Posts Tagged with "johnny carson"

Communing with Carson

October 23rd, 2009 at 7:16 pm by Mark
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Johnny Carson

     On October 23rd, 1925 in Corning, Iowa, Johnny Carson was born.  It’s strange how the life such an interesting character like him can go virtually unknown.
     Neat little tidbits… Like…

     The fact that he was an Ensign in the US Navy, and reported for duty on the USS Pensylvania on August 25th, 1945?  Yep, the last day of World War II.  On the Pacific front, no less, a mere two weeks after the ship had been torpedoed.  His first job?  Superivising the removal of twenty dead seamen as the carrier made its way to Guam for repairs… After that, he went on to become a communications officer, decrypting encoded messages…

     He graduated from college in 1949 with a minor in Physics.  That makes it even less surprising that he was an amateur Astronomer who owned several telescopes, including a grossly-superior Maksutov-Cassegrain Reflector Telescope by Questar.  The Maksutov-Cassegrain shows about three time the light of other reflectors (I’d almost kill for one).

     In the 1950’s, Carson filled in for Red Skelton, who’d managed to knock himself unconcious before one of his shows.

     In the early 60’s, Carson was considered for the leading role, Rob Petrie, on the show that eventually became “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”  He was a regular on several game shows as a panellist and host.

     Throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, he regularly rubbed elbows with the rich and famous on The Tonight Show.  There are plenty of stories, some of which were proven untrue.  Especially the one about Zsa Zsa’s cat… In answer to her question, no, he didn’t reply, “Sure, if you’ll get that cat out of the way.”

Your chances of getting struck by lightning go up if you stand … you stand under a tree, shake your fist at the sky, and say “Storms suck!”
— Johnny Carson

     In the 1980’s, Carson was a major investor in DeLorean Motor Company, the failed auto company of John DeLorean.  It’s too bad, too … It was a great looking car.  All stainless steel, and especially cool when tricked out with a 1.21 jigawatt flux capacitor.
     He also had a moderately successful clothing line.

     Probably one of the best known facts is that Carson didn’t care for Leno, who inherited the Tonight Show in 1992.  He’d actually asked that David Letterman fill his shoes, but the network chose Leno instead.  There was a lot of animosity on all sides. 
     Carson reortedly continued to send Letterman jokes for his monologue until his death in 2005.
     Interestingly, that’s about the time Letterman started to suck so vehemently…
     It’s amazing the crap we get stuck with on TV…

     After this evening’s seance with Johnny, attended by another dead friend, I had the opportunity to ask Carson what he thought of this whole David Letterman and Stephanie The-One-Who-Shall-Be-Called-Vicky Burkitt affair.  Pun not intended, but there it is.

     The obviously disappointed Carson furrowed his brown and dead-panned (again, pun not intended, but there it is):

     “When turkeys mate, they think of swans.”

     So, Happy Birthday, Johnny. 

     You’re sorely missed.

     *Golf swing in your general direction!*