OT: Who remembers this guy?
I am going to be seriously dating myself with this entry, but… oh well. Last week as I was driving the 405 Freeway, I passed the Slauson exit — as I did, I couldn’t help thinking, “Take the Ventura Freeway to the Harbor Freeway to the San Diego Freeway to some other freeway until you get to the Slauson cut-off, get out of the car, cut off your Slauson, get back in the car…” Sound familiar to anyone?
Back before Jimmy Fallon, before Jay Leno, there was Johnny Carson, host of the Tonight show. He had a collection of characters he played from time to time (like Carnac the Magnificent), but my all-time favorite was Art Fern, host of the Tea-Time Movie.
If you’ve never seen this character, you missed out. Dressed in a loud orange jacket and wearing an oily black pompadour wig, Art Fern would roll his eyes, wave a pointer around and use his nasal whine to describe some really bad (fake) movies, whose stars’ names rhymed and always included some weird animal, such as Squirt, the Wonder Clam. He’d also present some outrageous ads, and to help him hawk his wares was the Uber-Stacked Matinee Lady, played by Carol Wayne. The sketch would be riddled with sexual innuendo and comments about her breasts — pretty risqué for the time. When the commercial would end, he’d return the viewers to the movie, which would play for about two seconds and then the camera would cut back to Art and Matinee Lady making out.
Unfortunately, a lot of Carson’s classic sketches cannot be found online. I don’t know whether it’s because they are property of NBC, or you have to buy the Johnny Carson DVDs in order to see them, or what, but I’ve never been able to find Art Fern clips… until now. I found one on YouTube — it’s not complete, but most of it is intact, and it contains a lot of the familiar shtick (including the Slauson cut-off).
Wanna laugh? Take a break and watch this. It’s a little dated, but I think it’s still funny. And I don’t know about you, but laughs are very welcome to me these days. The sound isn’t great, so turn your speakers on high. Damn, I still miss Johnny. Enjoy.