Friday, December 31, 2004

R.I.P. Johnny Carson - 1/23/09

What can be said about numero uno that others won't say better? I'll let Sid Smith of the Chicago Tribune, their arts critic, do the honors:

Published January 23, 2005, 2:32 PM CST

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-050123carson,1,5351010.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack;=1&cset=true

Some may be able to top Johnny's achievements, but it is impossible to top Johnny himself as he is the archetype, the original. Sure, Steve Allen launched as host of the show in the birthyear of Visual Radio's host - 1954 - and Jack Paar got 5 years in from 1957-1962

http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/T/htmlT/tonightshow/tonightshow.htm

but Mr. Carson's 20 year run established the format of entertainer and his hour of guests, monologues, and mayhem (planned or by divine intervention) that developed on your tv screen.
In the film version of Bill Carter's "The Late Shift" Kathy Bates talks about Leno "eating the steak but not wanting to know how the cows are slaughtered" (paraphrased). In her Helen Kushnick persona she declares that she pushed Johnny Carson out.

A user of the movie board http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116835/
says "I tell you what, after watching this movie, then watching either the Letterman or Leno show, all I want to do is crack open my Johnny Carson DVDs and see the real thing" and that
unsolicited comment just about says it all.

Here's an interesting interview with Betty Thomas on "The Late Shift"
http://industrycentral.net/director_interviews/BT01.HTM

My best friend growing up was addicted to Johnny Carson. Of course, we being eleven or twelve years old, there was a certain cache to being able to stay up that late at night. Johnny was the reason, or excuse.

R.I.P. - may your work inspire us to find better ways to entertain in the new Millennium, Johnny.