Monday, January 24, 2005
The king of late night is gone, and I imagine the outpouring of fans and loved ones is going to be unparalleled. It figures that I would mention Johnny Carson here in the blog just a couple of days earlier. At the studio the other day we were just talking about watching the Tonight Show as kids, seeing Johnny smoke on the set, how long the show was (an hour and a half!) and so on. Even when a boring guest was on and I was falling asleep, I'd still keep the tv set on-- who knows, that capricious Bob Hope might bust into someone's interview with his "Mind if I play through" walk on, carrying a golf club. Or you might get to see Uri Geller come on and try to bend a spoon with his mind while James Randi doubted from the sidelines (or as in the above picture, Ricardo Montalban I believe). The only disappointment I ever had was that during one of the times when Johnny would take vacation and use a guest host, I wanted to see Ed MacMahon move over to the main seat and do the job, because in my mind that's the way the hierarchy should have worked. And if Ed was also gone, then Doc Severinsen would have to step up to bat.
I had the idea from childhood on that someday I might get to be a guest on the show. I don't know why I thought that, unless I thought that I might be one of those oddballs who collected potatoes shaped like American presidents or something. Or maybe I'd invent something, or become an animal handler, that would get me on there. And I could come on and bump the previous guest over to the couch with Ed because you weren't allowed to leave the show early back then without a damn good reason. That's a whole hour and a half you might have to listen to Buddy Hackett (or Jackie Mason!) slur his way through a story or Rich Little do his one voice that covered all celebrities, just to get to Tiny Tim's wedding. But I'd know I'd arrived--in Burbank at least-- because I'd have done the Carson show.
My favorite skit was Carnak. It got the most use out of Ed, including his famous laugh, and I just loved that turban.