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(YouTube)   Classic Carson: After a professional pianist was unable to appear on Carson's Tonight Show, a very casually dressed audience member comes down as a replacement   ( youtube.com) divider line
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8584 clicks; posted to Video » on 15 Mar 2013 at 7:20 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-15 12:21:52 AM  
I remember seeing that show when it was broadcast, must have been the late 80's. I thought it was a set up when it started, but it seemed to be real after he finished playing as they never 'let us in' on any set up or joke.

Carson was a class act. I miss him on The Tonight Show.
 
2013-03-15 01:41:17 AM  
Nice find subby.
 
2013-03-15 07:35:47 AM  
Fake.

/What?  I thought that was required in every video thread?
 
2013-03-15 07:52:49 AM  
Carson had him on a second time, this time as an official guest. Man I miss Carson's show. Thanks for digging this up subby!

David Tolley's second appearance
 
2013-03-15 07:56:03 AM  
When I was little I always knew I was up really late when the man with white hair standing in front of the colorful curtains came on tv.
 
2013-03-15 08:02:32 AM  
Although the ultimate story was cool.... my guess is that could have been the classical pianist who just decided he wanted to be pulled out of the audience in a Nike shirt instead of a traditional intro and 99% of the audience would have been fooled.

Much like this....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myq8upzJDJc
 
2013-03-15 08:35:03 AM  
Carson was no fool...to pull this off and make it believable he knew he'd have to make every little detail seem random and improvised, otherwise it will be an obvious setup (see the Price Is Right's "million dollar winner" episode).  It was well done.

Nevertheless, I call shenanigans.  This kind of trick is very hard to pull off  without raising suspicions, and even more so in this particular case since it is far more likely the player would have been just average if not poor.  The likelihood of this being happenstance is simply too low to be believable.

Really good piano players don't just happen to be in the audience, because they're probably in a practice room.
 
2013-03-15 08:59:06 AM  
It's entirely possible that this happened by coincidence, and Carson's first plan was to get a mediocre piano player from the audience and do an improv routine with the piano playing.
 
2013-03-15 09:08:28 AM  

Javacrucian: When I was little I always knew I was up really late when the man with white hair standing in front of the colorful curtains came on tv.


Me too, but they were black and white in my case.
 
2013-03-15 09:09:50 AM  

Baron Harkonnen: It's entirely possible that this happened by coincidence, and Carson's first plan was to get a mediocre piano player from the audience and do an improv routine with the piano playing.


Sure it's possible. But likely? Not so much....there's far more entertainment value in making it look like a coincidence than there is probability of it being actually being a coincidence.

Professional entertainment does not take chances like that, especially back then.
 
2013-03-15 09:11:21 AM  
to Carson's credit he never became the bitter old curmudgen in his later years that Letterman has become. His vitriol oozes out of the tv every time I try to watch.
 
2013-03-15 09:20:16 AM  
Per a radio interview that David did years back after he became successful, it happened as the Tonight show filmed it. No shenanigans involved.
 
2013-03-15 10:23:49 AM  

Macinfarker: Carson was no fool...to pull this off and make it believable he knew he'd have to make every little detail seem random and improvised, otherwise it will be an obvious setup (see the Price Is Right's "million dollar winner" episode).  It was well done.

Nevertheless, I call shenanigans.  This kind of trick is very hard to pull off  without raising suspicions, and even more so in this particular case since it is far more likely the player would have been just average if not poor.  The likelihood of this being happenstance is simply too low to be believable.

Really good piano players don't just happen to be in the audience, because they're probably in a practice room.


FOR FARK'S SAKE CAN'T YOU PEOPLE ENJOY ANYTHING?
 
2013-03-15 10:27:37 AM  

Mentat: Macinfarker: Carson was no fool...to pull this off and make it believable he knew he'd have to make every little detail seem random and improvised, otherwise it will be an obvious setup (see the Price Is Right's "million dollar winner" episode).  It was well done.

Nevertheless, I call shenanigans.  This kind of trick is very hard to pull off  without raising suspicions, and even more so in this particular case since it is far more likely the player would have been just average if not poor.  The likelihood of this being happenstance is simply too low to be believable.

Really good piano players don't just happen to be in the audience, because they're probably in a practice room.

FOR FARK'S SAKE CAN'T YOU PEOPLE ENJOY ANYTHING?


I'll bet you are a Kardashian reality series fan
 
2013-03-15 10:34:40 AM  

Macinfarker: Mentat: Macinfarker: Carson was no fool...to pull this off and make it believable he knew he'd have to make every little detail seem random and improvised, otherwise it will be an obvious setup (see the Price Is Right's "million dollar winner" episode).  It was well done.

