Johnny Carson Passes Away

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Jeremy Greystoke
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Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Jeremy Greystoke » January 23rd, 2005, 8:18 am

Just saw the news on AP that Johnny Carson passed away this morning at the age of 79. He was always a great fan of magic (indeed, started out in show business doing magic) and many performers appeared on the Tonight Show.

He will be missed...late night TV has just never been the same.....


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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Pepka » January 23rd, 2005, 1:45 pm

He was truly the king of latenight, even 13 years after his retirement. As Jeremy said, he helped the career of many great magicians. Gertner, Ammar Dill, and Lance Burton even credits his appearance on the Tonight Show as his first big break. I truly believe he was the classiest guy on television, and I doubt anyone will ever come close to filling his shoes.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Geno Munari » January 23rd, 2005, 3:41 pm

I will truly miss Johnny Carson. There is a great six page story in the NY Times. The link is http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/23/arts/ ... r=homepage

Now that he is gone I will tell you a story about him. When I moved to Las Vegas in the early 60's I got a job at the Sahara Hotel as a busboy. One day he came in to the area I was working (coffee shop) and the hostess told me to take care of the beverages until the waitress could come over. I poured him a cup of coffee and he reached into his pocket and gave me a tip.

Years later I was working on obtaining the use of Jimmy Grippo's performances on the Tonight Show and he was so kind and extremely obliging.

On his next birthday, I sent him a magic trick, Angelo Carbone's Rising Cards. He sent back a personally written note. He thought the trick was very clever. He was a true lover of the art of magic. My condolences to his family and friends.

Geno

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby David Regal » January 23rd, 2005, 3:54 pm

I got a sitcom job a few years back with a staff that included a guy who wrote for Johnny for many, many years. He suggested I send Johnny one of my magic books, as he was still very much into magic, and even had a camcorder pointed at a close-up mat in his home. I sent him the book and received a thank-you letter as well as an autographed photo (thanks to my friend on staff). It was, and is, a thrill. Johnny Carson was an icon of American comedy, and a huge supporter/fan of magic.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Pete Biro » January 23rd, 2005, 4:22 pm

I was booked to be on the Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson, but a travel glitch (I was in New York when the call came) and I couldn't get back in time (for the night they wanted me).

It was one of my great thrills, to be booked, but great disappointments to have to miss it.

He was the King of the quip. :(
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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Steve V » January 23rd, 2005, 5:41 pm

I ran into him in a restroom at the Allstar game in Oakland around 1984 (whenever it was in Oakland). He was cordial and friendly. Growing up my folks always listened to his monologe and we would hear it from our rooms. Good guy.
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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Guest » January 24th, 2005, 6:43 am

Richard, can we look forward to an article on Johnny Carson the magician? I would also be interested in reading about his continued interest in magic. Did he still perform for friends? Who was his favorite magician? What magic books did he cherish?

Just a thought...

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Carl Mercurio » January 24th, 2005, 7:12 am

The thing that made Johnny so memorable was his humanity. He had all the talent and ability and star-quality, sure, but it was the warmth that set him apart. You could tell he liked his audience, he liked his guests, he liked people.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Ken Trombly » January 24th, 2005, 7:34 am

On one of his shows he reprised some of the sleight of hand he had done as a teenager as Carsoni the Great. I will never forget how adept he still was, doing back-palms and split fans. It was quite impressive and the audience loved it. I have always wnated to get a video of that particular spot. Does anyone knoew if it exists and is available?

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Steve Bryant » January 24th, 2005, 7:52 am

Ken, I loved that spot as well (he also did linking rings that night), but my fear is that it was so long ago that they weren't kinescoping (sp?) the show at that time. I don't own the Carson dvd set, but am pretty sure that spot isn't on it (but Steve Martin's Flydini routine is!).

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby NCMarsh » January 24th, 2005, 9:40 am

I wish that he had been performing when I was old enough to enjoy his work (I was 10 when he signed off).

In reply to Steve and Ken: according to the New York Times much of Johnny's earlier work was lost when a NBC technician was out of blank tapes and recorded new shows over old copies of the Tonight Show...Carson was enraged and insisted on having complete control over the records of his work from then on...

So...if the segment aired after Johnny was concerned about keeping his recordings -- the the show probably still exists as it sounds like he had a way of getting what he wanted with the network...

obtaining a copy, though, might be another story...

best,

N.
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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Guest » January 24th, 2005, 11:20 am

I grew up watching Carson on The Tonight Show, mainly because it was one of the few shows on which I had the opportunity to see magicians perform -- in the days before VCRs, etc. I remember once seeing him do a trick with a couple of cigarettes,when Doug Henning was a guest, where he'd place one in each hand and they'd both end up in the right. It was obvious that he not only loved magic but had skill as well.

I also remember the times Paul Gertner was on. A lot of great memories. He left the show when I was twenty-nine, and although I'll still tune in once in awhile, I've never watched it with the same regularity since. He was one of a kind.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby mark » January 24th, 2005, 12:04 pm

More thoughts from the peanut gallery: I agree that what set Johnny Carson apart was that he basically *liked* people. He had his own dislikes, of course - people like Rip Taylor, who wasn't allowed on when Johnny was hosting, but for the most part, gave everyone a chance. No offense, but notice how someone like David Letterman, or even Jay Leno interviews a 'non celebrity' type guest - with an eye toward getting a laugh at the guest's expense. With Johnny, the laughs were still there, but he didn't have a need to cut others down to elevate himself. I was a dedicated Carson viewer, even long before I should have been allowed to stay up that late. Mom and Dad had a deal with me - if I maintained a regular bedtime, they would let me stay up for Carson when magicians were on. And a good deal it was, since the magicians were usually a bit later in the show. I will miss Johnny, but as it has been for the last thirteen or so years, the memories live on. Rest in peace, Johnny.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Pete Biro » January 24th, 2005, 12:22 pm

Dean Dill was close to JC, and has several photos on his walls showing him at Carson's house working on close up magic.
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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby MaxNY » January 24th, 2005, 2:39 pm

Last week I was running off two Red Skelton tapes to DVD, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a skit with a number of cowboys playing cards. One of them did some flourishes, then made a card disappear...Unfortunately this cowboy's back was facing the camera. I even went so far as to E-Mail Billy Mac in Burbank...he couldn't say.
---I believe the answer came to me last night when the news said that Johnny was a regular writer on the Red Skelton show. (The tapes are from duel set Cat no. 3039 and 3040, Dan Dalton Productions, Simitar Entertainment.)
---Here's is my "touched by greatness" story. About five years ago I was a regular at the Anderson Consulting Christmas party, overlooking the tree lighting at Rock Plaza. This one evening I was just finishing card warp...and this one fellow says that his brother did magic.. "Oh, what is his name?" I asked. The reply came back as "Jonathan Carson"... I swear you could count to three, before I looked up to see a slightly familiar face to which I replyed, I love Johnny, how is he? "Fine, fine".
---Rumor has it that the chief video tape operator at CBS ran three constant Quad videotapes as back-up during the 1970's. ABC NBC and their own CBS feeds. Videotape was in it's infancy, and the tapes were very expensive. So, CBS might have the Carson shows from that Era. There is no one person to blame a NBC, re-recording over tapes was the genuine thing about this new format. Don't get your hopes up, there are only two guys that I know of who even own the small boat sized Quad recorders. Videotape is rust, iron-oxide. Rust never sleeps.
---Johnny was King of Late Night.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Pepka » January 24th, 2005, 7:47 pm

Speaking of Johnny as a magician, there was footage of him doing a few simple coin vanishes on one of the retrospectives. A young kid was on his right and he just did a few simple french deops and eventually produced the coin from behind his ear. IT seems like simple stuff to us, but the kid and audience truly enjoyed it. That is what magic is really all about.
Anyone know if Johnny was a member of IBM, SAM, etc? Wouldn't he be entitled to a broken wand ceremony?

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Bill Mullins » January 25th, 2005, 7:59 am

James Randi remembers Johnny Carson:

HERE

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Guest » January 25th, 2005, 8:27 am

Our local morning show here in Southern California just showed a clip of an interview with Carson on 60 Minutes . It showed Carson performing "The Psychic Stop!" from Expert Card Technique . He nails it, whereupon Mike Wallace quips, "You get five million for doing that."

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby JFox » January 25th, 2005, 2:37 pm

Re: Johnny Carson's "Carnac The Magnificent" character. Kreskin has often taken credit for the origin of Carson's "Carnac" character. Kreskin maintains that he (Kreskin) appeared on the Steve Allen Show, and tripped while walking from the stage to the set. He claims that Carson (or perhaps someone connected with the Carson Show)...saw this and as a result, the "Carnac" character was born just a few weeks later on the Tonight Show.
Kreskin had always been a very frequent guest on Johnny's Show...88 appearances. Is this connection of "Carnac" and Kreskin indeed true?

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Steve Bryant » January 25th, 2005, 3:51 pm

Kreskin has long maintained that. A stronger connection to the Steve Allen show is that Johnny's routine was a reworking of Steve Allen's "The Answer Man," which had the same premise of a wacky answer followed by a question that made it funny. Both guys made it great.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 25th, 2005, 4:00 pm

I don't know how Kreskin could have tripped on the Steve Allen show and had Carson repeat the gag weeks later since Steven Allen was the host of the show before Jack Paar, who was the host before Carson.
Must not be when Steve Allen was hosting the Tonight Show. Did Allen host another talk show?
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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Jeremy Greystoke » January 25th, 2005, 4:07 pm

If memory serves, Steve Allen had a syndicated late night talk show sponsored by Westinghouse in the early 1960s. I have vague memories of watching it while I was growing up.

It's interesting to note that Jack Paar was coaxed back into the late night wars by ABC in the early 70s. His show was quite entertaining (since he was amazingly mercurial) but it only lasted a brief while.

Jeremy

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Geno Munari » January 25th, 2005, 7:57 pm

The (K)Carnack (sic) gag actually was from Jackie Gleason.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Steve Bryant » January 25th, 2005, 8:23 pm

As Richard points out, the Kreskin to Carnak jump couldn't have been "weeks." Kreskin does cite the comparison (as he puts it, "Legend has it that ..."). He told me this himself for his Little Egypt Gazette interview, and it's posted on one of his online bios as:

Kreskins name and face have gained a household recognition from over 500 appearances on national television including 118 Mike Douglas Shows, 98 Merv Griffin Shows" and a record 88 Tonight Shows. Legend has it that Johnny Carson, who saw Kreskin trip and fall during his first appearance on The Steve Allen Show, modeled his own clumsy-yet adept Carnac the Magnificent after the mentalist.

My take on this is that Kreskin is referring to the stumble that Johnny did as he walked out, not, obviously, to the turban.

The only two gags I remember:

Steve Allen as The Answer Man: A: UCLA Q: What happens when the smog lifts?

Johnny Carson as Carnak: A: Yassar Arafat. Q: What's the sound you hear when Dolly Parton takes off her bra?

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Guest » January 25th, 2005, 8:35 pm

In the NY Times today. There was a letter from Steve Martin about Johnny Carson. I saved it

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Dustin Stinett » January 26th, 2005, 1:18 am

I hesitate to post all this because it sounds selfish as hell. But I guess grief is, by its very nature, selfish. And this (this site and writing) is my only outlet, so please allow me some cathartic slack. I have not written anything up until now simply because I have not been able to. I think its the first time I have experienced true denial. Johnny Carson is my number one hero: pure and simple. There was a time in my youth when I wanted to be the next Johnny Carson (a time before it dawned on me that I wasnt at all funny and had even less talent). He is the reason that I am nocturnal. I watched his show almost every night: As a teenager I would stay up in defiance of my parents. In my adulthood I did watch every night and when I started working late nights my first VCR was a godsend; I could tape Johnny and watch him when I got home. I would sometimes take notes. Not lines, but notes. What he would do in certain situations; the things he did during his monologue that could make one of 15 million people feel like Johnny was speaking just to them; when and why he would do the take. My performance style is conversational because of the influence of Johnny Carson. It was through him that I first learned the Power of Three and the power of silence. I can honestly say that, even since his retirement, not a week has gone by where I have not thought about Johnny Carson at least a couple of times. When the WWJCD bracelets became popular I considered getting one. After all, I asked myself many times, What would Johnny Carson Do? I still do. I even think about him when I see a construction-site outhouse.

Say what?

Yep, he had to sue an outhouse company that tried to name their organization, Heeeres Johnny!

I think of him when I buy toilet paper.

Say what?

In the early 1980s, when there seemed to be a shortage of everything, Johnny quipped during his monologue that theres now a toilet paper shortage. The TP section of the grocery store where I was a clerk was empty the next day. This was true across the country. He had to point out the next night that it was only a joke.

And whenever someone from the east coast talks to me about how spoiled we are here in California with our weather, I always say, Like Johnny Carson said: You can tell when its fall in L.A. Its when they take down the green plastic tress and put up the brown plastic trees.

I found out about his death from another of my heroes while we were having Sunday brunch together at the Magic Castle. You heard about Johnny Carson this morning didnt you? he asked. I went numb. Suddenly something that happened last week made perfect sense: Peter Lassally, a close and loyal friend of Johnny Carsons, and his producer for years, let it leak that Johnny had been doing some writing for David Letterman. Why, I asked myself, would Lassally do that? That would only piss off Johnny; he should know better than that! Not if he knew Johnny was in no condition to find out about it. I may be wrong, but I think Peter Lassally knew that the end was near and wanted one last piece of positive press for his great friend to hit the wire before the inevitable. I believe Lassally wanted to remind the country that, while he was still alive, Johnny Carson still had it: He was still The King. I went through the rest of my day unfazed: denial had set in because Kings and Heroes do not die. It wouldnt be until Monday evening that the reality of it hit me. The moment was when Doc Severinsen was speaking from his home in Santa Barbara on the Larry King show. In answer to the question of how he was coping, he said (paraphrasing), One minute Im okay, and then bam, it hits me again. Thats when it hit me. 45-year old men are not supposed to shed tears in front of their 17-year old sons, but sometimes it cannot be helped.

Of all my youthful dreams, those that I never let die are those where I meet my heroeseven if only briefly. Ive been lucky in that regard several times: In a few cases even becoming acquainted with them. But one of those dreams slipped away Sunday morning without having come true. And so I grieve along with everyone else. But then I can celebrate with them as well, for the many gifts Johnny Carson gave us all live on. Heroes really dont die.

Dustin

Ill be right back.
Johnny Carson

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » January 26th, 2005, 1:52 am

Well done, Dustin. Thank-you.

I have been repeatedly brought to tears in recent days by the death of Johnny Carson.

I have missed him often since he retired, and now I suppose I must miss him more, and forever. I've had the good fortune in my life to meet a number of my heroes, but I will forever regret that I never met him. If I said that half of what I know about comedy (your joke here) I learned from Carson, it would probably be an understatement. Ditto for half of what I know about show business. Carson instilled in me a love and respect for show business, for comics and actors of generations I would otherwise have only known from late night movies, or not at all. What the hell would I have known about the likes of Jack Benny if it hadn't been for Carson -- and not just from having him on the show, but from communicating his deep respect for Benny and others of his time and stature.

Would I have ended up a magician if I hadn't seen close-up magic legends Don Alan and Al Goshman on Carson's show, dealt with so generously so as to assure that they came off looking terrific? When I was a writer on Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular (on FX), we had the then radical idea of treating the variety acts with the same respect we treated the celebrities; but it wasn't radical in Carson's day, it was just the way he did it. Today Letterman and Leno don't make stars, they simply feed the celebrity mill, recycling the same movie celebs, TV celebs, rock celebs, sports celebs, and models. That's it. Nothing else. No one from times past. Nobody new, nobody being debuted, nobody from the outside being let in or made to look great; anything outside of the pre-packaged celebrity is just food for irony.

Carson made fun of his network employers and his censors, the best people to make fun of. How many months did he joke about the Fugowi Indians before they caught on? At least Letterman was original and funny and edgy when he took over -- like Carson in his day -- which is more than you can say for the rest of the lot. But the sensibility is so different from Johnny's, we almost forgot what it used to be like, didn't we? Until we started thinking about it again this week.


I would never miss the anniversary shows. And I was watching the very night that Dean Martin and Bob Hope kept doing walk-ons every time Carson introduced George Gobel, and I'll never forget when the deadpan Gobel finally sat down and he managed to pull the focus back to himself with this: "Did you ever feel like the world was a tuxedo, and you were a pair of brown shoes?" I remember that from the first time I saw it, not just the reels they're running now in retrospectives.

