From Fidel Castro to Michael Jackson, Barbara Walters has had her share of memorable interviews. And when you’ve shined your soft focus light on so many celebrities and famous figures, inevitably you’re bound to cross paths with a few random pop culture characters. Over the course of her long career, Walters and her many imitators have interviewed a handful of fictional folks in between chats with real world luminaries. To celebrate Barbara stepping down from her hosting duties on The View, here’s a look at a few of her stranger interviews.
That time she made the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cry
This historic interview took place in 1991 during Barbara’s annual Oscar special. After talking to General “Stormin'” Norman Schwarzkopf (seriously), Barbara sat down with Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael (Splinter only grants on-camera interviews to Ted Koppel) as part of the promotion for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. In the probing interview, the Turtles blame reptile prejudice for their lack of Oscar nominations (yeah, that’s it…) and break down into tears after Barbara asks if they know who their parents are. The gang’s over-the-top display of emotion is more than a little insulting to their foster dad Splinter. He raised five turtles on his own in a sewer. Give a single father a break, guys.
As you can imagine, Barbara didn’t exactly love being called a “dudette” by Michelangelo on a dank-looking sewer set. In 2010, she said she doesn’t “want to go down in history for interviewing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and blamed their wet tears for ruining her dress. Barbara should’ve followed the lead of fellow journalist April O’Neil and worn a yellow jumpsuit to the interview. Or she could’ve relaxed and enjoyed herself like Oprah did.
That time she chatted with Godzilla on SNL
Barbara Walters has been on TV for so long, she’s had several generations of SNL stars impersonate her baby-voiced interview style. Gilda Radner did it first, with her “Baba Wawa” character. In 1977, Baba Wawa sat down with current movie star Godziwwa, er, Godzilla (John Belushi) for a heartfelt interview that revealed that the giant lizard came from a broken home. Even Godzilla isn’t immune to the soft focus power of Baba Wawa.
That time she got deep with 30 Rock‘s Jenna Maroney
Remember waaay back during the first season of 30 Rock when Rachel Dratch turned up as various characters? No? Well, she did. It was kind of weird, even for 30 Rock. Anyway, here she is reprising her Barbara Walters impression from SNL during Jenna Maroney’s (Jane Krakowski) appearance on The View promoting her movie The Rural Juror.
That time she co-hosted with a Muppet
If you plan to have a career in television news or infotainment, it’s a good bet that at some point you will be forced to share a studio with at least one member of The Muppets. (Seriously, they might as well teach a class on Muppet interaction at journalism schools.) As part of the Disney-owned ABC, Barbara has probably spent more time with Kermit and Miss Piggy than the late Jim Henson ever did at this point. But our favorite Barbara meets The Muppets moment was when she cohosted the news magazine “25/25” with blue collar puppet Sully for the Sesame Street 25th Anniversary Special. Hey, he’s more charismatic than Hugh Downs.
That time she gabbed about a plot point on Nashville
As proof of the rule that only Disney-owned TV shows exist in the world of Disney-owned TV shows, Barbara and the gang from The View played themselves on a recent episode of ABC’s Nashville. While Babs might consider her Turtles interview to be her career nadir, pretending that a viral video starring the daughter of Connie Britton’s country music star character is actual news has to be pretty close.
That time she reported on Kraven the Hunter’s Madison Square Garden show
While it’s never explicitly stated, I’m pretty sure that’s a young Babs reporting on Kraven the Hunter’s arrival in the Big Apple in this Spider-Man newspaper strip from the 1970s. It’s also safe to say that floor director got canned for calling her “lady.”