By Curtis Ray Bizelli
Johnny Carson reigned 30 years on The Tonight Show, which was from 1962 to 1992. He was born in 1925 and passed away in 2005 at the age of 79. He is a legend among many and will always be remembered in the hearts and minds of his fans.
A young lady by the name of Sunni Black, who could also be seen on Sun Up San Diego, appeared on Carson’s show one time with an amazing Amazon Parrot. The 15-year old bird had been with Sunni for most of it’s life. The scene was very comical. The parrot chimed in with quite a few “hellos” then began to laugh hysterically. The audience, along with Johnny, really got a kick out of this. Every time Carson laughed, the bird would laugh right along with him. Not only would the parrot laugh, it would also bark like a dog, along with meowing when Sunni said “do a cat.” The female bird would respond tremendously. She would also sing when you act like an orchestra director with your finger.
Carson appears to have had plenty of animals on his show including a Potoroo and a Sugar Glider. He’s been attacked by a monkey and has had a marmoset relieve itself on his head. Johnny Carson was comical the entire time with true, genuine, down-to-earth humor. He shows no disrespect and continues to do his business regardless of what happens. He must have been a true animal lover.
Johnny Carson once had the familiar actor, Jimmy Stewart on his show in 1981. The reason that this show is so memorable is the fact that Stewart enjoys reciting poetry … AND… on this particular show, he recited a lovely, heart-felt, touching poem about a dog named Beau. Johnny Carson was very sympathetic like a great man should be. A viewer of this show stated in a review, “I remember the night this show aired. I cried then, and seeing it again, I cry now. A timeless poem for all of us whoever owned a dog that we loved.” Another viewer had this to say, “We miss you, Johnny and Jimmy. I’m sure they’re entertaining the angels now.”
On yet another show, Carson was extensively funny, yet serious in his statement about a DUI he had received the weekend before the show. He gave his word that it would never ever happen again.
Carson seemed to possess a genuine love for common folk and a disregard for pretentious stars. Alright, Carson was a huckster but his wit came out of more innocuous times and was based more on mutual respect than disrespect.
Carson liked to kid around with all sorts of celebrities including, but not limited to Dolly Parton and Michael Landon. The list truly just goes on forever. One viewer of his shows states to Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, and David Letterman: “Conan , Jay , Dave … you guys will never be as good as Johnny Carson.” His shows were nothing short of remarkable and his old time fans genuinely loved him dearly. Johnny Carson didn’t formulate the late-night TV talk show but he most definitely made the most of it.