What joy was in those shows! Rickles, Cosby, Hackett ..oh, it's an endless list. In my teens, in high school and beyond, a magician friend and I would regularly deconstruct the Carson monologue the day after. What a lesson. What a joy. And let's not forget that this was a guy who helped make Randi a national figure. Who can forget the night of the Peter Popoff tapes? And the ONE national appearance in which nothing worked for Geller. Eighteen minutes or whatever it was, and NOTHING. Hail, Johnny! Not enough for you to be a comic genius, a trendsetter, a mold-breaker, but also to be an intellectual, a lover of science, a promoter of the rational. A man of principle. A man of grace, and self-restraint, and modesty. How rare a man is that today? In show business, how rare? Much less with that kind of power and success, to wear it like that -- and all the way 'till the end of the road, too. How rare?

We are overwhelmed with hype today, with self-styled geniuses and PR-wrapped pseudo-greatness. But all the superlatives fit this time -- there aren't even enough to go around. End of an era? Check. Never see his likes again? Check. All that and more, so much more. Gone now, but never to be forgotten. The King is dead. The King is dead.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Bill Mullins » January 26th, 2005, 7:26 am

Originally posted by bgoodwin:
Our local morning show here in Southern California just showed a clip of an interview with Carson on 60 Minutes . It showed Carson performing "The Psychic Stop!" from Expert Card Technique . He nails it, whereupon Mike Wallace quips, "You get five million for doing that."
I've read on Mark Evanier's site
http://www.newsfromme.com/ that the 60 minutes profile will be repeated tonight (26 Jan) on 60 Minutes II.

Evanier is running many links to remembrances and profiles of Johnny Carson on his blog, which is worth checking out for a number of reasons.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Dustin Stinett » January 26th, 2005, 3:01 pm

I was asked by a lurker if, since its no exaggeration to say that I have seen many hundreds of shows, I might list some of my favorite moments, guests, etc. So, since Im going to go through the trouble of writing this I figured I may as well share it here too, should you care to read it (not all of it has to do with magic). To list my absolute favorite moment or guest is impossible; there were simply too many of each.

As for guests, obviously any magician was a hit with me, even if the show didnt go particularly well. When Shimada made his debut, it didnt go too well. He was dropping several cards from the back palm (they looked like they were falling from his sleeves). He must have been terrified. But it didnt stop him from being invited back. He was on the show three or four times.

Doug Henning was on the show at least a dozen times and accounts for one of my favorite moments. This particular evening was one of those where Johnny had a case of the tongue-tripshe kept messing up even simple words and phrases. Like all of the times he would experience this speaking problem, it would seem to happen over and over and, of course, Johnny played to it instead of trying to pretend it wasnt happeningit was always good for a laugh. When Henning came out, he asked if Johnny would come over and help him with the illusion: Dont worry; you dont have to talk for this. It was the funniest line I ever heard Henning deliver.

Orson Welles was one of my very favorite guests. His magic was so strongwhen it worked (I recall at least one miss). I suppose it was about the time Welles became a regular guest that I started staying up all night to watch past the monologue. Usually I could only stay up for a magician or someone really special, like Bob Hope or Red Skelton. I was in my teens and mom and dad were losing control!

Bob Hope: Ive been hearing that Kreskin is claiming some kind of record for having been on the show 88 times. Sorry Kreskin, Bob Hope was on that show well over 100 times and it was always, well, amazing!

Red Skelton was a boyhood idol of mine. When I was in elementary school, my best friend Joe and I would do Gertrude and Heathcliff for our classmates. I loved it when he was on the Tonight Show (which, unfortunately, wasnt too often) because I knew that he was also one of Johnnys idols. Theres nothing more encouraging than knowing that you share something in common with your hero. For me and Johnny it was magic and Red Skelton!

David Steinberg was a frequent guest and was always a great panelist. He was a damn funny comedian in his day, which is why he was a frequent guest and guest hosted many times.

Speaking of guest hosts, a great moment on the show was on a night Joan Rivers was a guest (well before she became the first permanent guest host). She came out wearing a scoop blouse and when she received her obligatory peck on the cheek greeting from Johnny he exclaimed, Youve got boobs!

As a side note, I wonder how many people think about what would have happened had Joan Rivers not bolted for Fox when she did and instead waited. Would Jay Leno have even been in the picture? (Ah, but those what ifs will kill you.)

Steve Landesberg must have been on that show 50 times and as a result became one of my all-time favorite comedians. Johnny was especially good with droll comedians. That was one of the great things about him: he was a comedian who knew how to play the straight man.

Jimmy Stewart: One of the great story tellers of all time, and he always had a poem for Johnny. They were always funny, except one time when he recited a poem written for a beloved pet dog that had recently died. It was a most poignant moment.

