Treasure Island Folder 5

box 2, folder 6

Correspondence and miscellaneous documents Folder 6 January 1989 - May 1989

box 2, folder 7

A Date at Eight Folder 7

box 2, folder 8

Father of the Bride - Play Folder 8

box 2, folder 9

Game of Life Folder 9

box 2, folder 10

Hello, Australia Hello, New Zealand Folder 10

box 2, folder 11

Hollywood Reporter Folder 11

box 2, folder 12

House Party Folder 12

box 2, folder 13

General Electric House Party Folder 13

box 2, folder 14

House Party Program Promotion Folder 14 Fall 1953

box 2, folder 15

Income tax return Folder 15

box 2, folder 16

KECA (radio station) dedication Folder 16

box 2, folder 17

Kids are Funny Folder 17

box 2, folder 18

Kids are Funny: Chevy Special Folder 18

box 2, folder 19

Kids Say the Darndest Things! Folder 19

box 2, folder 20

Kids Say the Darndest Things! Folder 20

box 2, folder 21

Linkletter on Success, Happiness & Positive Thinking Folder 21

box 2, folder 22

"Look Who's Here" Folder 22

box 3, folder 1

Love is Funny Folder 1

box 3, folder 2

Miscellaneous Folder 2

box 3, folder 3

News Releases Folder 3

box 3, folder 4

Newspaper Clipping Folder 4

box 3, folder 5

The Odd Ball Folder 5

box 3, folder 6

People are Funny Folder 6

box 3, folder 7

Pepperdine Folder 7

box 3, folder 8

Positive Living Folder 8

box 3, folder 9

The Quiz Kids Folder 9

box 3, folder 10

Radio/Wagon Train Folder 10

box 3, folder 11

Screen Actors Guild Folder 11

box 3, folder 12

Shell Comes to the Party Folder 12

box 3, folder 13

Sierra Dawn Estates Folder 13

box 3, folder 14

TIME - 1951 Year in Review Folder 14 2001

box 3, folder 15

The Tommy Dorsey Show Folder 15

box 3, folder 16

Treasure Island Folder 16

box 3, folder 17

Turning Scars into Stars Folder 17

box 3, folder 18

Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Folder 18

box 3, folder 19

Miss Western America Folder 19

box 3, folder 20

Album with Hour of Power Folder 20


Scrapbooks II

box 3, folder 22

Appleton, Wisconsin Folder 22

box 4, folder 1

Scrapbook 2 Folder 1

box 4, folder 2

Scrapbook 2, loose materials Folder 2

box 4, folder 3

Copies of Scrapbook 4 Folder 3

box 5, item 1

Aborigines reacting to the sprinkler system at Anna Plains Item 1

box 5, item 2

"No damper like that at the Waldorf, mate!" Item 2

box 5, item 3

New Year's Eve party in Esperance wool shed Item 3

box 5, item 4

John Hagon's truck going to Esperance Item 4

box 5, item 5

Serious Sketch - Anna Plains Homestead Item 5

box 5, item 6

Progress on the eighty mile beach Item 6

box 5, item 7

Head shearer entering personal limousine at Esperance Item 7

box 5, item 8

"Chucks us out when the cheques cut out" - shearing crew on bender Item 8

box 5, item 9

Jeep and greyhound pursuing emu Item 9

box 5, item 10

"One kangaroo and a heap of dirt" Item 10

box 5, item 11

Night kangaroo hunt Item 11

box 5, item 12

Emus in the grain field Item 12

box 5, item 13

Mulesing Item 13

box 5, item 14

The rabbit hunter and her dingo Item 14

box 5, item 16

United States plutocrat blowing cigar smoke at Esperance ram Item 16

box 5, item 17

Converting the telegraph line to fence line Item 17

box 5, item 18

Aborigines studying telegraph line Item 18

box 5, item 19

Serious sketch - first school house at Esperance Item 19

box 5, item 20

Formal sketch - entrance to Linkletter's Place Item 20

box 5, item 21

Hagon's original homestead at Esperance - "Does it look like the Rockefeller Estate?" Item 21

box 5, item 22

Broken down tractor and the relaxed driver at Esperance Item 22

box 5, item 23

Two Hollywood Pioneers pursuing the plow and waiting for the seed to come up Item 23

box 5, item 24

Starting the plows at Esperance Item 24

box 5, item 25

Three Aussies and Allan Chase - "you gonna turn this town into a thrivin' metropolis?" Item 25

