Thursday, November 17, 2016


Judy talks about having no friends and Burton reads a Winston Churchill speech.

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I've been watching the various episodes of The Tonight Show on The Jack Paar Collection, including a nice one from May 8, 1964 that begins with a lot of monologue jokes about LBJ being a publicity hound. Judy Garland is on the show, and the screen image presented here is Judy saying that no one ever calls her on the phone and just invites her to dinner. She's such a lofty icon that no one thinks to do the ordinary thing that one would naturally do with one's ordinary friends. She says she's like the Statue of Liberty. Richard Burton comes on and does something that seems so weird compared to the sort of thing that would today appear on The Tonight Show. He stands at a lectern and reads a speech of Winston Churchill's. Oh, and he tells a terrific anecdote about the aged Churchill coming to see him in a performance of Hamlet. "The old man" (everyone called him "the old man") sat in the front row and recited all the lines along with Burton through the entire performance. Here's Burton sitting with Paar during the anecdote segment. I love the way the two men are dressed and their different demeanor in the chairs, Paar idiotically sprawling with his suit all rumpled and Burton, with his cigarette and much more closed up posture.

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The show continues with Bill Cosby, but I had to stop watching (someone came home and engaged me in conversation, which must come first). But it will be interesting to see the very young Bill Cosby. I remember how much all the kids in my junior high school loved Bill Cosby back when we knew him through the 1964 record "I started out as a child," which some of the boys had completely memorized. They would recite long passages to amuse people. (That reminds me: I once went to a Steve Wright concert here in Madison and sat next to a young man who recited the whole performance along with him. What was he, some Winston Churchill clone?)

UPDATE: Judy Garland and Richard Burton were actually on different shows, but Cosby was on the show with Burton. The speech Cosby gave was Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech.

ORIGINAL POST DATE: Mon - April 26, 2004 at 10:15 PM  

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