Buddy Rich, for those of you too young to recall, was one of the greatest drummers to ever sit behind a drum kit, and he was a frequent guest (and it must be remembered that Johnny also played the drums). One of his appearances led to a hysterical moment that I have never seen on any of the retrospectives. I cannot help but wonder if its not one of those that was erased (a pity if that is so). Rich came out and was playing with the band and, of course, he went into an incredible solo that ended quite abruptly when his drumstick hit a drum that had no cover but instead was filled with milk! He was covered in the liquid and it was drop-dead hysterical. Afterward, the setup for the gag was explained: during rehearsal, they watched Rich and found that there was a floor tom that he didnt hit until well into his solo, and the plot was hatched. They filled it to the top with milk and Rich was had.

Speaking of the band, this was no ordinary group of musicians. Doc Severinsen was in the enviable position to be able to handpick some of the best musicians in the business for that orchestra. It was always a treat when they were given more airtime. A great moment was the night when all the band members got their name placards from Johnny. Ed Shaughnessy was the drummer for the band (and was also one of the great drummers of all time) and, of course, had his name emblazoned across the face of his base drum. It seems a few of the other band members were a little miffed because of Shaughnessys extra exposure was leading to profitable side gigs for him. So, to make things fair, Johnny provided name placards for every band member. It was a funny moment that came out of, I suspect, contentious circumstances. Not all the members left their cards up, but several did all the way up to the very last show.

Pete Fountain was another frequent guest who gave me an appreciation for the clarinet that I hadnt had beforeor since actually. To watch the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson was to learn to love, or at least appreciate, jazz.

A very funny moment was the night Burt Reynolds came on after his infamous nude centerfold appearance in Cosmopolitan magazine. Reynolds presented Johnny with a framed copy, however Johnnys face was superimposed over Reynolds and where Reynolds hand was strategically placed in the original photo they added a catchers mitt for Johnnys spread.

This is going to be tough to setup, but I have to try since it was so damn funny. I thought Johnny was going to die laughing. I have to try and convey a sound in print. The sound is a stereotypical one that is made when one is trying to speak like someone of Hebrew descent. Instead of a hard k, its a soft ccchhh (sort of like the sound you make when preparing to spit, just softer and without the spit). Even an H sound would have this inflection: instead of aha! its ahccchhha! Got it? Okay, Rosanne Barr is on the show: shes a returning guest, perhaps her second or third time to be called to the panel. Shes made it, but shes not the huge star she would later become. Shes telling Johnny about how her father is getting into the whole country and western fad that was emerging. Hes got his cowboy hat, boots, belt buckle, the whole thing. But I dont think it really works, having a Jewish cowboy. I mean, whats he going to say? Yippy-io ccchhi-ya!? Johnny fell out of his chair he was laughing so hard.

A few days after the final episode of M*A*S*H in which McLean Stevenson portrayed Col. Henry Blake and the beloved character was killed in an attack on the plane carrying him home (an event that stunned fans of the hit show) aired, Stevenson appeared on the Tonight Show. Johnny asked him if there was any chance of a return, that somehow Henry walks out of the water with seaweed coming out of his pants. Of course the answer was no, and Stevenson explained to the millions of fans watching that, for several years, the show had made light of war. They wanted to remind everyone that people who are loved die in wars. It was another poignant moment in the show: one of those unforgettable life lessons that surface from the most unexpected places.

Steve Martin may not have been on as many times as Kreskin, but he must be right up there: Certainly several dozen times. He had many great turns, but nothing can top The Great Flydini. It was stunningly, tear-producing, funny.

Its been seen hundreds of times on TV since Sunday, but the back story is missing from all the clips. Im talking about when Carnac trips and crashes into the break-away desk. Not only was this a gag for the audience, but it was a practical joke on Ed McMahon. The prop department made an absolutely perfect balsa duplicate of Johnnys desk. McMahon had no clue this was going to happen and it took him by complete surprise. He was laughing through the whole rest of the skit.

There is, of course, more, but I have taken up enough of your time. I hope you enjoyed this little journey.

