Earlier this week, I posted on the Nostalgia Zone’s Facebook page an article from Variety published last summer about the return of Johnny Carson, the King of Late Night, to television. Twenty years (1972 – 1992) worth of Tonight Shows will air nightly on AntennaTV. You can check your local listings to find the show, that is if there even are local listings anymore. Ah, just Google it.
And these won’t be “best of” clip shows. They are the full episodes!
What an excellent time capsule to view every night. And it is every night. Week nights will be the hour long shows, while Saturdays and Sundays will feature the earlier 90 minute long shows.
I stumbled on a show from 1972 last Sunday night and was thrilled to see the master again. The rerunning of his shows started January 1st, so I hadn’t missed many.
I had a few impressions from rewatching Johnny. I remembered that his monologue jokes could be very unfunny, but Johnny would make them work by his reactions to a joke that didn’t go over well. I remember remarking as much with friends back when we’d watch Johnny at the local bar.
Another thing the occurred to me was that Johnny, Ed, and the guests seemed more like adults on those earlier shows than the adults of today. Not that they didn’t act silly or anything. There was just a more grown up feel to them. It might have been the smoking or that some might be drinking on the show (that didn’t happen much and was probably mostly Dean Martin pretending to be drinking), but maybe it was the fact that I was a kid when I first watched those earlier shows. So, as a kid, the adults seemed more like adults than they do now that I’ve grown up.
Mainly, I’m reminded that Johnny was the definition of cool and class. He stood and sat up straight. He always looked clean and dapper, even in the horridly tacky 70s fashions. And he never yelled.
Well, he would yell if he was playing a character or if it was part of a joke. What I mean is Johnny never yelled out who his guests were. The current late night show hosts seem to believe they need to shout when announcing their guests at the top of the show and when bringing a guest out.
I can’t say all of them do it. I haven’t watch Jimmy Kimmell enough to know how he does it. But I’ve seen the others (Jimmy Fallon is the worst for this) and it’s yell, yell, yell out the names of the guests. Of course, that gets the audience revved up and noisy, so the yelling gets louder and more difficult to understand. Half the time I can’t tell whose name the host is shouting out.
I know. I’m am old man.
But, Johnny’s back and people can be reminded of or see for the first time how it’s done.
Oh! And how awesome would it be if the reruns of Johnny’s Tonight Show bring in better ratings than the current batch of guest name shouters?