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Johnny Carson Monologue

THETA CABLE, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, CA, Late 70's

John William Carson was an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer. He is best known as the host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Carson received six Emmy Awards, the Television Academy's 1980 Governor's Award, and a 1985 Peabody Award. Wikipedia

The cable goes out at Johnny Carson's home. He was still living in Beverly Hills, so the call came into our office.

By the time he talked to me, the Chief Tech, he was not a happy camper.

Remember this was in the days when Cable TV had an "only game in town" attitude. Mr. Carson had experienced missed calls, problem fixed and went out again the next day, and so on. The next stop after me was our General Manager and I really didn't want him talking to my boss.

I guaranteed his problem would be fixed today! He told me (yes, I was talking to him on the phone), "I leave home to do my show at 3:00 pm today and if the cable is still out when I leave home, you guys will want to watch my monologue tonight."

OK, now I am freaked out and I relayed this info to my boss who started going crazy.

My tech called me later and said he found the problem, a bad underground drop on Mr. Carson's property and it needed to be replaced. Direct bury, no conduit, extensive landscaping, and it won't be fixed until tomorrow.

I told him to run a temporary drop thru the trees to get the cable back up until the real drop could be replaced.

Was the problem fixed before Mr. Carson left for work? That's right, you guessed it, no.

I went down the hall and told my boss. He had a cow!

My boss told me it was going to be a long night as we were both going to watch the Tonight Show in his office at 11:30 pm that night.

And at 11:30 pm we were both (along with six other managers) sitting on the edge of our chairs as the Tonight Show started and Johnny Carson did his monologue.

He was almost at the end of the monologue, and we were starting to breathe easy when it happened.

(This is as close to what he said as I can remember.)

He was smiling at the cameras when he asked, "Did you watch the Lakers on TV last night? Well, not if you have Theta Cable you didn't." And the crowd laughed like crazy, Johnny Carson was laughing but here in my boss's office, no one was laughing.

I mean no one was laughing.