Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Inspiration from Johnny Carson

People will pay more to be entertained than educated.
Johnny Carson

It's Wednesday...
I hope you are having a success-FULL day. The above quote I came across this morning. During my childhood and way into my adulthood, Johnny Carson was a huge presence. He still is. Many a late night would find me watching The Tonight Show STARRING Johnny Carson and I still laugh out loud from those memories.I agree with Johnny Carson. Find what thrills you and stick with it like a life vest. If you want to reach your audience emotionally you need to understand what they value and where they come from

A few nights ago, I was having dinner with friends, and we got on the topic of Jimmy Fallon's move to The Tonight Show. A friend said that she felt that it brought back memories of The Johnny Carson Show. She is younger by the way. Immediately another friend and I jumped in and said, with no disrespect to Jimmy Fallon that no one could compare to Johnny Carson. Since Johnny stepped down, late night television has never been the same.From 1962 to 1992, keeping America entertained late at night largely was the duty of one man. And it was a task Johnny Carson performed willingly.
I used to sneak up to watch The Johnny Carson Show.
Image Credit: James White/NBC

He always had the most exciting guests and, to me, it was like eavesdropping on a private conversation.

Talent alone won't make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is: 'Are your ready?'
Johnny Carson

That is something I am trying to evoke in my own interviews these days. The cultural landscape has changed drastically since Johnny left television.
I refer to him as "Johnny" because he did seem like an old friend.
A lot has been written and said about him since he died that paints an entire different persona from what we saw on television. However, on television, he exuded a warmth and an eagerness to please that made him a
Joan Rivers and Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show"
welcome fixture in our homes.
I wonder how long he would have stuck around in today's world of quick jokes, put downs, and demeaning the guests.
Johnny really listened to his guests.
I can't imagine that there there was an earpiece in his ear giving him his next joke and/or move. I was incredibly saddened when Johnny Carson stepped down.
I, like MOST of America, tuned in to his last night with special guest star, Bette Midler.
Bette Midler singing One for My Baby on Carson's last night on The Tonight Show in 1992

When Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show, it may sound woefully out-of-date to suggest that he in any way wants to be, or should be, or is going to be “the new Johnny Carson.”Everything had to go "wrong" for Jimmy Fallon to get The Tonight Show.

 For days after death hair and fingernails continue to grow, but phone calls taper off.
Johnny Carson

 I was so naive as a kid I used to sneak behind the barn and do nothing. Johnny Carson

Never continue in a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. 
And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.
Johnny Carson

According to Entertainment Weekly,"Over the last two decades, starting with the moment when Jay Leno launched his Attack Of The Nice Guy blandified makeover, The Tonight Show has effectively been de-Johnny-fied, and Fallon, who is 24 years younger than Leno (and would be 49 years younger than Carson if Carson were still alive), represents a brand new generation — or maybe I should say a new-brand generation — in the dominance of late night."

That is a generation that I obviously am not a part of nor do I understand. I am, as I have for sometime, been working on the brand name of Richard Skipper Celebrates. I desire to celebrate artists and their bodies of "worth" rather than tearing them down.

My success just evolved from working hard at the business at hand each day.
Johnny Carson

 There is enough negativity in today's world of "entertainment". I would rather celebrate artists and will continue to do so.
I've learned from the best. So did Johnny. His college thesis was on the comedy of Jack Benny.
 There is a new face to pop culture and I don't like it. The one thing I am learning is the key is to have something to say, and then choosing who to say it to.I'll take that a step further. Use that knowledge for positive good and to build others up instead of tearing them down.
When Carson took over The Tonight Show in 1962, he took over at a time when there were only three networks.
The networks vied for the largest demographic they could get and the caliber of programming was at a higher standard.
If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.
Johnny Carson

There was also no competition for Johnny at that time. ABC had late night "final" news and then, both on CBS and ABC, it was local programming. The THREE networks at that time all vied to get the LARGEST demographics they could muster. Therefore, in most programming, stars from MY generation would be seen with those from both my parents and grandparents generation.
That type of casting led to the success of shows like The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Hotel in the seventies.

The Entertainment Weekly article goes on to say, "Yet moving fearlessly into the future can sometimes return you to what’s fantastic about the past. Fallon, who has cited Steve Allen as a key inspiration, will be working out of the same Mad Men-era New York NBC studio at 30 Rock where Carson first hosted The Tonight Show in 1962, and that’s a crucial symbolic move."

 Happiness is your dentist telling you it won't hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill.
Johnny Carson

I believe audiences who grew up with Johnny would love to see HIS kind of talk show return.
Johnny had guests on that he truly liked. Once again, the conversations were sophisticated and not about "going for the joke", although the jokes were abundant and not without an occasional double entendre.
I don't remember Johnny being insulting to his GUESTS.
  The ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY article is right on when it says that we will never again see a world of three television networks, or an era when there are fewer than 47 competing late-night talk shows.
I miss that era. When the National Anthem was played (in a more patriotic time) and signed off with a test pattern, you KNEW it was time for bed.Late night was not filled with infomercials and just "filler".
I was 12 years old when The Tomorrow Show starring Tom Synder went on the air and I still remember it!
It followed the Tonight Show and it was a much more intimate format. There are few of this type of show on the air now. The closest, in my opinion, is Charlie Rose on PBS. It is interesting to note that Piers Morgan, who took over for Larry King, has been cancelled this week. There are many that may be rejoicing, especially the NRA. I am sorry to see him go. I am in total agreement on his stance on gun control. That is a whole other blog. I saw an interview yesterday in
Cabaret favorite Marilyn Maye was on Carson's Tonight Show 76 times!
which Larry King said he was never a "fan" of Piers' format. He felt that Piers concentrated too much on the "I" of the interview as opposed to the "You" of the interview. That is a great lesson for interviewers and a rule that I try and follow. Remember the days, also, in which someone would report the news instead of giving their opinions.
The bottom line is that these shows were set up to entertain.
When guests stopped by, it was as if they were stopping by for an informal get together and you learned about who they were.
I watch Craig Fergusen from time to time.                                                                                                            

Nicholas King with Liza
I like him but I have never heard a discussion with any real substance.
The entire program is ALL jokes. Even with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Arsinio Hall...all of them...the shows are more joke oriented than truly being about the guests. Black face is politically incorrect. There are many who get upset about how far we have come (or not) as to what is or is not politically correct. To me, bullying is not acceptable. Why is it acceptable for our comedians to say the most hateful things about others and, because it falls under the guise of comedy, it is acceptable? 
I KNOW that I am in the minority, but put down humor is not funny to me.
I remember one of Liza Minnelli's early appearances on the Jay Leno Tonight Show. I tuned in to see her. They spoke NOTHING of her and her career, but rather, they talked about the upcoming Super Bowl!

I know I am being very redundant in this blog but, please wake-up Networks, the fact that your ratings are dropping on most of the current crop of talk shows should tell you most of us desire more!
Let's start celebrating artists again rather than tearing them down. No wonder Alec Baldwin wants to walk away from public life. TMZ has done nothing to add to our cultural landscape.
Thank you ALL of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
Here's hoping that Jimmy Fallon will create his own great legacy and longevity!

 With grateful XOXOXs ,

Check out my site celebrating the FIRST Fifty years of  Hello, Dolly!

I desire this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!
Richard Skipper 845-365-0720

                                                                  Keeping Entertainment ALIVE!
                                                                   Richard Skipper Celebrates



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