Nevertheless, I call shenanigans.  This kind of trick is very hard to pull off  without raising suspicions, and even more so in this particular case since it is far more likely the player would have been just average if not poor.  The likelihood of this being happenstance is simply too low to be believable.

Really good piano players don't just happen to be in the audience, because they're probably in a practice room.

FOR FARK'S SAKE CAN'T YOU PEOPLE ENJOY ANYTHING?

I'll bet you are a Kardashian reality series fan


You probably cried during the proposal on the Bachelor too.
 
2013-03-15 10:35:13 AM  
I suspect that guy can play the organ too.
 
2013-03-15 10:37:09 AM  

AiryAnne: I suspect that guy can play the organ too.


Or one of these:

celtic-weddingrings.comView Full Size
 
2013-03-15 10:39:26 AM  

AiryAnne: I suspect that guy can play the organ too.


Yeah, somebody get that guy a candelabra and a sequined suit coat.
 
2013-03-15 11:14:07 AM  

Crewmannumber6: to Carson's credit he never became the bitter old curmudgen in his later years that Letterman has become. His vitriol oozes out of the tv every time I try to watch.


LOL.  The email notification thingy matched this to me.  I don't know if it was a string match to "curmudgen" or a heuristic match of my posts to the "bitter old" keywords.  ;)

/agree about Letterman, unfortunately
 
2013-03-15 11:55:04 AM  

Macinfarker: Carson was no fool...to pull this off and make it believable he knew he'd have to make every little detail seem random and improvised, otherwise it will be an obvious setup (see the Price Is Right's "million dollar winner" episode).  It was well done.

Nevertheless, I call shenanigans.  This kind of trick is very hard to pull off  without raising suspicions, and even more so in this particular case since it is far more likely the player would have been just average if not poor.  The likelihood of this being happenstance is simply too low to be believable.

Really good piano players don't just happen to be in the audience, because they're probably in a practice room.


yes...because that's all they do is sit and practice piano.

for farks sake can't you people enjoy anything without trying saying its fake.....you must live a pretty terrible life if all you do is look for reasons its not real instead of reasons it is
 
2013-03-15 12:17:43 PM  
thanks subby for the Carson link. as always a joy to watch a real pro doing late night.
wish he was still around
 
2013-03-15 12:18:46 PM  

Crewmannumber6: to Carson's credit he never became the bitter old curmudgen in his later years that Letterman has become. His vitriol oozes out of the tv every time I try to watch.


Carson was class. Even when he would joke about his marriages, he never made his ex-wives out to be bad, he was always the fall guy for his own jokes.

Many entertainers we have today got their start on Carson's show, and I can't think of one who didn't say what a good guy he was.
 
2013-03-15 12:20:29 PM  
Not fake!
 
2013-03-15 12:25:29 PM  

Macinfarker: Mentat: Macinfarker: Carson was no fool...to pull this off and make it believable he knew he'd have to make every little detail seem random and improvised, otherwise it will be an obvious setup (see the Price Is Right's "million dollar winner" episode).  It was well done.

Nevertheless, I call shenanigans.  This kind of trick is very hard to pull off  without raising suspicions, and even more so in this particular case since it is far more likely the player would have been just average if not poor.  The likelihood of this being happenstance is simply too low to be believable.

Really good piano players don't just happen to be in the audience, because they're probably in a practice room.

FOR FARK'S SAKE CAN'T YOU PEOPLE ENJOY ANYTHING?

I'll bet you are a Kardashian reality series fan


Which is exactly why we can't enjoy anything.

It's been almost 21 years since the premier of "The Real World" and the cancerous plague of Reality TV in the US; combine that with 24 hours news networks, none of which can seem to simply report just facts and figures, and you have a situation where no one just takes anything in the media at face value.
 
2013-03-15 12:26:30 PM  

feckingmorons: Crewmannumber6: to Carson's credit he never became the bitter old curmudgen in his later years that Letterman has become. His vitriol oozes out of the tv every time I try to watch.

Carson was class. Even when he would joke about his marriages, he never made his ex-wives out to be bad, he was always the fall guy for his own jokes.

Many entertainers we have today got their start on Carson's show, and I can't think of one who didn't say what a good guy he was.


Joan Rivers
 
2013-03-15 12:28:06 PM  
really cool story.  the guy even responds to comments on his youtube video.
 
2013-03-15 12:34:14 PM  

SquiggsIN: really cool story.  the guy even responds to comments on his youtube video.


