Carson’s “Who’s On First” Parody ~ Vid of the Day

Considering our present-day sorry state of affairs… especially within my homeland… I figured it was high time for some hijinks… especially tomfoolery of the wordplay variety. And nobody did it better than the King of Comedy… Johnny Carson… and his brilliant team of writers. I mean, seeing how we’re all here @WordPress, how much more appropriate could wordplay ever be?

This Vid of the Day is also a reminder of a political era where America still had its sense of humor AND how… as bad as the Reagan years were… we could still hang on to our hopes for a better day.

In any event… I do hope you got a charge out of viewing this Carson Comedy Classic sketch… I know I did.


My Once Upon A Time Storybook Life


An old haunt of mine still exists in the heart of my lifelong hometown… the house where I had played out the first seven years of my life.

This was “The Place” where I had “busted out” from my barred, “prison” crib… to first crawl… to next stand upright and take my hesitant, initial baby steps… to eventually venture forth from my four walled interior to explore my verdant home turf and environs beyond.

Within this magical sphere was where fun cycled with the four seasons… building wintertime’s snowmen, flying springtime’s kites, igniting summertime’s July 4th sparklers… taking the plunge into autumn’s piles of raked leaves.

My yard had been my happy hunting ground for Four Leaf Clovers… where plucked Dandelions and Queen Anne’s Lace became presentable bouquets… where healthy, natural snacks got picked right off of bountiful cherry trees and prolific wild raspberry canes. This was where Robins, Blue Jays, Lady Bugs, Dragonflies, Monarch and Yellow Swallowtail butterflies all shared the same airspace.

In the waning days of this past June, a touch of homesickness had set in… fueled, in part, by how 1961’s and 2017’s days/dates line up perfectly.

On that yesteryear’s Tuesday, June 27th, it had been my family’s Moving Day… the pivotal moment when I had waved good-bye to the epicenter of my young universe to close out a truly glorious chapter of my carefree, once upon a time, storybook life.

On this year’s Tuesday, June 27th, I certainly would’ve welcomed some Sci-Fi type time travel BUT since that’s, purportedly, an impossibility, about the best I could possibly hope for was to play out the past in the theater of my mind… while paying a visit to the present-day version of my childhood stomping grounds.

Knowing that no drive-by could ever suffice, I opted to travel the road home on foot. No sooner did my childhood hood appear in the distance than the rhythmic, muffled sounds of my athletic shoes hitting the concrete began fading out… and my distant memories came flooding in.

Suddenly, I was back in my crib… feeling an open windows’ refreshing breeze… smelling the rainwater and ozone’s fragrance… seeing the lightning flashed walls… hearing a downpour on the rooftop and the sporadic rumbles of thunder mixing in with my Dad’s steady snoring. Perhaps this is a universal experience? It’s sounds just like the celebrated in story and song nursery rhyme, “It’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is snoring.”

I next recalled the countless daybreaks where I’d gleefully scamper down the stairs to switch on our Zenith™ B&W TV (first image in link is the identical model)… to zone out on op-art-esque test patterns and high pitched tones while patiently waiting for the stations to wake up and roll out their weekday children’s programs.

Amongst the affable, laughable personalities setting up shop on these kiddie corners were Johnny Ginger (who presided over the onslaught of Three Stooges shorts) and Soupy Sales (renowned for his pie in the face slapstick, choreographed “Soupy Shuffle” and interactions with puppet pet doggies White Fang and Black Tooth). To chill out, kids could always depend on the far more cerebral, dignified Captain Kangaroo (a.k.a. Bob Keeshan). Courtesy of the Walt Disney and Hanna-Barbera animation studios, Saturday morns featured a constant stream of cartoons.

Primetime fare included Ed Sullivan, Lassie, Dennis the Menace and (mythical Mayfield’s) Leave It To Beaver.

TV Afternoons were where the “faster than a speeding bullet… more powerful than a locomotive… able to leap tall buildings in a single bound” Superman flew through the airwaves… where the wisecracking Johnny Carson presided over the quiz show, Who Do You Trust… where music maven Dick Clark emceed the rock ‘n’ roll teen dance show, American Bandstand.

Taking my cue from Mr. Clark, this is where I brought my make-believe, bedroom “radio station” to life… where courtesy of my Zenith™ record player, I began spinning vinyl to blast out an eclectic mix of orchestral waltzes, jazz, rock, pop, ballads and Christmas tunes1.

My musical selections crossfaded, effortlessly, to memories of Christmases past… how, courtesy of Santa Claus’ delivery of Golden Books™, flashcards, View Masters™, teddy bears, toy blocks and train sets, Christmas mornings had lasted all day. Further sweetening our holidays were my stay-at-home Mom’s made from scratch, still warm from the oven, mouthwatering baked goods… e.g., gingerbread men, German Spritzgebäck (spritz) cookies, Slovenian apple potica and sugar / cinnamon doughnuts.

Although childhood illnesses and my tonsillectomy’s post op recovery could hardly be called a fond memory, Mom cheering me up was. She loved to tell me her highly imaginative, original, extemporaneous bedside stories as well as read other authors’ published works aloud (e.g., Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit).

And once nursed back to good health, I was back in action. Like on the day the training wheels first came off my 20” bike. As my skill and confidence grew, I’d find myself furiously pedaling up a rather long, steeply sloped sidewalk and then, on my journey’s downward leg, I’d experienced feelings of liberation and exhilaration while coasting back home at breakneck speed… waiting for the very last possible moment before slamming on the brakes.

Here was where, one wintery dusk, in a childish huff, I had “run away” from home over some trifling matter… but never did make it past the lower driveway. And once the falling snow had cooled me off, my mom convinced me to return to her warm, welcome home embrace.

Here was where the setting summer sun cast my long shadow before me… granting me the illusion that I was as tall as a grown-up… where I first observed and grew to appreciate nighttime’s four lunar phases and timeless starlit skies.

And, on a more serious note, here is where I had first heard the figurative school bell ring… where, after Mom had first taken several snapshots of me, we took a pre noontime stroll from our home to my nearby kindergarten classroom.

But my fondest memory of all was how our home had acted as a playmate magnet. With frequent visits from Johnny, Bonnie, Jimmy, Davy, Kathy and my best friend Danny, my sister and I had plenty of company.

While our playground included swings hanging from elm tree limbs, a slide, sandbox, kiddie car, trikes and bikes… such playthings were sometimes unnecessary… e.g. the day we wound up gleefully laughing our asses off while taking turns rolling down a hillside inside an oversized cardboard box. All anyone needed to let the good times roll was allowing our sky is the limit, fertile imaginations to run wild.

But, alas, eventually, all good things did come to an end. As the days began winding down within this special locale, there was sufficient time for one last blast… I hosted a party… my invited guests helping me celebrate my seventh birthday. There had been plenty of fun, games and pigging out on our banquet of hotdogs, potato chips, Faygo™ rock and rye soda pop, birthday cake and ice cream.

No kid would ever need TV land’s idyllic “Mayfield”… not when each of us could so easily replicate transcend it.

But, alas, eventually, Tuesday afternoon’s time tripping, too, began winding down. But not before I recalled the very last time I’d ever see the inside of our old home. Dad and I had returned just to ensure the hired movers hadn’t forgotten anything. It was well past nightfall and my usual bedtime… but since school was out for the summer, it hadn’t really mattered.

Dad unlocked the back door and, for the next five minutes, we proceeded from one empty echo chambered room to another. How surreal it had felt when we switched off all the lights for the last time and stepped back out into the cool night air. With the sounds of two slamming car doors and an engine roaring back to life, Dad shifted his 1953 Ford Mainline into first gear and down the graveled driveway we rolled.

It was about this time when the rhythmic, muffled sounds of my athletic shoes hitting the concrete “returned” me to 2017… well ALMOST…

I sensed two distinct, June twenty-sevenths, separated by two score and sixteen years… my past as the passenger… my present as the pedestrian were now converging. Both my younger self and I were wending our way up the very same street and were about to leave the old neighborhood.

Mom had so matter-of-factly summed up our moving day in her 1961 journal…

“The move took from 7:15 – 10:30 p.m. 3 hrs. 15 minutes. $30.00. The kids are delighted. Everyone is relieved.”

While I’d agree that, initially, I had been delighted, this giddy state of mind had prevented me from fully appreciating the whole truth. Although there was no way to actually have seen it during Dad’s and my final inspection tour… I really had left something truly irreplaceable behind…

The very best years of my entire life.


