In September 1983, Joan Rivers was officially designated Carson's permanent guest host, a role she had been essentially filling for more than a year before then. In 1986, she abruptly left for her own show, The Late Show (1986), on the then new Fox Network. Carson first learned of her show when watching her press conference on TV. She called Carson after the announcement and he was furious at Rivers for failing to inform him personally before the press conference, but he refused to take the call. Carson was so infuriated that he banned Rivers from his show, canceling even the three weeks of guest hosting she was scheduled to. Carson never forgave her for leaving, and never spoke to her again, even after she wrote him a note following the accidental death of Carson's son Ricky. Rivers stated that she didn't want to tell Carson before the announcement was made because she was afraid FOX would cancel the deal if word leaked out. She maintains that she handled things the right way by not telling Carson of her plans ahead of time. However, Carson stated that he felt betrayed by Rivers not because she dared to compete with him, but because she was not honest with him beforehand about her intentions and did not ask him for advice and his blessing. The Tonight Show reverted to various guest hosts after Joan left, with Jay Leno the most frequent. Leno then became the exclusive guest host in the fall of 1987, a position he held for the remainder of Carson's reign. See more »
[from his "What Democracy Means To Me" monologue - September 11, 1991]
To me, democracy means placing trust in the little guy, giving the fruits of nationhood to those who built the nation. Democracy means anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn't grow up can be vice president.
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Whenever Carson added a skit to an episode, the "Mighty Carson Art Players" would be announced as guest stars. See more »
I haven't seen the movie itself but I understand it's an overall view of JC's 30 years on the show. I lived in FLA one year and watched it sometimes during the week. What I saw was funny, smart and bright. I always liked the "monologue" and I wonder who actually started that tradition, or was it JC himself? And the big guy on the settee-McMann? what exactly was his function? I was sorry to see JC finish his run and thought he could have lasted at least another 5-10 years. He was a brilliant host - the best ever. When he paid tribute to his late son, it was very poignant and reserved.
God bless Johnny Carson.
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