Thanks,
Dustin

Guest

Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2005, 7:03 pm

Good stuff Dustin.
I always thought it would have been interesting,(for perhaps a magic magazine) to interview Carson about the magicians who appeared on his show, which ones worked well on his show and which ones didn't, and why.
Kreskin certainly holds the record for any mystery performer who appeared on "The Tonight Show", don't know if that was Carson's preference, or because the producers/bookers on the show brought him back because he received a greater response and was better known,until Henning and Copperfield arrived.
Maybe someone out there, could do a similar interview, with Leno, or Mike Douglas,(who also had Kreskin on a lot) and get their perspectives.

Steve Mills
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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Steve Mills » January 26th, 2005, 8:27 pm

Alright old timers - be honest - How long did you watch "The Great Metrano" the first time before you realized he wasn't doing anything?

Later.....
Steve
Hell is empty, all the devils are here.Shakespeare

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Dustin Stinett » January 26th, 2005, 10:15 pm

Actually it was "The Amazing Metrano" who was supplying his own music well before "The Voice of Magic--Darren Romeo" was born! (I know: picky-picky! ;) ) There was also "Dominic the Great" ("save your applause please; save it for the end!"), which was Dom DeLuise's "magician." Art Metrano does go way back!

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2005, 11:43 pm

Thanks for the memories Dustin. I find it surprising - and perhaps shouldn't - that so many on this forum share my feelings for Johnny Carson. I still vaguely remember my brother and I watching him long before the Tonight Show on Who Do You Trust. We were quite young then but still thought he was the funniest guy on TV. I too used to tape the Tonight Show and very stupidly over the years, taped over those shows. I could kick myself now but back then I just figured he'd be around forever.

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MaxNY
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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby MaxNY » January 27th, 2005, 4:57 am

Once when Brooke Shields was on (she must have been in her teens) she tripped badly on her way out. It was reported afterwards that she was trying to mimic Karnac. In the press that followed, there might have been information as to just where Carson got "the trip".
I have several Carson shows "up my sleeve", I remember recording the whole last week, and all of the retrospects, 20th 25th 30th?... Not yet on DVD, but maybe in the next two weeks. I'd be willing to trade for other full shows if anybody is interested, Magicbymax.com

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Terry » January 27th, 2005, 6:45 am

"Dominic the Great" made appearances on the old Dean Martin variety show.

I quit watching the Tonight Show after Johnny Carson retired. Mr. Carson seemed content to let the guests have the spotlight when they sat next to him, unlike the "hosts" today. It seems the wannabe's must be center stage at all times.

Of course, my 10 month old son will only be able to watch DVD's to realize the truely gifted entertainers of yesterday and not the media created hacks of today.

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Steve Mills » January 27th, 2005, 6:46 am

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
Actually it was "The Amazing Metrano" who was supplying his own music well before "The Voice of Magic--Darren Romeo" was born! (I know: picky-picky! ;) )
Alright Dustin, try this - what gig did the AMAZING Metrano get as the result of this appearance (Hint - the funniest series of all time - at least in my opinion).

Later.....
Steve

PS - I can't resist - quick memories of favorite Carson moments (in no particular order):

Sis Boom Bah
Ed Ames Tomahawk Exhibition
Albert Brooks
Bob Uecker's First Appearance
there are so many.......
Hell is empty, all the devils are here.Shakespeare

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » January 27th, 2005, 7:12 am

Originally posted by Steve Mills:
Alright Dustin, try this - what gig did the AMAZING Metrano get as the result of this appearance (Hint - the funniest series of all time - at least in my opinion).
Lt. Mauser in the Police Academy movies?

-Jim

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Jeff Eline » January 27th, 2005, 7:13 am

Originally posted by Steve Mills:

Sis Boom Bah
Absolutely my favorite! Damn funny!!!

Steve Mills
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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Steve Mills » January 27th, 2005, 7:39 am

Originally posted by Jeff Eline:
Originally posted by Steve Mills:
[b]
Sis Boom Bah
Absolutely my favorite! Damn funny!!! [/b]
I vividly recall the night that first aired - it was met with dead silence, except for Ed, then the audience started getting it and there was a crescendo that went on and on. Funny stuff.

I always assumed that HAD to be a Pat McCormick line, but never knew for a fact.

Later.....
Steve
Hell is empty, all the devils are here.Shakespeare

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Re: Johnny Carson Passes Away

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2005, 7:46 am

Carson and Kreskin had some type of disagreement early on but Kreskin still continued to appear on the show - but not when Carson was the host.


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