1Tom’s Top Ten Hit Parade

  1. Johann Strauss ~ Blue Danube Waltz
  2. Billie Anthony ~ This Ole House
  3. Elvis Presley ~ All Shook Up
  4. Bill Haley and His Comets ~ Shake, Rattle and Roll
  5. The Platters ~ Twilight Time
  6. Jimmy Rodgers ~ Secretly
  7. Sheb Wooley ~ Purple People Eater
  8. David Seville ~ Witch Doctor
  9. The Chipmunks ~ The Chipmunk Song
  10. Jesse Crawford ~ Jingle Bells

My Letter To Letterman

Preface… David Letterman’s humorous, spontaneous talk show had brilliantly lit up America’s TV screens, spanning 2 networks and 1 score and 13 years. For the benefit of my international readers, followers and others who may be unfamiliar with his career… check out either the lengthy bio or brief synopsis below…

In the late 1970s, standup comedian Letterman got his big break by appearing on comic Johnny Carson’s, top rated Tonight Show. He would later become Carson’s guest host and on February 1, 1982, go on to debut his own talk show, Late Night. Following “King” Carson’s 1992 retirement, it only seemed natural that Dave would be heir apparent, but the NBC suits did not concur… instead, opting for host, Jay Leno. Consequently, on August 30, 1993, Letterman thumbed his nose at the NBC execs and launched his CBS program, Late Show, to compete, head to head, with Leno. Needless to say, Dave got the last laugh… indeed, generated millions of laughs all the way up to his final, farewell broadcast, which aired on May 20, 2015.

Unlike NBC, I had remained Letterman loyal, throughout, because I’ve always found his humor to be far funnier / less formulaic than Leno’s and I usually back folks who’ve been corporately shafted. Oh… there is one more reason, too…

There’s a remote chance that Letterman may’ve read some of my (hopefully) comedic writing, which I twice submitted to Late Show. With that in mind… I now submit…


My Letter To Letterman


Dear Mr. Letterman,

I’ve opted to go the social media / www route to let you know how you / your 6,028 broadcasts changed my life in a way, which  far, Far, FAR exceeded your entertaining me and keeping me laughing.

More to the point, it had been your ‘90s era monologues (loaded with Bill Clinton sex scandal jokes), which had heightened my political awareness and, thus, had inspired me to write multiple hundreds of similarly themed limericks. Since the volume of my poetry had grown to epic proportions, I decided to submit my manuscript to prospective publishers.

At that point, I got this wild notion. Since I had greatly valued and respected your keen comedic instincts (and still do), I just had to find out if I could get you and/or your comedy writers laughing. To that end, I decided to “test the waters” by submitting my best limerick to Late Show.

I had fully expected my verse to languish in the “slush pile” of eternal damnation and/or that I’d wind up being the recipient of a rejection letter. Well… imagine my astonishment when neither of those outcomes occurred. Instead, your writing staff sent me a letter requesting that I compose and submit three “Top Ten Lists”.

Experiencing a level of elation and inspiration, unlike any I had ever felt, I gave this writing project my all… finding it tough not to laugh aloud while watching my creative process materialize on my PC screen. Naturally, I also “sales pitched” my idea for a new Late Show segment, “The Letterman Limerick”. Upon signing the accompanying release form, I shipped everything off to you.

Shortly thereafter, I sent a follow up inquiry letter. But, instead of your next response appearing in my mailbox… my phone rang. I found myself talking to Late Show staffer, Lee H. Ellenberg. He confirmed I had correctly completed everything required of me and that my submission was securely on file.

Our conversation hadn’t lasted more than three minutes… but… those were, indeed, life-changing minutes!

Only after hanging up the phone did everything start to fully sink in. My writing had actually caused someone… in the employ of a big time network TV talk show… a program HQ’d in a major metropolis of our world… to drop all he was doing… just to talk to a totally unknown, aspiring comedy writer residing in “Smalltown”, Michigan.

Had circumstances in my life not necessitated prioritizing my urgent family matters first, I’d have booked the next flight out to NYC. Of course, since I hadn’t had the freedom to do so, nothing ever progressed beyond that.

But that does not alter the fact that your show’s phone call had been a validation of my work… caused me to believe in my writing abilities.

For that… I thank you, Mr. Letterman.

I also thank Mr. Ellenberg.

I’ll cherish this incredibly special moment in my life… for the rest of my life. On my last day… if I exit the world’s stage with a smile on my face, its likely cause will be my recollection of how, for a fleeting moment, our two worlds had merged.

While I certainly do miss and shall always miss your presence on the Ed Sullivan Theater’s Late Show stage / seeing you seated behind your talk show desk… while I wish there could be more of your jokes, Top Ten Lists, Celebrity Top Ten Lists, sketches and interviews, I can also dig how and why, (just like your friend and mentor, Johnny Carson), you had so wisely decided not to stay too long at the fair.

Thanks for the mega-laughs. Thanks for those memorable, contemplative and heartfelt moments, too, such as your 1st post 9/11 broadcast and tribute to Johnny Carson.

I wish you all the best life has to offer you and your loved ones… in all the years ahead.



PS ~ Enjoy this blast from the past clip… one featuring a musical collaboration between Doc Severinsen’s “Tonight Show Band” and Paul Shaffer’s “World’s Most Dangerous Band”