“And I hope when I find something that I want to do and I think you would like and come back, that you'll be as gracious in inviting me into your home as you have been…I bid you a very heartfelt good night.” Those final words rung down the curtain on Johnny Carson’s thirty-season stint as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show (or The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, as it was officially known), when “The King of Late Night” officially retired on May 22, 1992. Sadly, Carson never returned to TV save for a small vocal contribution (as himself) on an episode of The Simpsons and a cameo on Late Show with David Letterman in 1994; he left this world for a better hosting gig on January 23, 2005 at the age of 79. (Correction: I wrote too soon; Mark Murphy e-mailed me to let me know that Johnny also did a monologue on a 1993 NBC special feting Peacock institution Bob Hope on his 90th birthday. Thanks, Mark!)
|Johnny...we'd hardly know ye.|
My good friend Michael Krause at Foundry Communications graciously gifted me with a screener for this upcoming release, which not only features these telecasts in their entirety (the musical guests are often excised from the Antenna TV repeats for copyright reasons) but the original network commercials as well. This appealed to the old-time radio fan in me (I love to listen to broadcasts that have the commercials intact), though I admittedly only watched one of the shows with commercials (you have the option of watching without—something that I’m sure would please my father if Carson reruns were his particular meat). That would be the oldest show in this collection, a July 21, 1976 telecast on the disc spotlighting Steve Martin. For an hour-and-fifteen minutes (the Carson show was a ninety-minute program from 1966 to 1980) I got to reminisce about taking the Nestea plunge and how Heinz ketchup is “slow good” (voiceover by Casey Kasem) …not to mention seeing familiar faces like Betty White (plugging Spray ‘n Wash) and Doris Roberts (a Glade air-freshener commercial—she won a Clio award for those spots).
|I cannot come up with the name of the actor playing Doris' husband in this commercial, and it's nagging at me because I've seen him in so many other things. (It's hell getting old.)|
|Wild and crazy guy.|
|Nice threads, Eddie.|
|Robin Williams, circa 1984.|
Addendum: Both the Mayor of Toobworld (Dr. Tobias O'Brien) and member of the TDOY faithful Mark Murphy have identified the actor with Doris Roberts in the Glade commercial as character veteran J.J. Barry. The blog is grateful for their tireless efforts in small screen research.