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Chasing The American Dream

January 25, 2005


Johnny as 'Carnac' Posted by Hello

I'm sitting here typing away. Typing my next post. The Jay Leno repeat show is on in the background. For those of you non-night owls, NBC does a curtain call repeat after the usual rotation of Leno, Conan, and Carson Daly. Yes, lucky me gets to see another two hours of late-night TV. Yeah, NBC reruns the trio. Usually the Leno repeat is from a week ago which is good for me cuz I usually watch Letterman. But tonight's Leno is a repeat from the earlier show a few hours ago. It's a tribute to the greatest late-night TV host in history.

My post will have to wait a day. Yeah, this is going to be a sappy tribute to a great childhood 'friend' of mine. I grew up on Johnny Carson. Why this guy appealed to a 10-year old kid I really don't know? Or do I? His monologue was funny. His mannerisms and gestures were funny. His skits were funny. And his guests were funny, too. I mean he was genuinely funny. Natural. He seemed to me like a fatherly figure. A guy I’d love to meet.

I had a mini black and white TV in my bedroom. I’d turn the contrast down as low as it would go and still be able to see my late-night hero. That way, mom wouldn’t see that I had the TV on illegally. I watched him often and literally grew up with him for some 20 years. I learned all the characters. Carnac, Aunt Blabby, Floyd R Turbo, Karl Malden. I became familiar with his usual guests. Don Rickles, Buddy Hackett, Bob Newhart, Joan Embry of the San Diego Zoo. His sidekicks Ed McMahon and bandleader Doc Severensen. And who could forget all the great comedians that got their start on that stage? Leno himself, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, George Carlin, Drew Carey, Roseanne, Ellen, etc. Yeah, I’d watch Johnny and be LMAO night after night.

We all know he retired and has, for the most part, escaped the limelight. I’d say those of us who watched him regularly really haven’t lately placed much thought about Johnny in our heads. And now he’s gone, and all the memories come flooding back. I know Bob Hope’s tagline was “Thanks for the Memories,” but I hope Bob will let me use it one time for my childhood friend. The old TV clips are being played once again. And to this day, they are funny. I still laugh. I’m laughing right now watching Leno replay these clips. I’ve seen the clips a million times, and I still laugh some 30 years later. THAT’s how good Johnny was. I’ll miss you, old friend…


  • That is a beautiful tribute. I was sad to hear the news as well.

    One of my biggest secrets: I have the biggest crush on Jay Leno.

    Maybe is his taste in fast transportation.... who knows...

    By Blogger Amanda, at 6:59 AM, January 25, 2005  

  • Yea, what a sad day. And just last week I had read that Carson was writing jokes for Letterman, and was getting a kick when Letterman would actually use one or two in his monologue. It was sort of their inside joke thing.

    All the great ones are dying.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 9:00 AM, January 25, 2005  

  • well said my friend, well said.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:02 PM, January 25, 2005  

  • Todd...I remember Carson's farewell show on May 22, 1992; the one in which the one and only Divine Ms. M was on, serenading him in all her glory. I still get sentimental when I think of her singing "One More For the Road" to him and how he wiped that beautiful tear from his eye as we watch and wiped ours. Goodbye Johnnnnnnnnnnyyyyyyy.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:05 PM, January 25, 2005  

  • Well there you go PT....2 votes for the Devine Miss M ;-)

    By Blogger mo, at 6:24 PM, January 25, 2005  

  • Awww, did ya hafta remind me of the Divine Miss M?

    By Blogger Plantation, at 8:37 PM, January 25, 2005  

  • Someone simply must, love!!

    By Blogger mo, at 10:56 PM, January 25, 2005  

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