box 5, item 26

American experts arrive at Anna Plains Item 26

box 5, item 27

Linkletter Cometh Item 27

box 5, item 28

"We're one shy on the fencin' team" Item 28

box 5, item 29

"'ands up all those that want soup!" Item 29

box 5, item 30

Ladie's Dart Night - Junction race Meeting Item 30

box 5, item 31

"People are bloody funny" - Arrival of Hollywood Pioneers at Darwin Item 31

box 5, item 32

Barmaid - "make up your bloody mind!" Item 32

box 5, item 33

Serious sketch of a Northwest Hotel Item 33

box 5, item 34

Chase on Condingup - "There you are Art! That's all yours!" Item 34

box 5, item 35

Esperance Beach - a sketch Item 35

box 5, item 36

Rugby on the Air Field Item 36

box 5, item 37

The Wet Item 37

box 5, item 38

Art and the DC-3 - "in that" Item 38

box 5, item 39

The Dry Item 39

box 5, item 40

Low tide at Broome Item 40

box 5, item 41

The Croc Hunters Item 41

box 5, item 42

Mustering '67 (puncher and dog on Italian skooter) Item 42

box 5, item 43

Man under the "bottle" tree Item 43

box 5, item 44

Dry to the Wet Item 44

box 5, item 45

Rice (Machine Gunner - "Go on, just one more grain!" Item 45

box 5, item 46

Rice (Dive Bombing Geese) Item 46

box 5, item 47

Rice (Planter with Buffalo, Croc, and Goose) Item 47

box 5, item 48

Nor-West Waterhole (a serious sketch) Item 48

box 5, item 49

Native animals looking over the fence at the lush fields of Linkletter's Place Item 49

box 5, item 50

Various sketches Item 50

box 6, item 1

Scrapbook: 60 Years of Advertising Item 1

box 7, item 1

Linkletter with Richard Nixon Item 1

box 7, item 2

Linkletter on phone Item 2

box 7, item 3

Linkletter sitting at a desk Item 3

box 7, item 4

Linkletter with Richard Nixon Item 4

box 7, item 5

Linkletter with Richard Nixon Item 5

box 7, item 6

Lois Linkletter with Richard Nixon Item 6

box 7, item 7

Linkletter blindfolded with showgirls Item 7

box 7, item 8

Linkletter with Pat Nixon Item 8

box 7, item 9

Linkletter at 1973 Inauguration Item 9

box 7, item 10

Linkletter diving into swimming pool Item 10

box 7, item 11

Linkletter on phone Item 11

box 7, item 12

Linkletter in his older days Item 12

box 7, item 13

Linkletter sitting and posing Item 13

box 7, item 14

Linkletter sitting and posing Item 14

box 7, item 15

Caricature of Linkletter with drama mask Item 15

box 7, item 16

Linkletter with Richard Nixon Item 16

box 7, item 17

Linkletter with Thomas H. Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations Item 17

box 7, item 18

Linkletter at a meeting Item 18

box 7, item 19

Linkletter with Richard Nixon Item 19

box 7, item 20

Linkletter with Richard Nixon Item 20

box 7, item 21

Linkletter with Richard Nixon Item 21

box 7, item 22

Linkletter with Richard Nixon Item 22


Photographs III

box 3, folder 20

Photos Folder 20

box 3, folder 21

Photos Folder 21

box 8, item 1

Photo of Linkletter and companions at a ski retreat Item 1


Memorabilia IV


General 1

box 9, item 1

Grand Marshall Ribbon for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Item 1 Janaury 1, 2003

box 9, item 2

First Place Medal for 55-PLUS Competition Item 2

box 9, item 3

"Linkletter" brand plastic closure bottles (4) Item 3

box 9, item 4

Card for Eaton International Corporation Item 4

box 9, item 5

Pin from Pineville, Louisiana Item 5

box 9, item 6

Badge for Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association Item 6

box 9, item 7

Pin for Grand Marshall of Rose Parade Item 7 2003

box 9, item 8

Membership card for Friar's Club Item 8

box 9, item 9

Art Linkletter Hollywood cards (2 copies) Item 9

box 9, item 10

Presidential Sports Award for Swimming Item 10

box 9, item 11

Mardi Gras tokens (4) Item 11


Keys to Cities 2

box 10, item 1

A collection of keys awarded to Linkletter from various cities. Item 1

box 11, item 1

A collection of keys awarded to Linkletter from various cities. Item 1


Plaques and Certificates 3

box 12, item 1

Young Men's Christian Association of Hollywood Certificates of Recognition as a Member of the Handball Team (2) Item 1 June 1947, June 1948

