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‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?’: Watch Tiny Tim’s incredible late-night disco trainwreck

Tiny Tim was one of the great oddballs of American popular music. Though viewed by most as a ‘60s novelty act, he was well known in the Greenwich Village folk scene for his encyclopedic knowledge of music from the early 20th Century. Bob Dylan once remarked of his contemporary, “No one knew more about old music than Tiny Tim.”

The singer, ukulele player, and musical archivist discovered his falsetto in the early ‘50s and based his performing career around it and his repertoire of songs from the 1910s to 1930s.

His unusual act lead him to a career-making guest spot on Laugh-In in 1968. He was signed to Reprise records and had a surprise hit with “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” which reached 17 on the Billboard chart.

Though his novelty seemed to wear off in terms of record sales after the release of his first album, God Bless Tiny Tim, he became a staple of TV talk shows . He was famously married to “Miss Vicki” on The Tonight Show in 1969, setting what was then a record, with 40 million viewers watching.

Tiny Tim made a return to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1979 for this bizarre performance of Rod Stewart’s disco hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.”

Tim sings the verses in his trademark falsetto, but switches to an Elvis-like lower register for the choruses—all the while pantomiming a neurotic nervousness. Halfway through the number, Tim loses his timing and gets ahead of himself with the vocal. Doc Severinsen and the band do their best to adjust the arrangement to the version Tim has in his head. The number devolves into a strip-tease, with Tiny Tim gyrating on the floor (years before Madonna turned heads at the MTV video awards!)

It’s absolutely bizarre and incredibly awesome. He goes from Woody Allen to Iggy Pop in the span of three minutes.

Carson looks completely befuddled by the end of the performance and fittingly quips “there’s just… there’s just… nothing… nothing to be said.”

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Groucho Marx roasts Johnny Carson, 1968
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Johnny Carson
Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx “honors” Johnny Carson at his Friars’ Club roast, broadcast on The Kraft Music Hall program on October 23, 1968. Six years prior (October 1, 1962), Marx introduced Carson on his very first Tonight Show.

Others there to “honor” the talk show king were Don Rickles, New York’s then-mayor John Lindsay, Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Dick Cavett and host Alan King.

Carson gets roasted by Dean Martin, Redd Foxx, Truman Capote and many others after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
That time when Shelley Winters dumped whisky on Oliver Reed’s head for being a sexist ass, 1975

When two of the best and most unpredictable talk show guests in all of television history—boisterous Oscar-winning actress Shelley Winters and alcoholic Brit leading man, Oliver Reed—ended up as consecutive bookings on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on September 25, 1975, it seemed like an occasion where sparks might fly. And they did. At least something flew. It was a clash of the talkshow titans.

Winters was there because, well, because she was always on 70s talk shows (and gave good value as a guest, you can see how she makes Johnny’s job easy during her segment) while Reed, his first time on the program, was there to promote his role in Ken Russell’s Tommy. Winters comes out first and makes some cougar-ish observations about younger men. She’s her normal charming self. Then Reed is introduced, who declares that he’s “Quite extraordinary”—and I think it’s also fairly safe to assume completely drunk out of his fucking gourd—before going off on an offensive tangent against women’s liberation and feminism causing an incensed Winters to dump her drink squarely on his head.

While she’s still on the couch, Winters gets in a LOL adlib at Reed’s expense that demonstrates why she was such a popular fixture on talk shows. Watch for it.

via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
A New York Doll, Preparation H and Johnny Carson

David Johansen, then at the height of his fame as Buster Poindexter, made a 1988 appearance on The Tonight Show and charmed the shit out of Johnny Carson and the audience.

Johansen was made for this kind of thing. Perfect timing, perfect delivery, a smooth operator. The Robert Goulet story is hilarious and Carson can’t help but burst out laughing even at the expense of one of his regular guests.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Johnny Carson weighs in on Paul McCartney’s 1980 pot bust
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Paul McCartney
Johnny Carson

Me Wings have been clipped.
This month marks the 33rd anniversary of Paul McCartney getting busted for 7.7 ounces of pot in Japan. A half pound of pot! What was he planning to do? Have a smoke-in with Godzilla and Gamera?

I was out in New York and I had all this really good grass. We were about to fly to Japan and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get anything to smoke over there. This stuff was too good to flush down the toilet, so I thought I’d take it with me.

I didn’t try to hide [the pot]. I had just come from America and still had the American attitude that marijuana isn’t that bad. I didn’t realize just how strict the Japanese attitude is.”

Perhaps Paul’s bag of pot wasn’t the real issue with the Japanese. Maybe they just wanted to fuck with the guy who did this:

After spending nine days in jail, McCartney was released on January 25th.

Johnny Carson had a bit of fun at McCartney’s expense in one of his monologues which aired on January 17, 1980.

Thanks to Philip Girvan.


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Ayn Rand meets Johnny Carson on ‘The Tonight Show,’ 1967
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Ayn Rand
Johnny Carson

Many videotapes of Johnny Carson’s 1960s episodes were lost in the fire of NBC’s archives, but at least part of Ayn Rand’s first appearance on The Tonight Show (she was on three times over the years, clearly Carson was a fan) has survived and has been posted on YouTube.

Apparently, Carson snubbed his other guests that evening and kept Rand on for the entire 90 minute show. Topics include raising children, religion, the military draft and the Vietnam War.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Media Reacts To Conan’s Same-Sex Wedding News

Johnny Carson’s comic psychic “Carnac the Magnificent” merely held an envelope to his head, but Conan O’Brien? He really pushes the envelope. As you’ll see.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Paul Williams sings in his ‘Planet of the Apes’ make-up

Remember Paul Williams, the diminutive singer-songwriter (Carpenters, Three Dog Night) who would often appear on 70s talkshows, games shows, on The Love Boat, and in Smokey and the Bandit and The Muppet Show? (Not to mention his greatest role as “Swan” in Brian DePalma’s cult classic Phantom of the Paradise!)

Williams also played “Virgil” the smart orangutan in Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Williams wore his make-up for this memorable appearance promoting the film on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1973.

Thank you, Paul Cassella!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment