Here's Johnny, waving goodbye on the cover of Life

April 15, 1992|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

In the waning days of the King of Late Night's reign, heeeere's Johnny Carson, waving goodbye on the cover of Life magazine, with a photo retrospective of his 30 years on "The Tonight Show" and a fond farewell from humorist and frequent guest Calvin Trillin.

"I have never found a satisfactory answer for the question about what Johnny is really like," Mr. Trillin writes in the May issue. "For a while, I would say that he reminded me of some of my high school pals in Kansas City. That is, he is consistently amiable, he will never make a serious remark when a light one will do just as well, and he probably wouldn't be eager to discuss the meaning of life even if we had time for that sort of thing during a commercial break. . . .

"Then, for a time, I adopted a very specific answer: 'Johnny doesn't like to talk about it, but, far from being the glib entertainer he portrays on the show, he is a devout Taoist who spends most of his off-camera time playing desperately melancholy fugues on the clavichord and making borscht the old-fashioned way.'"

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