Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bits and Pieces

A reader asks if I can really do "hundreds of Carson lines and bits? 200 hundred would be astounding." (See my squib on Carson below.)

What I'm talking about are moments, not just lines or gags. (Actually, some moments include several lines or gags, so that might be easier).

First, of course, there are quite a few famous bits that were regularly shown on clip shows and recent tributes: Ed Ames, Johnny eating dog food, Johnny jumping into Ed's arms, animals climbing on Johnny, George Gobel's brown shoes, the potato chip lady, doing magic tricks for a kid, the kid who watched Johnny's show when he was up vomiting, Art Fern, Dean Martin's cigarette, Dragnet, Carnac, breaking the desk, Rickles pushed into the water, burning the bad material, knock this battery off my shoulder, diarrhea, ring around the collar, Johnny flashing young women, etc.

Then you can think of all the ritual bits and lines he'd do: the multi-colored curtain and the big entrance, the golf swing, "how cold (or hot) was it?", Burbank jokes, pollution jokes, everything you'd want is on this paper, you are wrong bar rag breath, may the bird of paradise nest in your sister's bidet, Ed's drinking, the band's drug use, Doc's flamboyant outfits, Tommy Newsom's boring life, Johnny's "look" into the camera, kids' impressions sent to him from schoolteachers, "Tea For Two" dance when material failed, Stump The Band, fork in the road, Slauson cut-off, "...and Rex The Wonder Horse," Aunt Blabby, don't say terminal to an old person, Floyd R. Turbo, his Reagan, surreptitious smoking, doing Kingfish, Mayor Yorty on vacation, "well here we are at the...", etc.

Then there are the regulars. Almost every major comedian of the past 50 years (pardon me if I don't list them), as well as favorites like Tony Randall, Burt Reynolds, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner (who always hoped his appearances would make the Best of Carson), Jim Fowler, Joan Embery, Stan Kann, Monte Rock III, Joe Williams, Pete Barbutti, Carol Wayne and so many others.

Then there are specific things that happened along the way: his fiftieth birthday, his two final shows (one with guests--Robin Williams and Bette Midler, the other by himself), Uri Geller stymied by Carson using magician's controls, the Jim Garrison interview, breaking the cigarette box, jokes about every major scandal, ever-lengthening and greying hair, Johnny warning he'd sing "Rhinestone Cowboy" and finally coming out on a horse to do it, helping out on "Our Love Is Here To Stay," his favorite New Yorker cartoon (two hippos in the jungle who can't for the life of them believe it's Wednesday), show me your niblets, all sorts of stunts (especially when younger), sports exhibitions, cooking exhibitions, and many others.

I even remember all the guest hosts, like Joan Rivers, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and others before he settled on Leno.

What I'm trying to say is, when you think about it, remembering hundreds of moments isn't that hard.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple more Johnny lines: His famous reaction to Zsa Zsa's "pussy" line and his statement that he'd trade a year's salary for a peek at Dolly Parton's breasts.

8:20 AM, January 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I like Dolly, but if he offered her a year's salary for a peek, she'd take it.

10:22 AM, February 01, 2005  

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