I thought Jonny Carson was dead?
 
2013-03-15 12:38:55 PM  

Old_Chief_Scott: AiryAnne: I suspect that guy can play the organ too.

Yeah, somebody get that guy a candelabra and a sequined suit coat.


At about 4:00 he actually starts doing Liberace vamping.
 
2013-03-15 12:43:00 PM  

Macinfarker: Really good piano players don't just happen to be in the audience


I'd think the odds could be significantly increased by the audience member specifically being present to see the famous pianist.
 
2013-03-15 12:45:50 PM  
Life's been good to that guy.
http:/ /www.class-acts.com/entertainers/davidtolley/index.htm
 
2013-03-15 12:49:30 PM  

the opposite of charity is justice: Macinfarker: Really good piano players don't just happen to be in the audience

I'd think the odds could be significantly increased by the audience member specifically being present to see the famous pianist.


Not only that, but finding professional-grade entertainers (such as, say, studio pianists) living close to Hollywood isn't exactly "needle in a haystack" difficult.
 
2013-03-15 12:55:13 PM  
sis boom bah
 
2013-03-15 01:16:22 PM  

under a mountain: feckingmorons: Crewmannumber6: to Carson's credit he never became the bitter old curmudgen in his later years that Letterman has become. His vitriol oozes out of the tv every time I try to watch.

Carson was class. Even when he would joke about his marriages, he never made his ex-wives out to be bad, he was always the fall guy for his own jokes.

Many entertainers we have today got their start on Carson's show, and I can't think of one who didn't say what a good guy he was.

Joan Rivers


American Masters did a great retrospective on Carson, lots of interviews with other comics (you can actually watch it at the website):

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/johnny-carson-king- of -late-night/watch-the-full-documentary/2093/

And Joan was on it (around 1:25), and even she seemed remorseful about how she handled her situation.
 
2013-03-15 01:32:50 PM  

BKITU: Old_Chief_Scott: AiryAnne: I suspect that guy can play the organ too.

Yeah, somebody get that guy a candelabra and a sequined suit coat.

At about 4:00 he actually starts doing Liberace vamping.


He's kinda poking fun at the woman who went before him.  If you watch the full video clip rather than this cut one, the woman in red was also pulled out of the audience and went before him (he was her "backup" in case she stank) and she played Silver Bells and was kinda mugging for the audience during it.  So he got up there and starting doing the same sort of thing, exaggerating it a bit for laughs.
 
2013-03-15 02:07:22 PM  
For all of you nay-sayer's who weren't even born when Carson was on - Carson LIVED for picking random people and bringing them on the show.  To say he would have set up a person in the audience is ludicrous, because he had "normal" people on all the time.

//like the lady who collected potato chips.

I realize this is Fark and everything is a farking conspiracy, but jesus, it gets old.
 
2013-03-15 02:20:26 PM  

zabadu: For all of you nay-sayer's who weren't even born when Carson was on - Carson LIVED for picking random people and bringing them on the show.  To say he would have set up a person in the audience is ludicrous, because he had "normal" people on all the time.

//like the lady who collected potato chips.


*crunch*
*heart attack*
 
2013-03-15 02:34:07 PM  
Sorry Farkers... your ironic internet cynicism and well-rehearsed eye-trolling are not welcome in the Actual World.  This was a 100% real event.  I saw it with my own eyes and even remember the guy standing in line outside the show.
 
2013-03-15 02:37:25 PM  
Damn, Carson had a huge audience. It's easily twice the size of a late night talk show audience these days.
 
2013-03-15 02:49:32 PM  

under a mountain: feckingmorons: Crewmannumber6: to Carson's credit he never became the bitter old curmudgen in his later years that Letterman has become. His vitriol oozes out of the tv every time I try to watch.

Carson was class. Even when he would joke about his marriages, he never made his ex-wives out to be bad, he was always the fall guy for his own jokes.

Many entertainers we have today got their start on Carson's show, and I can't think of one who didn't say what a good guy he was.

Joan Rivers


I'm sorry I don't really classify Joan Rivers as an entertainer, she is more in the annoyance category like Gilbert Gottfried.
 
2013-03-15 02:50:14 PM  
Scot Halpin not impressed
http://youtu.be/sFa_VQI2K6Q?t=3m12s
 
2013-03-15 02:53:44 PM  

zabadu: For all of you nay-sayer's who weren't even born when Carson was on - Carson LIVED for picking random people and bringing them on the show.  To say he would have set up a person in the audience is ludicrous, because he had "normal" people on all the time.

//like the lady who collected potato chips.

I realize this is Fark and everything is a farking conspiracy, but jesus, it gets old.


I remember the potato chip lady too, he pretended to eat one of her chips and scared her silly. This was long before the Virgin Mary started appearing on toast.
 
2013-03-15 03:12:56 PM  

jigger: Damn, Carson had a huge audience. It's easily twice the size of a late night talk show audience these days.


EVERYTHING on TV had a "huge" audience before widespread cable & the internet, compared to today's ratings....

Right now, the highest rated shows on TV get around 18-20 million viewers (BBT, NCIS, etc)... American Idol used to be that high, but, is around 13-14 million this year, etc.   The 20th ranked show last week (Once Upon a Time) had 7 million viewers, which is still considered fairly good.

Compare that to even 1993 (only 20 years ago, and cable wasn't even exactly a "new" thing):
http://anythingkiss.com/pi_feedback_challenge/Ratings/19931129-19940 22 7_TVRatings.pdf

Top Rated show was Home Improvement with 40 MILLION viewers... and NO shows, other than stuff on Fox, got under 10 million viewers (a rerun of HI was 7th with 28 million).    Think about that... literally EVERYTHING, even crap "nobody" was watching, on the 3 major networks at the time (Fox was still well behind, they didn't get the NFL until 1994) had over 10 million viewers.  Now, maybe the top 10-15 shows on network TV have 10 million viewers.

I mean, look at Tuesday night on ABC... some show barely anyone remembers called "Phenom" had 21 million viewers.  Today that would be the biggest hit on television.   In 1993, that wasn't good enough considering the shows surrounding it, and it got cancelled after 1 season.

So, did Carson really have a "huge" audience?    Yes, but, he would have the same middling # of viewers all the other late night shows have today.   And Leno and Conan could have had 9 million viewers a night in 1982.
 
2013-03-15 03:29:00 PM  

dletter: jigger: Damn, Carson had a huge audience. It's easily twice the size of a late night talk show audience these days.

EVERYTHING on TV had a "huge" audience before widespread cable & the internet, compared to today's ratings....

Right now, the highest rated shows on TV get around 18-20 million viewers (BBT, NCIS, etc)... American Idol used to be that high, but, is around 13-14 million this year, etc.   The 20th ranked show last week (Once Upon a Time) had 7 million viewers, which is still considered fairly good.

Compare that to even 1993 (only 20 years ago, and cable wasn't even exactly a "new" thing):
http://anythingkiss.com/pi_feedback_challenge/Ratings/19931129-19940 22 7_TVRatings.pdf

Top Rated show was Home Improvement with 40 MILLION viewers... and NO shows, other than stuff on Fox, got under 10 million viewers (a rerun of HI was 7th with 28 million).    Think about that... literally EVERYTHING, even crap "nobody" was watching, on the 3 major networks at the time (Fox was still well behind, they didn't get the NFL until 1994) had over 10 million viewers.  Now, maybe the top 10-15 shows on network TV have 10 million viewers.

I mean, look at Tuesday night on ABC... some show barely anyone remembers called "Phenom" had 21 million viewers.  Today that would be the biggest hit on television.   In 1993, that wasn't good enough considering the shows surrounding it, and it got cancelled after 1 season.

So, did Carson really have a "huge" audience?    Yes, but, he would have the same middling # of viewers all the other late night shows have today.   And Leno and Conan could have had 9 million viewers a night in 1982.


You miss the point completely.  Carson had a "huge audience" in the fact that he did it for 30 years, EVERYONE talked about Carson the day after a show, you stayed up late to see your favorite person on Carson, you became seriously successful if you appeared on Carson...Carson was a huge influence for 30 years, and those who never saw a nobody become a somebody the day after the appeared on Carson would never understand.  Carson had a HUGE audience when there were only three channels and 3 billion people in the world.  Carson wasn't numbers, Carson was TELEVISION.

Comparing Carson to Leno or Conan - there is no comparison.

/lawn, get off, I mean it.
 
2013-03-15 03:41:49 PM  

dletter: Yes, but, he would have the same middling # of viewers all the other late night shows have today.


I have to disagree with that. If Carson were on at 11:30PM I'd watch it. Now I don't watch anything at that time.
 
2013-03-15 03:47:44 PM  

feckingmorons: dletter: Yes, but, he would have the same middling # of viewers all the other late night shows have today.

I have to disagree with that. If Carson were on at 11:30PM I'd watch it. Now I don't watch anything at that time.


I thought he was talking about the number of people actually in the studio. Doh!
 
