Wednesday, January 21, 2009

high wattage

I'm not much of a "Late Night Show" watcher- ever since Johnny Carson retired, it isn't really that interesting to be honest. Of course, back during Johnny's reign, the stars came out for him, even when a guest host was filling in. I don't mean to knock the current roster of hosts and shows, but it seems to me they pluck a comedian into a hosting gig and hope it goes off. If they are lucky they might hire someone who has been a writer, like Conan O'Brien, and actually has talent to make it entertaining.

But there is a key difference- the stars of today just aren't of the same wattage as the ones of the past. Now you might disagree with me, but in Johnny's day, there were guests and then sometimes a surprise guest might pop in studio- people like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, George Burns, or maybe even Ann-Margaret. You knew you were going to laugh, hear some good music and be entertained. Today I don't even recognize half of the music acts that show up to perform, and the all the guest seem to be concerned about is plugging their latest attempt at a film performance that most likely will be disappointing.

Maybe I'm getting old or just more cantankerous, but I think the late shows have lost there luster. I offer the clips below as an example of a time when the big stars guested or even just "popped in" and yukked it up and the audience in studio and at home just ate it up. They knew the public was their lifeline, but with these people - entertaining was more than a career- it was in their blood.
When was the last time you saw such "high wattage" on a late show. Heck, to me they don't even make stages today that can handle the star power of these folks.

Check out Don Rickles guest hosting when Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and John Wayne pop in.

How about Johnny with two of his own favorite people: Mel Blanc and Jack Benny
(the clip is not wide as normal for some reason, but it's still fantastic- Mel still breaks up Jack and Johnny with a rountine they both know by heart):

And here is a clip segment of some great talent that appeared on Carson, including the one and the only Groucho (and Jack playing his violin!)

Oh sure, I know saying something like "the good ol' days" is a cliche, but sometimes, just sometimes, I think my grandparents had a point. They really don't make 'em like they used to.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

And so it has come to this. I am one of the lucky people in the world. I found something that I always wanted to do and I have enjoyed every single minute of it.

1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

Good to see some posts again. Don't you guys have 3 people/posters? Anyway, I love Jack Benny. Those old Carson shows were really something. The older stars seemed much more comfortable with who they were and relaxed around other entertainers. Granted, they didn't have 24 hour gossip channels, but still, the talent and charisma of these folks is amazing.



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