TV talk show transcripts -- ''Donahue,'' ''Sally Jessy Raphael,'' and ''Oprah'' all make great reads

Geraldo Rivera had just finished grilling female impersonators on the intimate details of their lives. As the closing credits rolled up the television screen, along came this message: ”For a transcript of this program, send $3 to ” So we did. In fact, we sent away for dozens: lesbian mothers (Donahue), women who slept with their sisters’ husbands (The Oprah Winfrey Show), prostitutes and their families (Sally Jessy Raphaël). Turns out we weren’t the only ones.

”We get about 30,000 requests a month,” says Jim Smith, president of Journal Graphics Inc., the 15-year-old New York City firm that produces transcripts for about 40 TV talk and public-affairs shows. ”If it weren’t for us, all these programs would just disappear.” Smith says the most requested transcripts are for programs with ”personally compelling” themes. ”Connie Chung’s recent show on breast implants did very well — we got about 2,000 requests for that one. Geraldo’s show on the secrets of great sex was another big seller.”

Journal Graphics’ catalog has transcripts of shows on just about every topic imaginable, from housewife hookers to sexy senior citizens. After poring over stacks of tantalizing transcripts, we found five we just couldn’t put down. Here, TV good enough to read:

Show: Sally Jessy Raphaël
Title: ”Men Who Know What Turns Women On”
Date: July 19, 1990
Subject: Pickup techniques
Rock Spencer (”Says He Knows What Turns Women On”): I guess I’m (a) surprise fiend. I kind of do things that you don’t expect.
Raphaël: Like what?
Spencer: Well, I’ve been known to take people’s — well, a woman’s — shoe off in the movies and stick it in my mouth, if she has nice feet, of course.
Dr. Larry Ashkinazy (”Says He Knows What Turns Women On”): I hope those floors are clean.
Spencer: Really. You have to take her shoe off.
Ashkinazy: Oh.
Spencer: Not if she’s running around barefoot. You know, it’s a surprise type thing. You know, I just — I’m more into pleasing.
Rick Gilbert (”Says He Knows What Turns Women On”): Can I just say, we all don’t do that, either.
Raphaël: Give me another example.
Spencer: Another example? Okay, I just happen to have a little prop here. [Pulls out swim fins and goggles.] Once I came to the bedroom in only swim fins and goggles.
Raphaël: Why?
Spencer: Why? Well, because when I skin dive, I skin dive.

Show: Donahue
Title: ”Catching Your Mate in Bed With Someone Else”
Date: Nov. 2, 1989
Subject: Infidelity
”Joseph” (”Caught Wife With Another Man”): At the foot of the bed were a pair of men’s tennis shoes, at the head of the bed was a man’s jacket. And in the closet was the man…
Phil Donahue: Now, what did your wife do? Did she leave the bedroom immediately on the occasion of your entrance? What did she say to you, when she saw you?
”Joseph”: I asked her what was going on. She said, ”Nothing.” I said, ”What’s all this stuff?” She said, ”It’s not what you think it is.” She walked into the living room. I said, ”Who’s in the closet?” She said, ”Nobody.”
Donahue: You just knew. The door was closed, and you knew somebody was…
”Joseph”: Sure. Sure…. So finally he came out of the closet — in more ways than one, I guess. And, at that point, I said to, you know, whatever his name was, ”You’d better leave, because one of us will die if you stay.” So he put on his pants and went outside and left.

