A trip down memory lane with Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood on ‘Carson’

‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’ welcomed a Hollywood couple in 1976. Johnny introduces Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood, saying, “They’re a most talented couple starring together in an impressive two-hour television production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

Johnny brings up the fact that Robert and Natalie had been married twice to each other. He asks them, “How long were you between partings?” Natalie says that it was 10 years. Johnny wonders, “How do you celebrate? Which anniversary do you celebrate?”

Natalie shocks him by saying, “We celebrate the anniversary of the time we got to know each other intimately.” Johnny quips, “Does Hallmark make a card for that?” Everyone laughs in the studio audience.

Johnny talks about the upcoming show. Robert says they rehearsed for 4 and a half weeks and shot it on film in 9 days. Natalie notes that it is the first time the actual play has been recorded. Johnny says, “There’s some rather violent scenes in there.” Robert tells Johnny they kept the film close to Williams’ original intentions. The previous versions had more issues with censorship.

Natalie talks about being a child actress, saying, “It seemed natural because kids play-act all the time.” She was five years old and interviewed with a director who asked her to cry in the scene, and she refused to do it because she was trying to be brave.

Robert talks about how he started at 18 years old working as an extra. He was a contract player with 20th Century Fox and stayed there for 12 years. He admitted that he didn’t know about acting but learned everything in the studio. Robert was the ‘Test Boy’ and did all the screen tests.

Johnny asks Natalie if her own children have watched her in the classic ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’ Robert talks about how Natalie was on an iceberg for a film called ‘The Great Race,’ and her daughter became very upset, thinking she was in danger. The interview with Johnny was a fascinating look at this iconic Hollywood marriage.

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A trip down memory lane with Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood on \'Carson\'