Tuesday, June 23, 2009
AMERICA'S FAVORITE SIDEKICK IS SILENCED - ED MCMAHON PASSES AWAY- CIRCA JUNE 23,2009
Entertainer, broadcaster, aviator, pitchman and consumate comic straightman, Ed McMahnon died in Los angeles, this morning. Cancer was among many maladies that took his life. He was a voluble plresence on and off the air, and a man who partied like it was 1959.
Here is his obituary, as it aired when word of his passing was reported on NBC's Today program by Matt Lauer and NBC News correspondent, George Lewis.
A personal observation about McMahon's influence on contemporary culture.
I stood , one day, in the NBC Experience Store at 30 Rock.
They were displaying ancient Carnac bits from a "Best of Carson DVD"
on a wall of monitors.
It was odd, but , there were about five or six men ... no women ... standing there,transfixed, watching late night icon, Johnny Carson and faithful straightman/ sidekick, Ed McMahon do a 30 year old, comic routine.On the vintage 1970's excerpt, McMahon says "Here is the next envelope, Oh Great One."
Carson looks at it and says to the camera:
Carson tears the end off of the envelope and says:
"WHAT IS THE LAST SOUND YOU HEAR BEFORE A SHEEP EXPLODES?"
There was a thunderous laugh on the tape.
And in the store, in front of the monitor wall, five or six guys, randomly gathered, from every point on the compass, erupt in gales of cascading laughter.
It was that impish attitude and inspired lunacy that endeared McMahon to a generation of viewers.
McMahon was a protean broadcaster, a polished entertainer and a pioneer of local television, starting at Philadelphia's WCAU-TV in the post- World War II years.
He helped formulate the foundation of television programming as we know it , today.
Ed McMahon will be missed.
His legacy lives on in decaying audio reels, canisters of faded film, and endless reels of preserved videotape.
Below is a classic Carnac sketch from 1974. Enjoy!!!!!
Below is a vintage , LIVING COLOR clip of McMahon and Frank Sinatra, from 1968. Durign the late 1960's, they were teamed as commercial spokesmen for Budweiser Beer. Enjoy!!!!