First, there was Steve. Jack stepped in next, before being replaced by Johnny. When Johnny retired, he handed the keys over to Jay. These four men have sat on the throne of late-night television. All of them have enjoyed success during their reigns.
Here's Johnny! Only one, however, will be remembered as the true king of late night. Only one was religiously tuned in after the nightly broadcast news. Only one could claim admittance into more bedrooms.
Here's Johnny! Ed's booming voice, set to the Paul Anka-written theme, introduced each night to Johnny Carson. Da-da-da-da! I can still hear that distinctive music provided by Doc and his orchestra as Johnny appeared from behind those curtains.
Here's Johnny! I, as well as millions of Americans, altered our sleeping habits. We didn't lapse into sleep until after his monologues. Dare I say, I wasn't the only one who stayed glued to the set after his jokes. We stayed up to see the array of guests, skits, and animal visitors. There were the memorable interviews with celebrities, such as Racquel Welch with her cat, Mrs. Arnold Palmer telling us how she wished him luck before a big tournament, Buddy
Hackett, and so many more. A poem about his dog read by Jimmy Stewart made TV Guides top 100 moments list.
I have my favorites and you have yours, but there are far too many to mention.
Here's Johnny! If there is late-night TV in the afterlife. Johnny will walk through those curtains, king again.
Here's to you, Johnny!!
-- Johnny Carson, 80, has died this date, 1/23/20005
For another tribute to Johnny Carson - see: