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RIP Johnny Carson

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PostPosted: January 25, 2005 6:58 AM 

I never watch him, but since I know that he's been givin Jerry his first chances and starts, I think we should all be thankfull to him.

Cockeyed Optimist

Posts: 537

Reply: 1

PostPosted: January 25, 2005 7:26 AM 

When is the funeral ?
Let's take a minute silencen....


Posts: 428

Reply: 2

PostPosted: January 25, 2005 10:44 AM 

I was hoping someone would post a thread about Johnny Carson here -- I was just about to do it myself. After all, Carson was the one who put Seinfeld on the map back in '81. I saw Jerry on TV yesterday and he likened Carson to "the emperor". He said being on the show was like performing in front of the emperor himself. Nice tribute...

Condo Board President

Posts: 2988

Reply: 3

PostPosted: January 25, 2005 11:15 AM 

It's hard for folks who weren't around back then to comprehend how big Johnny Carson really was. You might as well ask a fish to imagine what it's like to live out of the water as ask an American what TV was like when there were only three channels.

In his heyday, there were only three channels on TV in most areas (then a fourth after 1970). Everybody in show business who was anybody had to go on his show (or Ed Sullivan) to peddle his wares and get exposure. Every comic who wanted to become somebody had to go through Carson to get there.

Johnny regularly got dinged for his alleged lack of interviewing skill. Compared to what's come after him, however, Carson was a friggin wizard. Carson made everybody feel at home, and unlike both Letterman and Leno, he never tried to upstage a guest no matter who he was. And every comedian who ever went on his show (including old-timers like Groucho Marx and Jack Benny) said, and would say, the same thing: Johnny Carson was the best straight man in the business. Pretty good accolade for somebody who made his money giving the punch lines.

J. Chiles

Posts: 5139

Reply: 4

PostPosted: January 25, 2005 12:08 PM 

Bookman said it pretty damn well. I will say that if you didn't live through the Carson years (ESPECIALLY WHEN HE WAS STILL IN NEW YORK!), you missed out on something very special. The timing, the wit, the grace (oh, he had more than Elaine's "a little" grace) was singular. One thing about Johnny, he was UNAFRAID to try anything, if it might mean a laugh. And, if it bombed, there was no one funnier EVER at making the best of a clunker. Often times, his ad libs in the wake bombed "bits" were even funnier than some of the truly funny bits. He combined the best of a Midwestern personality, folksy, but at the same time, urbane. He accomplished one of the most difficult feats in show business - remaining on the edge of popular culture for over thirty years. His material changed with the times and he was still as relevant in 1992 as he was in 1962. Rare. He pushed the buttons on many social issues without being a preacher and he could be suggestively "racy" while never working "blue".

I remember as a young boy in the late-60's and early-70's (in addition to looking out the window for naked women), I'd sneak downstairs to watch "Tonight", hoping that it would be a Carnac or Aunt Blabby Night. My mother would shoo me back to bed. It got to be a standing joke such that the two spinsters who lived across the street (no, I did not look for them naked) would see the glow from the set through the window and call my mother the next day to say, "I see the young man was up watching Carson again last night!"

During that time, one of the most disappointing phrases for me was to tune in and hear Ed McMahon say, "Johnny's guest host tonight is...." RIP, Johnny, and thanks.

J. Chiles

Posts: 5139

Reply: 5

PostPosted: January 25, 2005 12:12 PM 

Oh, and one last thing. We hear things today about how so and so will never appear on Leno, or so and so won't do Letterman, etc. EVERYBODY wanted to do Carson's show and most all considered it was their privilege and not his for them to make an appearance.

As they USED to say, "The Tonight Show - the late night place to be!"

Bob Sakamano

Posts: no

Reply: 6

PostPosted: January 25, 2005 1:18 PM 

Jerry did you mess with Johnny ?


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Reply: 7

PostPosted: January 25, 2005 8:12 PM 

"May a diseased Yak squat in your hot tub."

God Bless Johnny. Cool

J. Chiles

Posts: 5139

Reply: 8

PostPosted: January 25, 2005 8:28 PM 

May a weird mathematician work figures on your sister!

Some may not recall or have seen how quick-witted was Johnny. I recall once when Don Rickles was a guest. Rickles was all over television at the time, on a ton of shows, and all network execs were trying to find vehicles for his sharp tongue. He was talking to Johnny and said, “I’ve got my fingers in a pilot for NBC right now”, to which Johnny quipped before the air even left Rickles’ mouth, “You’ve got your fingers in more pilots than an Air Force proctologist!” Rickles, who was lightning quick himself, nearly fell off the chair laughing – with nothing to say. As Jerry might have said, “There’s no comeback for that!”

cousin jeffrey
Vile Weed

Posts: 1714

Reply: 9

PostPosted: January 25, 2005 11:03 PM 

unfortunately for me, i was much too young to ever witness the Carson experience, but from the few classic clips i've seen, i could tell that he was a master. don't know much about him, but anyone who could make a star of Ed Mcmahon is good enough for me. That is weird, wild stuff!

