Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed.
Archives of
Nolan's Pop Culture Review
PCR Archives 2005
PCR Archives 2004
PCR Archives 2003
PCR Archives 2002
PCR Archives 2001
PCR Archives 2000
Email PCR

"Million Dollar Baby"
 by Mike Smith

Goodnight, Johnny....Got the Clap?....Off Beat Cinema '05
 by Andy Lalino

Megacon: Looking Ahead to Wolfman & Perez....Get it While You Can....Things I Didn’t Know But Probably Should Have....Here’s To Johnny and “Slick”
 by Brandon Jones

Heeeere's Johnny!...Rondo Awards Nominations Are Out....Football Fabulah
 by Matt Drinnenberg

In Memory Of....It Was A "Y" for Yale....It's Razzie Time....Dick, Perry, and Friends....It Was 20 Years Ago Today....Jaws: The Story, Part 3
 by Mike Smith

Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
    Number 253  (Vol. 6, No. 4). This edition is for the week of January 24--30, 2005.

Goodbye, Johnny

•  Johnny Carson memories
•  Academy Awards nominations
•  ED Tucker's open letter to Walt Disney

I can't muster the strength to even joke about saying Heeeeere's Johnny!", even though to some less sensitive it may seem like an obvious intro. Unfortunately the subject is too sad for such jokes.

Johnny Carson, the perennial "King of Late Night" TV, the host of the Tonight Show for 30 years, and one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived, died last Sunday at his California home at age 79. He was surrounded by his family when he apparently succumbed to complications from emphysema — a respiratory disease that can be attributed to smoking. (Carson smoked most of his adult life.)

I had heard of Johnny Carson growing up during the '60s, but I don't believe, outside of news clips, I ever found the ambition to stay up that late and watch The Tonight Show, regularly at least, until after I graduated high school in 1973 and my schedule was my own again. (After high school I became a night person for pretty much the rest of my life.) After I got used to watching it, I could never live without it again, especially because of Carson's presence.

An aside: I thought it very amusing that during the '60s and '70s, TV Guide would list the program simply as "Johnny Carson", never as "The Tonight Show" until well into the '80s. To me that implied the editors felt that people reading the magazine would find Johnny's name easier to remember than the name of the show he hosted.

Once a year, they'd have a "best of" episode where I got to re-live (or retroactively experience) such gems as Ed Ames' hatchet-throwing lesson, or Tiny Tim's wedding to Miss Vicki (the latter one of the highest-rated programs of all time). I got pretty good at predicting which zany comedy routine-gone-wrong or funny animal spot-gone-wrong during the year would make it onto the best of specials.

A seasoned Tonight Show viewer like myself got to know the ebb and flow of the program through all the tempestuous side issues, schedule changes and guest hosts. Although most guest hosts were very adept at taking the reigns temporarily while Carson was on vacation, hiatus or whatever, I'd always get the feeling it was sub-par, although I know that's not really fair. But there was nothing...nothing....like hearing stalwart sidekick/announcer Ed McMahon blare out "Heeeeeere's Johnny" and seeing the man himself sashe through the curtain. You knew it just didn't get any better than this. Well, at 11:30 at night, anyway! His folksy, midwestern charm and stinging humor would bring out the best in all his guests.

Not that many didn't try to topple the king from his throne. In my memory, the most notable was Merv Griffin, who had a really good, if quirky, daytime talk show that emulated Tonight on most high points during the '70s. Unfortunately, Merv's attempts at late night were short lived (although he did return to daytime successfully afterward). Everyone else who tried couldn't do much better (although I've always been a big fan of Dick Cavet).

Early Years:
· Born Oct. 23, 1925 in Corning, Iowa
· Grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska
· Served in U.S. Navy 1943-1946

Personal Life:
· Jody Carson Buckley - Married 1949-1963
· Had three sons with Jody Carson; His son Ricky died in 1991 in a road accident
· Joanne Carson - Married 1963-1972
· Joanna Carson - Married 1972-1985
· Alexis Carson - Married 1987-Present

· Four Emmys for "The Tonight Show"
· 1987: Inducted in TV Hall of Fame
· 1992: Presidential Medal of Freedom
· 1993: Kennedy Center Honors

Doc Severinson may have been the unsung hero of The Tonight Show as the flashiest band leader best at taking jabs from Johnny, not to mention he was a world class trumpet-player. The best times were when Johnny, Ed, and Doc were together. Those were classic shows.

The many characters Carson invented were all great, but the absolute best skits, to me, involved "Carnac The Magnificent", where Carson was a turban-wearing psychic. Ed McMahon would give Carnac an envelope he would put to his temple and "divine" the answer to the question inside. The raport between Carson and McMahon never shown so brightly as it did here. Other characters like "Floyd R. Turbo, American" and "Dear, lovable, old Aunt Blabby" (with Carson in drag) definitely had their moments. Another favorite was the wheeler-dealer-scheister Carson would play as a hard salesman with a high-pitched voice, but I don't remember that character's name.

After Johnny threatened many walk-outs during the '80s, The Tonight Show went from 90 minutes to 60 minutes, presumably to ease Carson's workload. Further, his work week was limited to just 4 days, sometimes less, with increasing vacation time. You could kind of tell the end was near. The blood-bath between Jay Leno and David Letterman to take over Johnny's prized chair is the stuff of legend. We know now that Leno won out, but David Letterman continues a successful reign at CBS. Toward the end of his life, Johnny found he still enjoyed writing jokes and would occasionally send some to Letterman who frequently incorporated them into his show. Observers and insiders felt Carson's generosity indicated a strong feeling Letterman was the more his true successor than Leno, but this is speculation.

