Sunday, August 5, 2012
THE TONIGHT SHOW ... starring:
It's gettin' to be a little obvious that Jay Leno and crew is pulling his show up in the late-night ratings. With recent gaffes by rival David Letterman and great support by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, it's not surprising that The Tonight Show™ is starting to find itself on top of the ratings pile these days.
Of course, for many of us mousers, the show will always be synonymous with the late Johnny Carson. After all, they went together like "Maxwell" and "House" (two sugars, one cream, please ...)
But, if you remember, Johnny had his share of guest hosts over the years (in fact, Leno was one of them). But there was one dude who, as Terry (Marlon Brando) said in "On The Waterfront", "coulda been a con-TEN-duh!".
That, Mouskiteers, was our Uncle Lloyd, circa 1965. Here's the telegram his manager, Alan Bernard, received:
By the way, David Tebet was the producer who recruited Johnny to take Jack Paar's place on the show. He became VP of Carson's production company.
Anyhoo, for reasons known only to Murphy (who wrote a pretty good law), somehow the word didn't get to Lloyd, soooooo ...
two weeks later, Alan got this little ditty, thanks to the Western Onion:
Now, I don't know what happened; he didn't know what happened. But it happened. And, as you know, Stuff Happens and not always buy the book (didja catch the subliminal pitch there? "Buy the book"? It's ... okay, I'll continue ...)
But can you imagine what the show would've been like, had Uncle Lloyd assumed the throne for just one night? With his zaniness, plus his bonafide interest in anyone he interviewed, it woulda been a hit -- and Johnny could've found a new permanent guest-host! And, eventually, we could've been seeing The Tonight Show with Lloyd Thaxton instead of Jay Leno!
His own show was a tremendous hit, as was Uncle Lloyd's mag, Tiger Beat! (I'm lookin' at a 1966 copy he sent me as I write this). More about that in a future post.
Gettin' back to his show: I received an email from a lady in my old tromping ground of Charlotte, N. C. who said her son, Tony, always hung out with his buddies after school -- until The Lloyd Thaxton Show made its debut. Then she couldn't get rid of him between five and six in the evening.
No problem, Mrs. R. Some moms still prefer their Tony home permanent ...
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