In 1988, ‘The Tonight Show’ welcomed the oldest active farmer in the state of Illinois named Merritt Heaton. The laughs are big when Johnny asks him if he watches the show. 97-year-old Merritt tells Johnny that he goes to bed too early!
As it turns out, all Merritt’s friends know of Johnny and told him to go on the show after he declined the first invite. The two men talk about a typical day on the farm, which involves waking up at 5am, firing up the machinery, and heading to the field.
Johnny asks him if he is still the boss, and Merritt says, ‘I let my son do the bossing!’ Then, Johnny asks him how old his son is. Merritt replies, ’78!’ The audience laughs hysterically, and Johnny can’t keep it together.
Johnny asks him what the most significant change has been on the farm over the years. Merritt tells him the most significant change was electricity. Johnny quips, ‘I thought you were going to say the wheel,’ joking about Merritt’s age.
Johnny asks, ‘Do you think working on the farm keeps you in good health?’ Merritt replies, ‘Nah, I think they just put me together right!’ The audience loves this guest and Johnny’s interview questions!
Merritt was married for 64 years until his wife passed away many years ago. Johnny wants to know the secret to a good marriage and cites his own failed attempts. Merritt tells Johnny, ‘You got to give and take a little,’ and Johnny replies, ‘Oh, I’ve given!’ Laughter erupts from the studio audience.
Johnny asks a personal question about a new lady friend who Merritt visits in California. Then, Johnny calls her up, and she makes her own guest appearance. Johnny navigates the relationship questions with comic ease. No matter who the guest was on ‘The Tonight Show,’ Johnny always showed them a good time while everyone laughed along!