ISSUE DATE: May 19, 1967
Mrs. Homer L. Carson knows that there is more to the equations than an occasional misfiring joke. Her son, at 41, is an institution, a cup of bedtime coffee with none of the caffeine removed. “We’re more effective than birth control pills,” says Carson, improvising a bit on his own slightly leering line that people watch him “through their toes”—that is, lying down in bed. On good nights in midwinter, there might be as many as 10 million viewers, according to Nielsen. But if there are fewer on other nights, Carson at least gets a crack at his audience five nights a week on NBC stations from 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. (an hour earlier in the Central Time zone).
Whether they are in bed or chairs, the viewers’ reward is the most consistently entertaining 90 minutes to be seen anywhere on television. Tonight was a lively enough show in the five years when it was run by that mercurial madcap Jack Paar, but since Carson took over in 1962, it has become brighter, smoother and more sophisticated. Carson’s opening six-minute monologue is generally humorous, despite an unfortunate preoccupation with bathroom jokes. The rest of the bill is filled with two or three musical turns, a guest comic’s bit or a mildly satirical skit, and—best of all—engaging conversations with guests who range in celebrity from Vice President Hubert Humphrey to people who are merely interesting—an Australian stowaway, a clearly spurious seer, a subway conductor turned poet.
Read the full story here
Next Julia Child