box 12, item 2

"House Party" - 22nd Anniversary of Gateway Arch Item 2

box 12, item 3

Scripps Memorial Hospital - The Mcdonald Center Item 3 January 11, 1984

box 12, item 4

11th Annual Achievement Award for Humanitarian Efforts on Behalf of Alternative Living for the Aging Item 4 June 11, 1992

box 13, item 1

Honorary Citizen Certificate for Dallas, Texas Item 1 May 19, 1988

box 13, item 2

Overseas Flight Certificate Item 2 July 31, 1949

box 13, item 3

NBC Network Certificate for Appointed Honorary Professor at the College of Musical Knowledge Item 3 August 21, 1946

box 13, item 4

Grand Marshal Plaque for the Long Beach Veterans Day Parade Item 4 November 11, 2000

box 13, item 5

Armand Arabian Leaders in Public Servce award Item 5

box 13, item 6

Hearts Across the Valley pioneer award Item 6 February 6, 2004

box 14, item 1

Salvation Army Humanitarian Award Item 1

box 14, item 2

Certificate of Appreciation from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Item 2 August 2001

box 14, item 3

Grand Marshal of the Pacific Palisades Americanism Parade Item 3 July 4, 2002

box 14, item 4

Los Angeles County Award of Honor Item 4 June 1971

box 14, item 5

Special Presenter at the 50th Annual Lulu Awards Show Item 5 April 25, 1996

box 15, item 1

World War II Veterans Committee California Donor Certificate Item 1 2004

box 15, item 2

University of Redlands Citation Item 2

box 15, item 3

Appreciation plaque from SDSU Item 3

item 1

The Disney Legends Award Item 1 2005


Media V

box 18, item 1

The Art of Positive Thinking, Service Reel #22 Item 1

box 18, item 2

The Art of Positive Thinking, Service Reel #28 Item 2

box 18, item 3

The Art of Positive Thinking, Service Reel #29 Item 3

box 18, item 4

Art Linkletter, Jack Linkletter, Merv Griffin, 3 Inch Reel Item 4 July 22, 1971

box 18, item 5

Gene Autry's "Merry Texas Christmas, You All!", 10 inch Record Item 5

box 18, item 6

Art Linkletter in "How Jerry Jalopy got his Horn", 10 inch record Item 6

box 18, item 7

Art Linkletter in "Pets are Funny", 10 inch record Item 7

box 18, item 8

Principles for Successful Living, 12 cassette tapes Item 8

box 18, item 9

Interview with Bob Hope - "The Women in My Life"; Interview with Art Linkletter - "The Secret World of Kids", double-sided 12 inch record Item 9

box 18, item 10

How to Bend a Twig, 12 inch record Item 10

box 18, item 11

Art Linkletter narrates The Bible, 12 inch record Item 11

box 18, item 12

Art Linkletter narrates the story of Where Did You Come From?, 12 inch record Item 12

box 18, item 13

Let's Play Games with Art Linkletter, 12 inch record (2 copies) Item 13

box 18, item 14

Christmas with Art Linkletter, 12 inch record Item 14

box 18, item 15

Request Performance to Art Linkletter, 12 inch record Item 15

box 18, item 16

Linkletter audio recordings on CD Item 16

Scope and Contents

Files: 81yearsold.wav aging-3ages.wav book-kids book-kids say.wav Business.wav funniest1.wav funniest2.wav SDSU SDSU Aging.wav spend_timewithyour_child.wav split1.wav split2.wav split3.wav split4.wav split5.wav split6.wav
box 19, item 1

CBS at 75, DVD Item 1 November 2, 2003

box 19, item 2

Kids Say the Darndest Things, Funniest Moments Series Item 2

box 19, item 3

Kids Say the Darndest Things! starring Art Linkletter Item 3

box 19, item 4

Art Linkletter's House Party, 4 Promotion reels and 2 slides Item 4 Fall 1953

box 20, item 1

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 1 Item 1

box 20, item 2

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 2 Item 2

box 20, item 3

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 3 Item 3

box 20, item 4

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 4 Item 4

box 20, item 5

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 5 Item 5

box 20, item 6

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 6 Item 6

box 20, item 7

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 7 Item 7

box 20, item 8

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 8 Item 8

box 20, item 9

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 9 Item 9

box 20, item 10

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 11 Item 10

box 20, item 11

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 13 Item 11

box 20, item 12

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 17 Item 12

box 20, item 13

The Art of Positive Thinking, Reel 18 (2 copies) Item 13

box 21, item 1

The Art of Positive Thinking, Film reel Item 1


Published Works (magazines, books, miscellaneous) VI

box 4, folder 4

Published Works Folder 4