Saturday, January 21, 2006


I Loved it when that curtain swept open.

He was one of the undisputed giants of television. Johnny Carson created a special type of late night party nearly every night for 30 years. Middle American charm, urbanity, wit, humor, humility all mixed together in Johnny. Carson's death at 79 sends me thinking about what we DON'T have on TV today.

Carson saw talent and gave it a chance to blossom for our enjoyment. "American Idol" takes talent and trashes it for entertainment.

Carson's monologues skewered any one who made mistakes and he did with a sly grin that softened the blows. We got the message, but heard the humor, too.
We learned about the personal side of our stars, Johnny didn't feel a need to dig into their personal lives.

And when Carson decided it was time to leave the stage, he did just so--he left the stage. An occasional comment to an interviewer was the most we got from the King after he retired. He lived the lesson he taught on his show: what matters is what's on stage; the rest remains personal.

America's Court Jester. The King of Late Night TV. The host we all went to bed with for 30 years. NBC's biggest earner. Husband to several, friend to so many more. The founding father of more comedy careers than I can remember.

He retired over a decade ago. He left us at last this weekend.

And I thought I heard "HEEEEEEEEEERRRRRREEEE'S Johnny" coming down from heaven last night.

The eternal monologue has begun

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