Jennifer Granholm in the "Dating Game" appearance from YouTube.com. (Courtesy: Detroit Free Press)
DETROIT (Det. Free Press) -- The buzz surrounding former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm about her enthusiastic speech to the Democratic National Convention may shift this week as a long-lost copy of her 1978 appearance on "The Dating Game" surfaced on YouTube.
"Let's give a hand for the cute and curvaceous Jennifer Granholm," the show's host, Jim Lange says as a 19-year-old Granholm, complete with big, blonde, Farrah Fawcett-like hair comes on stage to meet her three bachelors.
The show attracted many aspiring actors and actresses before they became stars, including Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Lindsay Wagner, Tom Selleck and Lee Majors. Granholm moved from British Columbia to California as a teenager with hopes of becoming an actress.
Marty Nislick, 67, of Bayside, N.Y., told the Free Press he came across the footage on the Facebook page of a friend who was one of the losing contestants on the show with Granholm.
Nislick said he saw it a while ago and then went back to the post several weeks ago and realized that the young blonde woman wearing high-waisted jeans, a light blue shirt with VERY puffy sleeves and suspenders was actually a fairly well known Michigan politician and now political talk show host.
He massaged the video, edited the commercials out and posted the video last week, two days after Granholm delivered the speech in Charlotte, N.C., that had her audience roaring their approval while stirring a spirited debate outside the arena on whether the former governor was over the top.
Still, Nislick said, his posting had nothing to do with the speech, which he said he enjoyed.
"I'm a Democrat of the liberal persuasion and I have always admired Jennifer Granholm," he said. "And she was 19 years old, so I think she could be excused for being on a stupid show."
He knew that Granholm had freely admitted being on the show during her political career and he didn't post it to embarrass her.
"I'm into politics and thought it was something that should be accessible for the record," he said.
Granholm acknowledged the appearance early in her political career, a biographical footnote that marked the zenith of her ill-fated post-high school attempt to make it as an actress in Los Angeles.
She usually made it clear that the experience was best left forgotten. Which made it a sort of holy grail for political opposition researchers trying to derail her rapid ascent in Michigan politics.
None succeeded. But it was perhaps inevitable in the Internet age that the tape would find its way onto YouTube.
In the show, Granholm asks the bachelors a number of questions including: asking one man to finish the poem "Roses are red, violets are orange. When I take a shower ..."
The man replied "I try the best that I can with my sponge." He didn't get picked.
Another question: Who was the most famous girl you've ever dated? The man said "Betty Boom Boom," who was appearing in a small theater nearby. He didn't get the nod either.
Granholm picked a guy named Steve, who described himself as a model and actor. They won a getaway to Palm Springs.
Liz Boyd, Granholm's spokeswoman when she was governor, said she sent a link of the footage to her old boss and talked with her Thursday afternoon.
"We laughed so hard we could barely say hello to each other," she said. "It is living proof that Governor was a teenager in the bad hair decade of the 1970s."
Granholm's agent encouraged her to go on the show, but she ended up never going on the date to Palm Springs, Boyd said, instead giving the prize to Steve for his enjoyment.
By Kathleen Gray and Dawson Bell, Detroit Free Press Staff Writers