Bubble Boy

Posts: 362

Reply: 10

PostPosted: January 26, 2005 9:01 AM 

I'm only 16 but know enough to understand what we have lost. I have seen enough clips, and a couple of shows my dad taped, that are at some points almost amazing.

Harry Fong

Posts: 28

Reply: 11

PostPosted: January 26, 2005 5:30 PM 

Maybe someone can clear this up for me. I remember when I was young, a friend told me a story about Zsa Zsa Gabor being a guest on The Tonight Show and she had a Persian cat on her lap that she stroked throughout the interview. Zsa Zsa asked Johnny if he would "like to pet my pussy" to which Johnny supposedly replied' "sure, if you move that damn cat".
I doubt it's true, but has anyone else ever heard that story ?

Condo Board President

Posts: 2988

Reply: 12

PostPosted: January 26, 2005 6:39 PM 

I've heard the story. I don't know if it's true, either. Johnny was certainly clever enough to have come back with that remark, but it has the ring of an urban legend. No respectable news outlet of the day would've reported the story, and if this exchange had occurred, the whole thing would've been edited out. So, regardless of whoever might say it's true, you'd have to question the person's source.

Bad Breaker Upper

Posts: 3306

Reply: 13

PostPosted: January 26, 2005 7:44 PM 

Johny was the best, he pretty much invented his profession. Reading Bookman's and J. Chiles' post paints a great picture.

The "want to pet my pussy" line is one of those things that I still haven't figured out if it's true or not. I heard the same story but it was Raquel Welch. I also heard it but with Ann Margaret. It still might be true, but it hasn't been proven to me.

J. Chiles

Posts: 5139

Reply: 14

PostPosted: January 26, 2005 9:33 PM 

Spurious Cat Tale, that one.


Posts: 5505

Reply: 15

PostPosted: January 28, 2005 6:05 PM 

Jane Fonda was on The Tonight Show in 1989 and had the following conversation with Johnny...

Fonda:   I gotta ask you something.

Carson:   Sure.

Fonda:   Last night, my son . . . you know, you were talking about Zsa Zsa Gabor earlier . . .

Carson:   Yeah, I think everyone's talking about her.

Fonda:   My son said . . . "You know, she was on the Johnny Carson Show one time. She came there with a cat on her lap, and she said to you, 'Do you want to pet my pussy?'" And my son said that you said, uh, "I'd love to if you'd remove that damn cat!" Is it true?

Carson:   (Shaking his head "no")   I . . . I tell you, I . . .

Fonda:   Is it true?

Carson:   No, I think I would recall that.

(Zsa Zsa Gabor also denies it ever happened.)

Keith Hernandez

Posts: 20

Reply: 16

PostPosted: January 28, 2005 6:27 PM 

Does anyone remember Carson's interview with Arnold Palmer's wife?

Q- "Is there anything you do for Arnold before a big match?"

A- "Well... I kiss his balls for good luck"

Response- "That should make his putter stand up straight"

Back in the late 70's I saw several tapings of The Tonight Show with Johnny, Ed and Doc. The Tonight Show Band kicked ass back then!

Having watched The Larry Sanders Show I have to believe that some of the one-liners that were lobbed up and hit out of the yard were set-up backstage before the taping began.

At any rate, it's hard to imagine how reclusive Carson was in his private life.

Que sera sera

J. Chiles

Posts: 5139

Reply: 17

PostPosted: January 28, 2005 6:58 PM 

The Palmer story is also a tall tale. Variants have the same story with Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino. Variants have it with him interviwing the golfer, himself, or the golfer's wife, too. Sorry, Johnny might have said that in private, but not in public.

Any urban legend. Kinda like the interview where Hernandez says he's NOT gay. Bwhahahahaha!

Bert Kaye

Posts: 1

Reply: 18

PostPosted: April 23, 2007 6:26 AM 

To Hernandez and Chiles. This is NOT an urban legend. I was watching Carson the time that show aired and heard it. I lived in Pasadena at the time and the memory is still very strong of seeing it. I clearly remember Carson's question, then Palmer's wife saying "I kiss his balls for good luck." There was a little pause, then Carson retorted "I'll bet that makes his putter quiver!" and put on a straight face, and the audience broke up. This really happened, NOT an urban legend. This was in the early 70's and in that period the Carson show was taped in the early part of the evening and I believe what I saw was the live broadcast, not the tape-delayed version that goes out. The tape was undoubtedly edited, and so not everyone across the country would have seen this. But I really saw it happen, and even rememebr the exact time - in the early evening after college classes; the sun was still out, and I was watching on a little Sony 13" set. The memory is still sharp.

J. Chiles Author Profile Page

Posts: 5139

Reply: 19

PostPosted: April 23, 2007 11:06 AM 

You are a cur, a vagabond, a liyah. Johnny and Ed both SAID it never happened. I'll trust Johnny's memory before yours....alive OR dead (but maybe not Ed's)! Wink

Todd Gak Author Profile Page
Bubble Boy

Posts: 382

Reply: 20

PostPosted: April 23, 2007 11:51 PM 

True Ed's got some....issues Laughing Laughing

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