2013-03-15 03:48:31 PM  
Carson and Potato Chip Lady, for those who remember...

Seinfeld quote:  "For my entire career, I've heard comedians in bars debate over who would get the Tonight's Show when Johnny leaves.  What nobody realized is that when you left, you were going to pack it up and take it with you...which is what he did.  Because that show never existed again.  There was no Tonight Show, it was Carson."
 
2013-03-15 03:54:33 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Javacrucian: When I was little I always knew I was up really late when the man with white hair standing in front of the colorful curtains came on tv.

Me too, but they were black and white in my case.


Me too, I never knew the curtains were that colorful.
 
2013-03-15 03:56:57 PM  

zabadu: Carson and Potato Chip Lady, for those who remember...

Seinfeld quote:  "For my entire career, I've heard comedians in bars debate over who would get the Tonight's Show when Johnny leaves.  What nobody realized is that when you left, you were going to pack it up and take it with you...which is what he did.  Because that show never existed again.  There was no Tonight Show, it was Carson."


That is really true. Carson was the Tonight Show. Sure, Jack Parr was the tonight show but he was kind of a dick at the end, and they gave him a once a week show earlier in the evening and Carson got the Tonight show and made it the excellent show it was for the next 30 years.
 
2013-03-15 04:20:16 PM  

zabadu: dletter: jigger: Damn, Carson had a huge audience. It's easily twice the size of a late night talk show audience these days.

EVERYTHING on TV had a "huge" audience before widespread cable & the internet, compared to today's ratings....

Right now, the highest rated shows on TV get around 18-20 million viewers (BBT, NCIS, etc)... American Idol used to be that high, but, is around 13-14 million this year, etc.   The 20th ranked show last week (Once Upon a Time) had 7 million viewers, which is still considered fairly good.

Compare that to even 1993 (only 20 years ago, and cable wasn't even exactly a "new" thing):
http://anythingkiss.com/pi_feedback_challenge/Ratings/19931129-19940 22 7_TVRatings.pdf

Top Rated show was Home Improvement with 40 MILLION viewers... and NO shows, other than stuff on Fox, got under 10 million viewers (a rerun of HI was 7th with 28 million).    Think about that... literally EVERYTHING, even crap "nobody" was watching, on the 3 major networks at the time (Fox was still well behind, they didn't get the NFL until 1994) had over 10 million viewers.  Now, maybe the top 10-15 shows on network TV have 10 million viewers.

I mean, look at Tuesday night on ABC... some show barely anyone remembers called "Phenom" had 21 million viewers.  Today that would be the biggest hit on television.   In 1993, that wasn't good enough considering the shows surrounding it, and it got cancelled after 1 season.

So, did Carson really have a "huge" audience?    Yes, but, he would have the same middling # of viewers all the other late night shows have today.   And Leno and Conan could have had 9 million viewers a night in 1982.

You miss the point completely.  Carson had a "huge audience" in the fact that he did it for 30 years, EVERYONE talked about Carson the day after a show, you stayed up late to see your favorite person on Carson, you became seriously successful if you appeared on Carson...Carson was a huge influence for 30 years, and those who never saw a nobod ...


I think you somewhat missed my point.... I don't dispute that Carson was a "giant" in his era.   My point is, he wouldn't get those ratings now, and because of the way people consume entertainment now, you can't even really have a "Carson" nowadays.   And the reverse point was, if there was no Johnny Carson... I'm not necessarily saying Leno or Conan would have been the guys that could have done it, but, someone would have been "that guy" who could have done that for, maybe not 30 years, but, been the dominant late night host for a long time.

In the end I am saying... it isn't fair to Carson or to todays performers to try to compare the two era's.... it is like people getting into arguments over if Cy Young was better than Greg Maddux.... yes they both played baseball, but, how things are done between their era's makes it almost impossible.
 
2013-03-15 04:24:41 PM  

feckingmorons: zabadu: Carson and Potato Chip Lady, for those who remember...

Seinfeld quote:  "For my entire career, I've heard comedians in bars debate over who would get the Tonight's Show when Johnny leaves.  What nobody realized is that when you left, you were going to pack it up and take it with you...which is what he did.  Because that show never existed again.  There was no Tonight Show, it was Carson."

That is really true. Carson was the Tonight Show. Sure, Jack Parr was the tonight show but he was kind of a dick at the end, and they gave him a once a week show earlier in the evening and Carson got the Tonight show and made it the excellent show it was for the next 30 years.


I can't recall if that quote was from that special... again, if you haven't seen it and you do respect and enjoy Carson, it is a must watch (my previous link above).
 
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