Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Celebration for a Genuine Hockey Puck (Part 5)


Although Don Rickles has had great success in movies and television, he will probably be remembered most for his numerous appearances on a variety of talk shows, appearances that continue to this day.

He first appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1965. Whether this clip exists or not is anyone's guess, but here's a memorable moment from 1968. YouTube won't let me embed the clip, but it portends to be the unedited version, which is more than I've ever seen.

Here are a few additional appearances. From 1972 (I'm guessing) and Carson's 10th Anniversary broadcast...



And from 1976...



Rickles logged over 100 appearances on Carson's Tonight Show. He was also a frequent guest-host...

From 1975...



The consequences of a 1976 hosting gig..



From 1978; I love how he uses the all-too-rarely-seen band...



1979 with Charo...




But a talent that lively, that spontaneous, that unpredictable couldn't be limited to one talk show, even if it was the biggest talk show in history. He was too good, too unusual, and television, known for being too much of the same, needed that kind of effervescence...

Some of Rickles' other talk-show appearances...

With Letterman in the 80s....



With my least-favorite talk-show host (next to Mike Douglas), Merv Griffin, in 1985...



With Regis and Kathie Lee in 1990...



From 1991, with Bob Costas...



Larry King in 1993...



From '95 or '96, with Tom Snyder...



Jumping ahead nearly 15 years (and skipping over about 500 other talk-show appearances), from 2009, with Craig Ferguson...



From 2011, with Jay Leno...



From 2012, with Jimmy Kimmel...



In many ways, Rickles is the last-dying ember of an era that will never be replicated, nor should it ever be replicated. It should instead live on in the never-dying past, enveloping the wisps of nostalgia that only smell sweeter with age.

Just as he lives on in the past, may Don Rickles continue to live on in the present and well into the future.

Happy 86th Birthday, Mr. Warmth.

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