The final appearance of Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show was in May of 1992 (his last two guests were Robin Williams and Bette Midler---the final show was a solo act). A tearful farewell and he was off to retirement. Despite subtle indications here and there he'd re-emerge, he never really did, prefering the isolation of his Malibu home and the occasional tennis match.

His positive impact on innumerable acts who started on his show cannot be estimated, but I doubt it will ever be surpassed. Johhny Carson, Oct. 23, 1925--January 23, 2005, you will be sorely missed.

The 2004 Academy Award nominations
Jamie Foxx - Ray
Johnny Depp - Finding Neverland
Don Cheadle - Hotel Rwanda
Clint Eastwood - Million Dollar Baby
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Aviator
Annette Bening - Being Julia
Hilary Swank - Million Dollar Baby
Imelda Staunton - Vera Drake
Catalina Sandino Moreno - Maria Full of Grace
Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thomas Haden Church - Sideways
Clive Owens - Closer
Jamie Foxx - Collateral
Morgan Freeman - Million Dollar Baby
Alan Alda - The Aviator
Virginia Madsen - Sideways
Natalie Portman - Closer
Laura Linney - Kinsey
Cate Blanchett - The Aviator
Sophie Okonedo - Hotel Rwanda
Martin Scorsese - The Aviator
Alexander Payne - Sideways
Clint Eastwood - Million Dollar Baby
Taylor Hackford - Ray
Mike Leigh - Vera Drake

Somewhat predictably, Fahrenheit 9/11 got snubbed entirely (partially the fault of filmmaker Michael Moore for taking it out of the documentary category where it was virtually assured a victory), and The Passion of the Christ---entered as a "foreign language film"(?)---got nods for a possible "Best Make-Up" and not much else.

An Open Letter to the Walt Disney Corporation
By ED Tucker

To Ms. Julie Young
Product Development, Disney Pin Trading

Dear Ms. Young.
This letter is in regard to recent statements you made on the Disney Events website in the article entitled “Piece of Disney History – 2005 Pin Collection” (http://eventservices.disney.go.com/pintrading/pin?id=6398). In this article you describe a new collectible pin being released to commemorate the discontinued (you prefer to use the word “retired” but I feel that implies the ride was terminated with some form of dignity which was clearly not the case) Walt Disney World theme park attraction “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” which will include pieces of the actual ride. In the course of this article you describe several of the pins under consideration and include detailed photos of a porthole from the 20K ride being cut into tiny slivers for inclusion in the pin. Accompanying the photos you are quoted as saying:

"I was really inspired by the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea porthole," continued Julie. "After seeing [the porthole], I wanted to find a way to get a piece of that classic attraction into the hands of many Guests. This pin collection was the result."

Now Ms. Young, I have to assume that in order for you to be able to make a statement like this, you really must not be aware of the history of the demise of this ride. If you were aware of the history then you would know that the ride subs were buried in a Walt Disney World landfill and the contents of the lagoon were bulldozed over and paved. All of these “pieces” of this “classic attraction” could have also found their way into the “hands of many Guests” had Disney not made a concerted effort to destroy them first! I suspect it was nothing more than luck or the potential for cost cutting recycling that caused Disney to salvage the portholes and seats from some of the subs prior to destruction in the first place. It certainly was not the idea of cashing in on the collectible pin fad which didn’t even exist when these items were removed.

If you want to “get a piece of that classic attraction into the hands of many Guests” then why aren’t you selling the entire portholes? Is it because there were only a maximum of 400 or so portholes available and chopping them into tiny fragments now gives you the potential of selling thousands of pins? Having a few metallic chips off a ride is really worthless from a collectible standpoint because these filings are no longer identifiable as a piece of what they were derived from. After you took the initial photos of one porthole being chopped up, you could find an endless supply of pieces for your pins on any welding shop floor, with no one being the wiser.

To quote Bert O’Connor, a former operator for this ride and one of this attraction's biggest fans, “If I want a memento of an extinct attraction, I want a piece I can recognize as being from that attraction. This idea only opens the flood gates for fraudulent fragments appearing on eBay claiming to be pieces of a porthole or sub or whatever. It's buyer beware!”

Mr. O’Connor, who in theory should be one of your biggest supporters in this project, sums the entire situation up very concisely. True fans of this attraction are not going to want a few unidentifiable shavings to remember it by, especially when they could have easily had an entire porthole, fin, eye, or even a hatch from one of the ride subs. Had the lagoon not been demolished with the contents still inside, the “hands of many guests” could be filled with pieces of the lost treasures of Atlantis, a rail from a sunken ship, or the tentacle of a giant squid. If Disney wants to increase its revenues and further line its pockets with the dollars of its fans then at least be honest about it. Please don’t add insult to injury by trying to act like you are doing us a favor with an afterthought of crumbs from your table when the main course was sent to the dump untouched.

ED Tucker

(Special Note: Shortly after this letter was written, true to Bert O’Connor’s prediction, multiple auctions for these pins began turning up on eBay. The surprising part is that these auctions are all supposedly “pre-sales” since the actual pin is not being officially released until January 28.)

Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
Amazon.com Platinum Visa Card
In Association with Amazon.com
"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2005 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino    "The Digital Divide" is ©2005 by Terence Nuzum    "Splash Page" is ©2005 by Brandon Jones    "The Black Dog Bites Back" is ©2005 by Joshua Montgomery    "The Ogre" is ©2005 by Clayton Smith      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
Crazed Fanboy dotcom is owned and operated by Nolan B. Canova

Back to Top