Carson on TCM the top interviews
If you missed this summer's Carson on TCM That played on Monday's in July, then you missed a series that truly displayed what is lacking in television in 2013. Approximately 24 interviews were played in their entirety from the Johnny Carson vault. These were not the same old-same old clips that have been seen over and over. There were no clips of Tomahawk's thrown at cut outs, no animals defecating on Johnny's head and no comedians making their debuts. Instead, they played full interviews of huge stars that just came on to talk to the greatest tv star of all time, the king of late night, Johnny Carson.
What struck me most about these clips were how none of them would make the air today. They are at the same time completely controversial and slow paced. Two things television abhors today. I sat there amazed that they ever were broadcast to begin with let alone that they are broadcast now in an age where we act like people say controversial things but in reality everything has been watered down and prescreened. So I highlight six interviews below. I am hoping that this series continues and that it arrives on Netflix or DVDs.
1. Shelley Winters and Oliver Reed 1975. This was by far the most shocking interview they played. If this series continues, I hope they find more interviews like this one. Shelley is the first guest and has an amazing conversation about dating younger men and a bit of talk about women's lib. Johnny is adept at not taking a side but encourages her to talk more. The second guest, Oliver Reed, comes out and proceeds to tear Shelley and women's lib apart. While today's hosts would change the subject and back away, Johnny brings these two to a boil that produces an ending that I will not give away. Can you imagine Leno in the middle of a celebrity fight where a man tells a woman to shut her mouth on television? As I watched this, I truly witnessed a time when NBC actually owned must see tv , years before they claimed to own it and years and years before they ruined everything. 2. Chevy Chase 1986. Again this interview is amazing because of the guests that follow Chevy. Siskel and Ebert come to the couch after Chevy's affable interview. The movie The Three Amigos was just released. Johnny loved it, Chevy loved it, Siskel and Ebert didn't. Johnny must have known this information because he baits them with their opinion of the movie. As they continue to rip apart not only this movie but also Chevy's other comedy classic, Vacation, Chevy leans behind Ebert and starts mocking his every movement and word. I laughed so hard while watching this, it made me truly remember the great comedian that Chevy was in the eighties. It also displayed how a host can create a seminal moment without appearing to do so.
3. George Burns 1989. Who is really going be our celebrity royalty today? Who ever it is will not hold a candle to George Burns. At 92, he tells stories that still kill. His run ins with Al Jolson, Jack Benny and Grocho Marxs were legendary. It made me so sad for the boring stories that people are telling on Letterman on a nightly basis. Watching this interview you can almost taste what old Hollywood was really like. I was not born in the wrong era. Yesterday at the grocery store I realized I didn't know one of the females that graced the magazines and I was never more proud.
4. Dom DeLuise 1976. The reason this interview is so great isn't so much Dom, but the interaction of Johnny and Ed. A conversation of what Dom sleeps in turns into a battle of one upmanship that leads Johnny into giving away that Ed sleeps in his socks. Ed is not Hank Kingsley. He is actually an essential part of what made Johnny great. Once Johnny gets his laugh, Ed reveals that Johnny has a blankie. It is pure comedy gold and done with the love of two best friends ribbing each other.
5. Drew Barrymore 1982. I believe you could have sat 7 year old Drew with Dan Rather and he would have come off as sweet and cuddly; that is how much cuteness is radiating off Drew. When you sit her with someone of the charm of Johnny, it is a pure joy. The two of them are bouncing ideas and child like honesty off each other. Johnny was never there to take something away from a guest. He wanted to share it. Drew has so much to share...all the way down to her teeth.
6. Doris Day 1976. I had no prior affinity for Doris. But her interview was so honest and open that I now truly respect her. This is my overall plea to the producers: Don't worry about If today's audiences will care about the guest. If Johnny gets them to talk, everyone will listen. Johnny talks more than you would think a host should but that is because he is having a conversation not an interview. When the conversation gets around to watching pornos, Johnny doesn't admit he has watched them for a cheap laugh, he is just talking. I am sure the next day there wasn't a headline that said Johnny must leave The Tonight Show because he has seen a porno. I think the people who freak out about everything that is said ruined talk shows.
If you missed this series, I am not sure where you can see it, as of now, there isn't a place. My hope is word will spread and it will return. In the mean time, you can like our Facebook page we created about the show. We will keep you up to date with information about when and if this show will return. click here. I can't end this article without praising the host of this show, Conan O'brien. He is the true heir to The Tonight Show throne. Another blog about Johnny Carson
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