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May 30, 2013

E-readers come in handy when traveling


The Johnny Carson biography is by his long-time announcer and sidekick, Ed McMahon. Called “Here’s Johnny!,” it’s a wonderful and nostalgic tribute to the man who hosted of The Tonight Show for 30 years. Any fan of Carson will absolutely love it. I started to read it before my trip and had to put it down so I wouldn’t finish it before I left. I was laughing that hard.

There are so many great memories, especially of “Carnac the Magnificent,” everyone’s favorite Carson character. Carnac was the famous “Visitor from the East” who would answer “hermetically sealed” questions without having seen them before. McMahon keeps tossing out some of the classic responses in his book.

Anyone who expects any dirt or criticism will be disappointed. McMahon was a dear friend as well as colleague, and his admiration for Carson is deep. He waited until after Carson died to write the book because he knew “The Tonight Show” host was too private of a person to want to see it published while he was alive. Carson was the rare celebrity who when he retired he really retired. He disappeared from public life.

McMahon himself died in 2009 but further candid discussions of The Tonight Show can be found in McMahon’s autobiography, “For Laughing Out Loud,” and the PBS documentary, “Johnny Carson: King of Late Night.” The three titles together provide a comprehensive look at an American icon who was part of this nation’s fabric for a generation.

Larry King is still alive and kicking (although not on CNN anymore) and he doesn’t hide form the limelight. He is constantly grinding out books and appearing in public. His latest memoir, “Truth Be Told: Off the Record About Favorite Guests, Memorable Moments, Funniest Jokes, and a Half Century of Asking Questions,” is a look back at his career highlights including 25 years on Larry King Live! Although the book is a bit dated (it talks about the “upcoming” 2012 election) it has enough classic stories and juicy tidbits to keep it lively.

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