Show: Oprah Winfrey Show
Title: “Married to a Jerk”
Date: Nov. 17, 1989
Topic: Loser spouses
Audience Member: Yes, Oprah. I’d like to tell you about my husband. I think he’s a jerk. I’m a wonderful wife, and he had an affair on me when I went to visit my mother in California, and I was supposed to be gone for three weeks. I was gone for four days, and I came home to a house that was a disaster. My husband wasn’t there. Bed unraveled. Clothes here. Clothes there. And I think he’s a jerk, and he ruined a good thing…. This is the jerk. This is my husband.
Winfrey: [later, addressing husband] Wait. Wait. Wait. Hold it. Hold it. [crosstalk] I would like to know about this trip that she went to take to her mother’s, the three-week trip, and came back in four days. Surprised?
Husband: Very. Very.
Audience Member: Oh, he was very surprised. When I came home, I called and called from the airport and at the bus station…. Nobody was there, and I seen a phone number written on a — my kitchen table. I called that and asked what residence it was. She gave me the residence. I said, “Thank you,” hung up, called back to ask for Tim. Tim answered, and I said, “Hello, darling. I’m home,” and slammed the phone. The next — the next second — the next second, the phone rang, and I answered it, “Cotton residence,” and it was my husband… and he called me back, and he was back — he came back to the house in about three seconds, it was. I think he must have drove 100 miles an hour.

Show: Sally Jessy Raphaël
Title: “Feuding Sisters”
Date: May 10, 1990
Subject: Family problems
Tonie White (“Feuding Sister”): She’s telling people that I’ve done all these terrible things, that I’m gay.
Tammy Ray (“Feuding Sister”): And were you not?
White: No, I was not.
Ray: Were you not?
White: No, I was not.
Ray: You can sit here and honestly say you were not gay?
White: No, I was not.
Ray: Girl, you’d better look in the mirror.
White: I was not. Just because I had gay friends, doesn’t mean I —
Ray: You were sleeping with women. Don’t give me that crap.
White: I was not. I have two children.
Ray: Right, right. Let’s be honest.
White: I have two children.
Ray: Let’s go back when you lived in my house.
White: Hey, Tammy, I was not gay. Just because all my friends —
Ray: Right, right.
White: I — I left, and I went to California. When I came back, for my senior year of high school, all my friends were gay.
Ray: She’s lying.
White: That doesn’t make me gay.
Ray: She is lying.
White: That does not make me gay.
Ray: May 21st, 1983 —
White: I do not look gay, do I? I am not gay.
Ray: May 21st, 1983. I know this day, because my twins were born on this day. I got up in the morning, and her and her girlfriend were in my house, sleeping together. Do not lie.
White: Tammy, I am not lying.
Ray: You are lying.
White: See —
Ray: You lie like a dog.
White: See how she is. She does nothing that — go and say s— like that.
Ray: You lie. I cannot believe you can honestly sit here —
White: You are a b—-.

Show: Nightline
Title: ”A National Town Meeting on Wall Street and the Economy”
Date: Nov. 6, 1987
Subject: Economics
Ted Koppel: To help me explain about some of the terms that we will be using throughout the course of this evening, we have enlisted the support of, how do I refer to you, Mr. the Frog?
Kermit the Frog: No, no, actually, you could just call me Kermit, please.
Koppel: Let’s get right to it, if we can, Kermit. Talk to me about we constantly refer to ”the market,” as though we all knew what ”the market” was. You do.
Kermit: Well, if you wanted to know the definition of the term market, or stock market, as we say, it’s basically very simple, it’s just where the brokers buy and sell stocks.
Koppel: Well, what about some of those other terms you hear connected with the market, like the ”bull market” or the ”bear market”?
Kermit: Oh. Well, you see, if you wanted to ask about them I have experts — for the bear market, for instance, we have Fozzie Bear.
Fozzie Bear: Yes, Ted, well, thank you, thank you, and thank you, and thank you.
Koppel: Well, Fozzie, what is a bear market?
Fozzie: Yes, Ted, well, thank you, being a bear myself, that is one of the first things we bears are taught in the caves. As I recall, a bear market is where prices are going down for a long period of time. Thank you.
Kermit: The bull market, by contrast, is the market where the stocks are generally going up.
Koppel: So one would wish, I suppose, for a bull market to drive the bears out?
Fozzie: No, no, we don’t want that, we never want that

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