People lament that late night talk shows aren’t the same now as they were then. I agree. Do you?
“The stuff of show-biz legend, this famous “lost” episode of The Tonight Show defines the very essence of live television.”
There was a time when late-night television was more than just celebrities coming on to plug their latest movie, song, television show or book. It had a friendlier feeling. Indeed times were different then, people would even smoke or drink on the set. That’s how it was. No big deal.
The man who presided over all of late-night television was, of course, the legendary Johnny Carson. His monologs could make us laugh, smile, and often the jokes were on us, but that’s what made it all good clean fun. Each night brought a whole new array of stars into our homes where we sat watching and laughing with our families. Those were the good old days.
One episode of “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” aired on March 6, 1969 featuring all of our late-night favorites including very young versions of Carson, Ed McMahon and Doc Severinsen.
TThe atmosphere of that night is classic Carson, good clean comedy punctuated with lots of laughter: Johnny pokes fun at Doc Severinsen for his choice of wardrobe — something that happens quite often down the road. Some things never change! Heck, by the end of the show, every guest is making fun of each other, including one part where people were bewildered by Carol Wayne’s voice.
I truly couldn’t determine who was the funniest of the group. This was comedy at its best… and it even had Carson wondering aloud to the audience when exactly he lost control of the show! Personally, I think it was the very second that Martin strode through the curtain. After that, it was like a roller coaster and all Carson could do was try to buckle himself up and hang on for dear life.
It’s hard to think of a more legendary group sitting in one place than Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Carson, and Gobel. Add McMahon and Severinsen, and it was one magical night. The thing was… Carson was able to do stuff like that regularly. Try having people smoke and drink on the stage now and watch how fast the censors come roaring in.
The stuff of show-biz legend, this famous “lost” episode of The Tonight Show defines the very essence of live television. It is a kind of magic that can’t be rehearsed, recycled, or reproduced, but thanks to this recent discovery, we can now return to Studio One to witness Johnny and his guests working without a net.